Local stocks have hit fresh seven week lows in the early session, following more weakness on European and US markets overnight. Data showed the European economy is officially in recession, and whilst this was no surprise, it did give investors reason to sell. US markets were also sold-off after the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart disappointed with profit results.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 7, 2011.
At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 9.7pts or 0.2pct to 4360.9.
Outdoor wear retailer Kathmandu (KMD) is one bright spot, up 8pct to $1.6 as the company holds its AGM. The clothing and camping equipment has posted a 19.5pct boost in sales for the last 15 weeks. Sales came in at $66.9 million for the 15 weeks to November 11, an almost 20 per cent rise on the same period last year. Same store sales - excluding new stores - grew by 14.3pct during the period compared with 7.6 per cent in the same period last year. KMD has opened six new stores in Australia since the start of August, with another three to come before Christmas and 15 planned for the year. CEO Peter Halkett said the result was ahead of expectations and came despite difficult trading conditions.
Other companies holding AGMs today include Cash Converters (CCV) and Goodman Group (GMG). CCV shares are up 1pct to $0.99 while GMG is lower at $4.465. Cash Converters has told shareholders first quarter growth is above expectations, while Goodman Group has maintained its earnings guidance.
Elsewhere Westpac (WBC) is down 1.3pct to $24.31 while Qantas (QAN) is down 2.2pct to $1.2525.
The Australian dollar is worth US103.37c, £0.6517 and €80.91c.
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