The Australian sharemarket edged higher for the second time
this week, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) ending 0.3 pct or
11.1 pts stronger to 4445.0. In the first 15 minutes of trade
this morning, the market hit a high of 4466.2 (0.75 pct rise)
only to gradually give back most of those gains throughout the
Both U.S and European markets did well last night, giving us
something positive to work with today following the ANZAC Day
A number of stocks struggled, namely Seven West Media (
) and Newcrest Mining (NCM). SWM is the owner of the Seven
Network. It warned investors that the anticipated improvement in
its advertising space now seems quite unlikely and received a
broker downgrade. SWM shares fell 22.81 pct or 86 cents to $2.91
and has effectively wiped out all of this year's gains in just
one session. Fairfax Media (FXJ), the owner of the Sydney Morning
Herald, the Financial Review and a number of radio stations fell
by 2.78 pct or 2 cents to 70 cents.
Australia's largest gold producer, Newcrest Mining (NCM) fell
3.87 pct or $1.03 to $25.57 and has fallen for five consecutive
sessions. Earlier in the week, the miner lowered its gold and
copper production forecasts for the financial year. It is now
trading at around its worst level since December 2008.
Rail freight operator, QR National (QRN) rose by 1.1 pct or 4
cents to $3.67 today. QRN said it is considering the construction
of a new rail network in the Pilbara (W.A). This would make it
easier for some of the smaller iron ore miners to transport the
commodity to port. Australia's third largest iron ore miner,
Fortescue Metals (FMG) fell 2.24 pct or 13 cents to $5.68.
The world's largest miner, BHP Billiton (
) ended largely flat, while Rio Tinto (
) rose 0.85 pct or 56 cents to $66.16.
The big four banks all improved by as much as 1 pct, with
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (
) the best of the day.
The retailers ended mixed, with Kathmandu (KMD) and David
Jones (DJS) finishing flat, Myer (MYR) and Harvey Norman (HVN)
higher and Billabong (
) 2 pct lower.
Most markets in the region ended higher today, with shares in
China and Taiwan the exceptions.
No major data was released in Asia today however tomorrow will
be the busiest day of the week and one of the most eventful of
the month for Japan. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) is due to meet for
the second time this month and will publish its new economic
forecasts for the world's third largest economy. The latest
inflation, retail sales and household spending reports are all
due for release.
European shares rose for the second straight day, but are
still a little lower over the week. The weakness is partly due to
worse than expected signs for the region's manufacturing industry
on Monday. The U.K has officially fallen back into recession,
with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. It now joins
Denmark, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands in a technical
recession. British sharemarkets underperformed last night.
Greece has halted welfare payments to around 200,000 people in
an effort to crack down on welfare abuse. There were around 9,000
centenarians receiving age benefits, which prompted officials to
investigate the unusually high number. It is believed that a
number of these 'centenarians' had already passed away, however
their families were still receiving benefits from the government.
An official said that the nation could save as much as $1 billion
a year by reviewing these sorts of payments.
No major data is expected in Europe tonight.
In the U.S, the Federal Reserve had its monthly meeting on
interest rates and as expected vowed to keep interest rates at
close to 0 pct for at least the next few years. The Fed said that
the U.S economy is growing moderately and have not ruled out
taking further action to stimulate the economy if need be. The
earnings season continues in North America and tonight will be
the biggest day of the season to date, with 314 companies issuing
their profit results. This will include Colgate-Palmolive,
Bristol-Myers, Deutsche Bank, Exxon Mobil, Amazon.com and
The world's largest company, Apple (AAPL;us) recorded a 94 pct
jump in its quarterly profit to US$11.6 billion this week. It
sold 35.1 million iPhones and 11.8 million iPods over just three
months. Close to 60 pct of the company's revenue can be
attributed to iPhone sales. Approximately a quarter of its sales
took place in Asia-Pacific. Apple shares rose by 8.9 pct
overnight, taking the gains for the year so far (Year to Date) to
Volume of shares traded came in at 2.12 billion today, worth
$4.61 billion. 486 shares were up, 535 were weaker and 468 ended
At 4.30pm AEST on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the ASX24
futures contract is up 0.14 pct or 6 pts to 4387.
Due to daylight savings, most major European markets are now
trading between 5pm (AEST) and 1.30am (AEST). Futures in Europe
are pointing to a stronger start to trade tonight.
Dow Futures are currently higher, indicating that U.S stocks
could open in the black tonight. Due to daylight savings taking
place in the second week of March in North America and the end of
daylight savings in Australia, U.S markets will now be trading
between 11.30pm (AEST) and 6am (AEST).
Turning to currencies, the Australian dollar (AUD) is stronger
and buys US103.9 cents. The AUD is still around US4 cents lower
against the greenback than this time last year. The AUD is
currently trading at £64.1 pence and €78.3 cents.
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