By RTT News,
February 10, 2014, 09:05:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Despite a flat lead from Wall Street, the Australian stock market is trading modestly higher with investors tracking local economic news for direction.
Financial and property trusts stocks are trading firm. Mining, energy, consumer discretionary, industrial and healthcare stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 22.9 points or 0.4 percent at 5,245. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 5,258.5, up 22 points or 0.4 percent from its previous close.
Among bank stocks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are trading higher by 1 to 1.2 percent and ANZ Bank is up 1.8 percent. ANZ announced that its first-quarter cash profit rose more than 13 per cent to A$1.73 billion on the back of growth in home lending and lower bad debts.
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up 1.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) is down marginally, Rio Tinto (RIO) is trading lower by about 0.8 percent and Fortescue Metals is down 0.4 percent. Newcrest Mining is trading firm, gaining 2.3 percent.
QBE Insurance Group is up 3.7 percent. ResMed Inc. ( RMD ), Regis Resources and Flight Centre Travel Group are trading higher by 2 to 3 percent. Challenger, James Hardie Industries, Asciano, Orora, Oz Minerals and Coca-Cola Amatil are up 1.5 to 2 percent.
Cochlear is trading lower by over 10 percent following the company reporting a sharp 73 percent drop in interim net profit.
Macquarie Group and Tabcorp Holdings are trading lower by 3.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Alumina (AWC), Myer Holdings, Orica and UGL are down 1.5 to 2.5 percent.
On the economic front, the total number of home loans in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent on month in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday - standing at 51,692. That missed forecasts for an increase of 0.7 percent following the upwardly revised 1.4 percent gain in November.
The value of home loans was up 0.2 percent on month to A$27.050 billion. That follows the 2.2 percent jump in the previous month. Investment lending climbed 2.9 percent to A$10.77 billion - accelerating from the 2.0 percent increase a month prior.
Loans for the construction of dwellings added 0.4 percent on month, while loans for the purchase of new dwellings dropped 1.9 percent and loans for the purchase of established dwellings fell 2.2 percent.
According to another report from the bureau, house prices in Australia climbed 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the previous three months. That beat forecasts for an increase of 3.0 percent following the upwardly revised gain of 2.4 percent in the third quarter.
On a yearly basis, house prices jumped 9.3 percent - also topping expectations for a gain of 8.6 percent following the upwardly revised 8.0 percent increase in the previous three months.
The total value of residential dwellings in Australia was A$5,017,041.4 million at the end of December quarter, rising A$184,304.7 million over the quarter.
According to survey results released by National Australia Bank, business confidence in Australia rose modestly in January to Plus-8 from a December reading of Plus-6. It was the first increase in the confidence index in four months. NAB's accompanying index of current business conditions rose to Plus-4 from a revised December reading of Plus-3.
NAB noted business conditions in January were little changed and remained near three-year highs. Both indices, it said, were near or above trend levels.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened slightly higher against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the local unit was quoting at US$0.8944, up 0.1 percent from Monday's close of US$0.8935.
On Wall Street, stocks ended marginally up on Monday, after showing a lack of direction throughout much of the trading session, with investors continuing to digest last Friday's monthly jobs report amid a lack of new U.S. economic data.
The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. While the Nasdaq advanced 22.3 points or 0.5 percent to 4,148.2, the Dow inched up 7.7 points or 0.1 percent to 15,801.8 and the S&P 500 edged up 2.8 points or 0.2 percent to 1,799.8.
Major European markets ended mixed on Monday. While the German DAX index edged down by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index gained 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended marginally higher on Monday. Crude for March delivery ended up $0.18 at $100.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
For comments and feedback: contact email@example.com