Australian Stock Market Report - Midday 3/12/2012


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(12pm AEDT)

The Australian share market has started the trading week on a subdued note, following continuing concern about the Greek debt situation and on news China has recorded its worst trade deficit in 20 years. At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 9.5pts or 0.2pct to 4291.

The Greek debt swap deal received approval as expected late last week, however questions have still been raised about the country's overall financial position, with ratings agency Moody's saying the country is still in a technical default.

Trading volumes are also quite low on the local exchange, as Victoria, South Australia, Tasmanian and the ACT celebrate public holidays.

Financial stocks are down around 0.5pct, while the energy sector is one of the worst performers, despite crude oil rallying above US$107 a barrel on Friday night. Shares in Woodside Petroleum (WPL) have fallen 1.3pct to $35.83.

Shares in Graincorp ( GNC ) have risen on takeover speculation in the agricultural sector. There are reports today that agricultural company Glencore, which controls almost 9pct of the global grain market is planning a $5.2 billion approach for Canadian grain firm Viterra. Viterra swallowed Australian firm ABB Grain back in 2009. The speculated approach comes at an opportune time with Canadian government passing a law last year ending the Canadian Wheat Board's market monopoly. GNC shares are up 4pct to $8.42 in early trade.

Official data released today shows Australians continue to prefer cash over credit. The average credit card balance stood at $3262.50 in January.

The Australian dollar is weaker in early trade at US105.44c, €80.43c and £0.6731.

Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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