Australian Stock Market Leads 02/28/2012

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The Australian stock market is off to a positive start on Tuesday's trading day, as overnight leads from the European and U.S. stocks markets were taken, though lightly by investors still wary how the recent jump in oil prices will curb potential earnings.

With no expected economic data at the local front, investors are likely to harp on the financial results of local companies today led by QBE, James Hardie, Aristocrat Leisure, Boral, Prime Media and Southern Cross Media.

CMC Markets chief analyst Ric Spooner says that the domestic equities markets and global markets as well are looking for a "new catalyst" that could either make or break the laggards cast by the increasing fuel prices.

"The US S&P 500 Index last night arrived at the 1370 post GFC (global financial crises) peak achieved in May last year. However it failed to push past this level on the day. Whilst the price is the same as last year's peak, the market is somewhat more conservatively valued on a price earnings basis this time around. Depending on what measure you use, forward PEs are around 3% below last May's peak. On that basis, there is ample scope for prices to push well past this peak and still maintain valuations not far above the average that has applied since the GFC," notes Mr. Spooner.

He adds that "Tuesday's trading is expected to be relatively quiet with investors focussed primarily on company reports rather than macro factors."

James Hardie ( JHX )has reported a US$27.7 million net operating profit, excluding asbestos, ASIC expenses and tax adjustments, for the quarter ended 31 December 2011. This represents an increase of 32% compared to the corresponding quarter of the prior year, according to its filing to the ASX.

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) , on the other hand, took a beating after reporting a 45% drop in its 2011 profits as the natural calamities sent members claims soaring. Trading of shares of QBE were halted at the moment as the company announced some capital raising to be done within the quarter. Moreover, QBE CEO Frank O'Halloran announced he will be stepping down later in August this year.

The market is looking forward to this week's reports on retail sales, capital expenditure and building approvals that will likely influence interest rates.

"These data will also and provide the Aussie dollar with a clue about how to deal with the current resistance level", says Mr Spooner.

In the US on Tuesday, data on durable goods orders, home prices, consumer confidence and the Richmond Fed index are released.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: JHX

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