Australian Stock Market Report - Midday 2/27/2012

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(12pm AEDT)

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 ( BHP ) 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 ( BBG ) 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 €79.3c.

Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: BBG , BHP

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