MIDDAY REPORT (1pm AEDT)
The local share market opened lower this morning after a
negative sessions on overseas markets. European markets were held
back by uncertainty over the European Central Banks (ECB's) new
bond program and the U.S. markets hit by large downward revisions
to existing home sales.
At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) was
off by 34.7 points to 4155.5.
Once again the focus has been on the retailers, The
S&P/ASX 200 Consumer Discretionary was once again under
pressure off 1.6 pct. Kathmandu Holdings Limited (KMD) announced
a drop in earnings because of weaker than expected pre Christmas
sales, with the last 5 weeks of sales coming in below those
registered in 2010. KMD shares off 24.5pct to $1.25.
Surf wear maker Billabong International Limited (
) lost another 4.8pct to $1.85, after hitting an all time low of
$1.70 early in the week. Entertainment products retailer JB Hi-Fi
(JBH) down nearly 5pt to $11.56. Shares in electronic retailer
Harvey Norman (HVN) also down 2.6 pct.
The Industrial index is slightly lower with transports stocks
the main drag on the sector. QR National Limited (QRN) down
nearly 2pct to $3.44 and Qantas Airways Limited (QAN) off 1.6pct,
Sydney Airport (SYD) down 2.8pct and Downer EDI Limited (
) off 0.6pct to $3.18.
Energy stocks also lower but petroleum companies are doing a
lot better than coal companies today thanks to the pickup in the
oil prices overnight. Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) up 0.75pct
to $30.95 and Santos limited (
) at $12.34. Shares in Gloucester Coal are still in a trading
halt, ahead of an announcement about a potential takeover by
Chinese coal producer Yanzhou Coal Mining. The deal is said to be
worth around $2 billion. Gloucester shares last traded at
Base metal prices were little changed on the London Metal
Exchange overnight. The S&P/ASX 200 Materials Index off
0.5pct. Market leader BHP Billiton (
) and Diversified mining giant, RIO Tinto (
) both off around 1pct. Fortescue Metals Group Limited (FMG) down
again today as investors still weighing up the concerns over the
increase in the budget for its major rail contract in WA.
Fortescue shares off 1.1pct to $4.45. The country's largest gold
producer, Newcrest Mining (NCM) is off another 2pct to
Elsewhere, Telstra Corporation Limited (TLS) flat, while media
and service sector stocks also in the red.
The Aussie dollar stronger against the major currencies, it's
buying US100.6c and €77.14c.
Craig James, CommSec Chief Economist
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