MID-SESSION REPORT (12pm AEST)
The Australian share market has started the trading week in the red, following more selling on Wall Street on Friday. Investors continued to book profits in technology, biotech and pharmaceutical stocks sending the NASDAQ Index lower by more than three per cent over the course of the week.
In early trade, our market is down 0.4 per cent.
Nearly every sector is trading lower, with the info tech sector down another 1.3 per cent, adding to Friday's 2.5 per cent loss.
Telstra (TLS) is well-supported, firmer by 0.6 per cent to $5.08 on defensive buying.
Shares in drugs wholesaler Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) have been placed in a trading halt, at 56.5 cents, ahead of an announcement by the company on the carrying value of its assets. API expects the halt to remain until the start of trade on Wednesday, unless the announcement is made before then. API operates pharmacies including Soul Pattison and Priceline. It's due to report it half yearly numbers on April 30.
In economic news, Australia has slipped down the leader-board of the CommSec iPad index, reflecting higher domestic pricing for Apple's tablet device. Australia had been the fourth cheapest country to buy a 16GB iPad with Retina display when the index was last compiled in September 2013. Now Australia is 13th cheapest of 51 countries to buy the newer iPad Air device.
Official figures show the average credit card balance was $3,205.60 in February, up $58.70 or 1.9%. Balances are down $75.80 or 2.3% on a year ago.
The Australian dollar is well supported at US94c.
So far on the market, 513 million shares have changed hands, worth $981 million. 293 are up, 450 are down and 303 are unchanged.
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