Australian Stock Market Report - Afternoon 10/20/2011



Local stocks ended in the red for a second session this week, after rising on Monday and Wednesday. The rollercoaster ride continues as investors await the weekend European Union summit with hopes leaders will come up with a viable solution to the region's debt crisis. 

The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) fell 68pts or 1.6pct by close to 4206.8.

Every sector finished in the red. The miners were among the worst performers, with Newcrest Mining (NCM) down 6.4pct to $33.45 after reporting a fall in September gold output. 

Shares in Wesfarmers ( WES ) fell 2pct to $31.54 after warning supermarket giant Coles is facing tough trading conditions in the lead-up to Christmas. Coles reported an 8pct rise in quarterly sales to $8.09 billion, while sales at its convenience stores were up almost 18pct and food and liquor sales rose 5.5pct from the previous corresponding period. Meanwhile, sales at Target fell 1.4pct in the quarter while Kmart sales were only slightly higher (up 0.1pct). Sales at Bunnings and Officeworks rose 7pct to $2.1 billion.

The NAB Quarterly Business survey was released today, showing conditions stumbled in the September quarter. Falls were recorded in trading conditions, profitability and employment. Forward orders remained weak and stocks were negative, implying an expectation of softer near-term domestic demand. Conditions also deteriorated across in the quarter. However, monthly data suggest both confidence and conditions had regained lost ground by the end of the quarter. 

The Australian dollar ended the day's trade weaker, at US101.74c, £0.6472 and €74.25c.

On the market overall, a total of 1.55 billion shares were traded, worth 4.8 billion dollars. 310 were up, 650 were down and 361 were unchanged.

At 5.30pm AEDT on the ASX24, the futures contract was at 4143, down 5pts.

Ahead tonight, existing home sales, the leading index, Philadelphia Fed index and weekly jobless claims data are released in the US.

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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: WES

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