Noni B shares in trading halt; Westpac SME confidence index drops 10%: Midday Roundup

Noni B shares in trading halt; Westpac SME confidence index drops 10%: Midday Roundup

Flailing clothing retailer Noni B has entered a trading halt this morning, telling the market it is preparing to make an announcement about a “potential material transaction”.

In a statement to the ASX, Noni B requested a suspension in trading until Wednesday morning, unless an announcement is made beforehand. The stock last traded at 45 cents.

The trading halt follows the release of Noni B’s full year results for 2013-14 on Friday, in which the retailer posted a $7.8 million loss.

Noni B sales dropped 7.7% in the 2013-14 financial year, and in a trading update on Friday, the retailer said sales of July and August were down 15% compared the same period last year.

Noni B said last week a strategic review of its operations is due to be completed soon, after it was approached by potential buyers in June.

Westpac SME confidence index drops 10%

Small business confidence has dropped to its lowest level in 2012, according to the latest instalment of the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Small Business Index released today.

The index fell 10.1% for the third quarter, from 123.9 points to 111.4 points in August.

New South Wales and Queensland recorded the largest falls, 14.9% and 14.6% respectively, with Western Australia the only state or territory to record a lift in confidence (6.2%).

However, Julie Rynski, general manager of small business for Westpac, said in a statement the general outlook remains optimistic as the index is still in positive territory, about 100 points.

“Despite a slight decline in most states, it’s encouraging to see that sentiment has remained positive for the third consecutive quarter, which reflects the dedication and hard working nature of small business,” said Rynski.

Shares up on open

Aussie shares have opened slightly higher this morning, as the local market prepares for a deluge of economic data to be released this week.

“This week will see release of Australia’s second quarter GDP, as well as building approvals, retail sales and balance of trade figures,” said CMC Markets analyst Ric Spooner.

“The ideal outcome for the stock market in these releases would be a Goldilocks scenario. This implies numbers that are weak enough to put downward pressure on the Aussie dollar but good enough to suggest at least moderate prospects of revenue growth for domestic companies.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 15.6 points to 5641.5 points at 12.05pm AEST. On Friday, the Dow Jones closed 18.88 points higher, up 0.11% to 17098.4 points.

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