At 12.04pm (AEDT), the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 21.7 points at 4,877, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 23.5 points lower at 4,967.4.
On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was 34 points lower at 4,861, with 21,299 contracts traded.
CMC Markets strategist Ric Spooner said the unstable situation in Libya, a large oil supplier, was causing skittishness in the market.
“The market is lower… The situation in Libya is causing increasing nervousness and there’s been a general selling associated with that,” Mr Spooner said.
“Locally, BHP is holding the fort, so to speak, as far the index is concerned.
“It is up after the greater clarity provided over the buy back plan this morning.”
Mr Spooner also said rising oil prices as a result of political tensions in Libya had caused a surge in energy stocks.
Mining giant BHP Billiton was the best performing stock on the ASX 50 in morning trade, gaining $1.22 or 2.68 per cent to $47.07, whilst Rio Tinto fell 60 cents to $85.54.
Energy stocks were strong. Oil Search gained five cents to $7.09 after it reported full year net profit up 38.8 per cent on the prior year.
Oil and gas producer Santos Ltd rose nine cents to $14.54, Woodside was 37 cents higher at $42.95, and Origin was one cent higher at $16.79.
Sonic Healthcare was among the worst performing stocks in the ASX 50 index, falling 55 cents, or 4.65 per cent to $11.27 after the company posted a 13 per cent fall in first half net profit.
Pay television provider Austar United Communications was up 1.5 cents, or 1.38 per cent, at $1.105 after reporting it increased full year profit 69.5 per cent with an increase in subscriber numbers.
Australian Infrastructure Fund was up one cent at $1.965 after saying half year profit was down 32 per cent, but that it was well positioned for the future.
Online jobs website Seek was down 76 cents, or 10.75 per cent, at $6.31 after it reported first half profit up 31 per cent.
Steel manufacturer OneSteel was down five cents, or 1.68 per cent, at $2.93 after posting a first half profit steady from the prior corresponding half.
Developer and property investor Mirvac Group was up three cents, or 2.37 per cent, at $1.295 after reporting a first half loss of $12.7 million with a $215 million provision on inventories.
In banking, NAB was down 40 cents at $25.74, Westpac fell 32 cents to $23.75, Commonwealth Bank was 66 cents lower at $53.26 and ANZ fell 33 cents to $24.32.
At 12.14pm (AEST), the most traded stock by volume was Monitor Energy Ltd, with 105.67 million shares changing hands for $256,242 thousand.
Monitor shares were trading at 0.2 cent, down 0.1 cent or 33.33 per cent, after the company announced that its proposed acquisition of up to 90 per cent of SOCA Petroleum would not proceed.
National turnover at 12.35pm (AEDT) was 1.56 billion shares, worth $3.12 billion, with 334 stocks up, 713 down and 366 unchanged.
See the original post:
Shares Down At Noon On Libya Unrest