Australian Stock Market Report - Midday 1/9/2012



The Australian sharemarket has been unable to make up its mind this morning with shares gaining in the first hour of trade only to track lower at lunch. The All Ordinaries index (XAO) is currently down 0.3 pct or 10.6 pts to 4153.9. Almost all sectors are weaker with the industrials the biggest losers so far. 

Construction company, Leighton Holdings ( LEI ) is down 1.42 pct or 28 cents to $19.47 while Toll Holdings ( TOL ) is 1.82 pct or 8 cents lower to $4.32. No major news has been released from either company.

The four big banks were mixed in early trade however three of the majors have now slipped into negative ground. ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is down 0.24 pct or 5 cents to $20.40, Westpac ( WBC ) is off by 0.15 pct or 3 cents to $19.99 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia ( CBA ) is down 0.2 pct or 10 cents to $49.41. National Australia Bank (NAB) is managing to hold onto some modest gains and is up by less than 0.1 pct. 

The major miners are weaker with the world's third largest mining company, RIO Tinto ( RIO ) down 1.04 pct or 65 cents to $61.87 while the larger BHP Billiton (BHP) is easing by 0.28 pct or 10 cents to $35.13.

The retailers were one of the worst performing sectors last year and are continuing to struggle with department store owner David Jones (DJS) down 1.64 pct or 4 cents to $2.40.

Following the start of daylight savings at the start of October, major Asian markets will be trading between the hours mentioned below until April next year (note that over the next month, some of the times might be slightly off due to several countries in the region changing their clocks at differing periods).

The Hong Kong sharemarket trades in two sessions each day and will now open for trade between 1pm (AEDT) and 3.30pm (AEDT) while the second session is between 5.30pm (AEDT) and 7pm (AEDT). 

Out of Japan, the first session will be between 11am (AEDT) and 1pm (AEDT) while the second session is between 2.30pm (AEDT) and 5pm (AEDT). The Japanese sharemarket is closed today for Coming of Age Day. This is a day which congratulates those who have turned 20 over the past year and reminds them of their added responsibilities. 

The Singapore exchange will be open for trade between 12pm (AEDT) and 3.30pm (AEDT) for the first session and then between 5pm (AEDT) and 8pm (AEDT) for the second. 

Asian markets are mostly lower at lunch with South Korea's KOSPI index down 1.24 pct or 22.84 pts to 1820.3 while China's Shanghai Composite index is down by a more modest 0.36 pct or 7.7 pts to 2155.72.

So far in trade at lunch, 621 million shares have been traded worth $1.24 billion. 290 shares are up, 439 are lower and 294 are currently unchanged. Activity is remaining extremely light on the sharemarket with concerns about the Eurozone partly keeping investors at bay. 

The Australian dollar (AUD) has lost a little ground and buys US101.5 cents following a few disappointing pieces of economic data out this morning. 

The AUD is the world's fifth most traded currency behind the U.S dollar, the Euro, Japanese Yen and British Pound. The AUD accounts for around 7 pct of all foreign exchange trades. 

Steven Daghlian, CommSec Market Analyst

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: CBA , LEI , RIO , TOL , WBC

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