(IBTimes) - MARKET CLOSE
The Australian sharemarket ended a little lower today, despite
a positive start to the session. The ASX200 Index (XJO) fell 0.2
pct or 8.1 pts to 4157.4. Early in the session, investors seemed
encouraged by news that the Japanese economy grew at a faster
than expected pace last quarter. Japan is Australia's second
largest trading partner and accounts for around 12.3 pct of all
goods and services exported overseas.
Today the energy, mining, industrials and utility company
ended higher while all other sectors finished in the red. Since
the Greek elections took place less than a fortnight ago, the
Australian sharemarket has fallen by more than 5.5 pct. Yesterday
was the worst single day of losses for our market in 2012.
The miners have been out of favour with investors, with the
sector plummeting by close to 10 pct over the previous 10
sessions. That is almost twice as bad as the broader sharemarket.
Today however, BHP Billiton (
) ended 0.86 pct or 28 cents higher to $32.77, while iron ore
miner Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) rose 1.45 pct or 7 cents to
$4.91. Not including today's gains, FMG has slumped by more than
12 pct over the previous four sessions.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (
) recorded a $1.75 billion cash profit in the previous quarter
which was a touch lower than market expectations. Higher funding
costs continue to negatively impact margins for the big banks.
CBA ended 1.45 pct or 75 cents lower to $51.02. Westpac (
) was the worst of the big four and slumped by 2.12 pct or 46
cents to $21.22.
The uncertainty in Europe has been one of the main drivers of
the weakness in markets with the Greeks unable to form a
government ten days after the Presidential elections. They will
now need to return to the polls on 17 June to nominate a
President. A senior judge has been sworn in as Greece's caretaker
Prime Minister for the time being.
Last night, the head of the International Monetary Fund (
), Christine Lagarde said that key European leaders still want
Greece to remain in the Eurozone. If Greece were to leave the
Eurozone, some have estimated losses of around €400 billion in
losses initially (not taking into account the longer term
A number of companies held their Annual General Meetings
(AGMs) with shareholders including Adelaide Brighton (
), a cement and lime supplier to the construction industry.
Ivanhoe Australia (IVA) and ROC Oil (ROC) were two other big
names to meet with investors.
No major economic data was released today and tomorrow is
expected to be another quiet session for economic news
Shares in the region ended mostly higher today, with stocks in
the Philippines the best, up 3.1 pct. The Japanese, South Korean
and Chinese markets all finishing higher while Hong Kong's Hang
Seng lost a little ground by close. The Japanese economy grew at
1 pct over the first quarter of 2012 and has expanded by around 4
pct on an annual basis.
In Europe tonight, a 10-year Spanish bond auction will be held
while France, Germany and Switzerland are all having bank
In the U.S tonight, the Federal Reserve minutes from the April
meeting will be released. Hints of further potential stimulus
measures could see a rebound in stocks take place. The weekly
report on unemployment claims will be released tonight and a
slight rise is expected. This measures the number of Americans
filing to receive jobless benefits for the first time in the
The pricing for shares in social media giant, Facebook will
take place tonight one day prior to the scheduled listing date.
Due to significant demand for its shares, the company announced
it would boost the number of shares available to investors by
around 25 pct. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) has been heavily
Facebook is expected to have a value (market capitalisation)
of around US$100 billion. That would make it approximately half
the size of Google (GOOG;us) but around four times larger than
Google was when it first entered the market back in 2004.
Facebook is likely to be approximately the 60th largest
company on any sharemarket globally. Should its market
capitalisation be around US$100 billion, it will be bigger than
household names such as McDonalds, Walt Disney and Amazon.
Each Facebook share is expected to end up being priced in a
range between $34 and $38 a share. The stock will be listed on
the tech specific NASDAQ.
The market capitalisation of a company is a popular way to
measure the size of a business on a sharemarket. It is calculated
by simply multiplying the number of shares the company has on
issue by its current share price. Most popular third party
websites such as finance.google.com, finance.yahoo.com and
www.bloomberg.com have already calculated the market caps of most
listed companies on their sites.
Volume of shares traded came in at 1.95 billion today, worth
$5.19 billion. 463 shares were up, 485 were weaker and 401 ended
At 4.30pm AEST on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the ASX24
futures contract is down 0.34 pct or 14 pts to 4146.
Due to daylight savings, most major European markets are now
trading between 5pm (AEST) and 1.30am (AEST). Stocks are expected
to open in the black tonight.
Dow Futures are higher, indicating that U.S stocks could open
higher 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 trading
below parity against the greenback for the fourth consecutive day
and buys US99.3 cents. The AUD is currently trading at £62.4
pence and €78.08 cents.
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