The Australian sharemarket is down as the major resource companies posted losses after market heavyweight BHP Billiton took a financial hit on a major US gas asset.
At 10.26am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 43.2 points, or 1.01 per cent, at 4226.3, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 42.7 points, or 1.0 per cent, at 4247.4.
On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was down 44 points at 4184 with 20,823 contracts traded.
BHP shares were down 74 cents, or 2.3 per cent, to $31.28 after the mining giant announced it would write down the value of its American shale gas assets by $US2.84 billion ($A2.73 billion).
A glut of gas supply in the United States and subsequent low gas prices there forced the world's biggest resources company to take massive impairment.
Other mining companies were also lower, with Rio Tinto down $2.34, or 4.3 per cent to $52.07 and Fortescue Metals lost 19 cents, or 4.4 per cent to trade at $4.18.
Jamie Elgar, an adviser with Burrell Stockbroking, said mining companies are unlikely to regain significant territory on Friday.
"The resource companies are likely to take their cue from the US futures market later on," Mr Elgar said.
The wider market was also lower after the European Central Bank announced no immediate monetary measures to ease debt pressures in the euro zone.
"The main thing for the market is that we've had a big run-up this week on the expectations that the ECB would do something and that didn't happen," Mr Elgar said.
All sectors of the market were lower at noon.
One of the few shares to rise was ResMed, after the sleep disorder equipment supplier said its annual profit was up 12 per cent due to stronger revenue in the United States.
Its shares rose 30 cents, or 9.9 per cent, to $3.32.
Oil Search shares dropped after it said is PNG loading operations had been suspended following a minor oil spill more than a week ago.
Its shares were down five cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $7.02.National turnover at 10.44am was 362.3 million shares worth $823.1 million.
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