After a flat start, the Australian share market is trading
lower at lunchtime in the East, following a vote on the Australia
Labor Party leadership. Julia Gillard remains Australia's Prime
Minister, beating former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd 71 votes to 31
in a Caucus room vote this morning. The All Ordinaries Index
(XAO) is down 24.5pts or 0.6pct to 4364.5.
Mining players are among the biggest losers, despite general
firmness on the London Metals Exchange on Friday night. Shares in
index leader BHP Billiton (
) are down 2pct to $35.82 while Newcrest Mining (NCM) shares are
down a further 3pct to $33.52 on broker downgrades.
Financial stocks are also lower, with shares in the ANZ (ANZ)
down 0.5pct to $22.10.
In the energy space, Caltex (CTX) has reported an $852 million
full year loss, compared to a $302 million profit in calendar
year 2010. On a historical cost basis, Caltex´s net loss for 2011
was $714 million, down from a $317 million net profit in 2010.
The fall was due to $1.12 billion in impairment charges, which
primarily come from a massive write-down in the value of its
Kurnell refinery in Sydney and the Lytton refinery in Brisbane.
Caltex shares are up 0.4pct to $13.03 in early trade.
In the retail space, surf-wear retailer Billabong (
) shares are firmer by 2.8pct to $2.99 after the company rejected
a takeover offer from US private equity firm TPG Capital.
Billabong says the $765.3 million bid doesn't reflect the true
value of the company.
The Australian dollar is weaker; at US106.74c, £0.6725 and
Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst
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