Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 2/4/14

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MID-SESSION REPORT (12.30pm AEDT)

The Australian share market has followed Wall Street's downbeat lead and is lower by 1.3 per cent at lunchtime in the East.

The US Dow Jones Index fell 326 points in overnight trade as investors elected to dump equities following weak manufacturing data and on continued worries about the fragile economies such as Brazil and India.

At lunchtime in the East on our market, every sector is in the red although there is some support for gold stocks like Newcrest Mining (NCM) as the gold price rallied on safe haven buying.

In company news, engineering firm Downer EDI (DOW) is down 1.7 per cent to $4.78 after announcing a 5.4 per cent lift in first half profit to $99.1 million. DOW will pay shareholders an 11 cent per share interim dividend.

REA Group (REA) which runs realestate.com.au has beaten expectations with its first half result. First half profit rose 37 per cent to $70.7 million and the interim dividend was declared at 22 cents per share. REA is up 3.8 per cent to $43.30.

Country Road (CTY), a stock which rarely moves, is up 34.6 per cent today to $6.50 a day after reporting its first half results. The last time CTY traded was in mid-January with almost 90 per cent of the stock held by just one company.

The Reserve Bank of Australia holds its first policy meeting of 2014 this year and is expected to leave the official cash rate on hold at 2.5 per cent.

Ahead of the policy decision, the Australian dollar is buying US87.37c.

So far on the market, a total of 1.1 billion shares have changed hands, with an estimated value of $2.5 billion. 223 are up, 630 are down and 277 are unchanged.

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