The Australian share market posted another solid session of
gains today, to finish the trading week virtually unchanged.
Yesterday and today's gains managed to negate losses in the
earlier part of the week and it was clear investors were not
spooked by the curse of Friday the 13th, with the All Ordinaries
Index (XAO) up 42.5pts by close or 1pct to 4404.2.
Despite a slight dip around lunchtime when Chinese economic
growth figures were released, the market traded higher for the
majority of the session. The Chinese economy grew at an 8.1pct
annual rate in the March quarter (consensus 8.4pct) down from
8.9pct in the previous quarter. It was the slowest annual growth
rate in two and a half years.
Chinese retail sales in March were up 15.2pct on a year ago
(consensus 15.1pct); industrial production was up 11.9pct
(consensus 11.6pct) and fixed asset investment over the first
three months of 2012 was up by 20.9pct (consensus 21pct).
The slower pace of growth combined with other data showing
that inflation is in control gives the Chinese authorities scope
to ease bank reserve requirements.
On the share market, most sectors finished stronger with
particularly solid gains from mining stocks. Rio Tinto (
) added 2.3pct to $65.95 while Lynas Corporation (LYC) was up
7.8pct to $1.11. The company, which is principally involved in
the exploration and development of rare earths minerals, gained
after the High Court of Malaysia knocked back a request to review
the recent decision to grant the company a temporary license for
a processing plant.
Qantas (QAN) gained 1pct to $1.67, CEO Alan Joyce today
backing calls for a second airport in Sydney.
Shares in toll road operator Transurban (
) added 0.5pct to $5.63 after announcing all its motorways
generated more income in the three months to March, expect
Sydney's M2 which is undergoing a major upgrade.
The Australian dollar fell on the China data and at 5pm AEST
was buying US103.98c, £0.6522 and €78.92c.
On the market overall, a total of 2.1 billion shares were
traded, worth $4.29 billion. 640 were up, 323 were down and 388
At 5pm AEST on the futures exchange, the SFE 200 was at 4331,
Ahead tonight, consumer prices and confidence figures are
released in the US. Earnings season steps up a notch next week
with household names Microsoft, Coca-Cola and McDonald's among
the companies releasing numbers.
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