(IBTimes) - MARKET CLOSE
The Australian sharemarket fell for the third time this week,
with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) down 0.3 pct or 11.1 pts to
4342.7. Shares have slumped by 2.6 pct this week locally, which
is the worst weekly performance since November 2011. Only around
30 pct of listed companies improved today.
The energy, mining and financial sectors make up around 65 pct
of the Aussie market and all three ended in the red. ANZ Banking
Group (ANZ) was the last of the major banks to announce its rate
cut. Interest rates were cut by 0.37 pct, which equates to a
saving of around $20 a week on an average sized ($280,000) home
All four big banks lost ground today, with Westpac (
) the worst down 0.79 pct or 18 cents to $22.72, ANZ fell 0.5 pct
or 11 cents to $22.04, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (
) eased by 0.19 pct or 10 cents to $51.80 and National Australia
Bank (NAB) ended largely flat.
Surfwear retailer, Billabong (
) has ruled out the idea of a capital raising. BBG shares fell by
around 1.7 pct today but have improved 26 pct this year. Despite
the healthy gains, keep in mind that BBG shares plummeted by 78
pct last year.
One of Australia's largest operators of funeral homes and
cemeteries, Invocare (
) held its Annual General Meeting (
) today. IVC shares rose by 1.1 pct, are up for the fourth
straight year (up close to 7 pct this year), 50 pct higher than
at the start of 2009. IVC shares have also improved eight of the
last nine years.
The world's largest miner, BHP Billiton (BHP) fell 0.72 pct or
25 cents to $34.37, Rio Tinto (RIO) dropped by 1.4 pct or 87
cents to $61.07 and Newcrest Mining (NCM) rose by 2.47 pct or 62
cents to $25.75.
In the region, it was the biggest day of the month for
economic news out of China. Inflation did not surprise but a
number of other releases including retail sales and investment
fell short of market forecasts.
Commsec Chief Economist, Craig James said that "The continued
easing of inflationary pressures and sluggish economic data keeps
the door ajar for Chinese authorities to stimulate the economy.
Consumer prices fell in the latest month while producer or
business prices are lower than a year ago. In addition data on
investment, production and retail sales were below market
expectations. While the door is open for an easing of bank
reserve requirements or lower interest rates, it is clear from
the central bank's quarterly report that it will weigh factors
carefully before seeking to boost growth. The People's Bank of
China noted yesterday that ´´The overall price trend is falling,
but it has not yet stabilized, and we need to closely watch the
upside risk for prices in the future.´´ China hasn't cut the bank
reserve requirement since February."
No major data was released in Australia today. Next week,
housing finance, the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) board
minutes for the May 1 meeting, the monthly report on new car
sales and a consumer confidence reading are all scheduled for
In the U.K tonight, the latest 10-year bond auction will be
held. Last night, as expected the Bank of England (BOE) kept
rates at an all-time low of 0.5 pct. In its 318 year history, the
central bank has never had interest rates as low as 0.5 pct.
In the U.S tonight, producer prices will be out for the month
of April. This basically measures the change in prices paid by
producers of goods in North America. If producers are paying more
to manufacture goods, the increase in costs could be handed on to
the end user.
Volume of shares traded came in at 1.52 billion today, worth
$4.26 billion. 436 shares were up, 466 were weaker and 407 ended
At 4.30pm AEST on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the ASX24
futures contract is flat.
Due to daylight savings, most major European markets are now
trading between 5pm (AEST) and 1.30am (AEST). Stocks are expected
to open a little lower tonight.
Dow Futures are weaker, indicating that U.S stocks could open
in the red 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) has lost
ground against the greenback and buys just US100.1 cents. This is
its weakest level against the U.S dollar this year. The AUD is
currently trading at £62.2 pence and €77.56 cents.
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