Over the last few day global markets have been hit by more
concern over the global slowdown and European debt problems.
Overnight the US markets finished mixed with the DOW Jones
climbing higher in the last few minutes of trade but the NASDAQ
still finishing in the red. Today is the last day of the quarter
and the ASX 200 index looks set to close the quarter up over
7pct. By lunch the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) had risen by
16points or 0.38pct to 4,438 points.
Energy stocks were among the biggest drags on the market with
the S&P/ASX 200 Energy index off 0.6pct, After the US crude
oil prices continued to slide. The Nymex contract fell by over
overnight to US$103.40 a barrel. Shares in energy producers
Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) and Santos Limited (
) have fallen around 1.5pct, while Caltex Australia Limited (CTX)
has lifted 0.07pct to $13.87 and Oil Search Limited (
) up 0.29pct to $6.93.
All eyes on the retail sector today with Metcash Limited (
) one of our large wholesale distribution and grocery marketing
company being place in to a trading halt, shares last traded at
$4.30. Rumours circulating in the markets suggest that Metcash
will be announcing a downgrade, in the form of impairment
charges, in its Franklins supermarket
. The company said "A trading halt is requested pending a board
meeting on Monday April the 2nd."
News out from Wesfarmers Limited (
), the owner of Bunnings and Coles stores, that the company will
expand its hardware business, Bunnings. WES said it will spend
$1.5 billion on rolling out 85 new stores in Australia, creating
around 6,000 new
in the next three years. Wesfarmers share prices lifted 0.67pct
to $29.93. Wesfarmers rival in the food and beverage and hardware
market Woolworths (WOW) share price up 0.86pct to $ 25.86.
Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (
) is up 1pct to $12.49.
The COMEX gold prices rebounded overnight, with the US gold
price lifting to US$1,665 up US$10 in early Asian trade.
Australia's largest listed gold miner Newcrest Mining Limited
(NCM) is still in the red, off another 0.9pct to $29.94 today.
Regis Resources Limited (RRL) regaining yesterday's losses up
2pct to $4.08 and Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (KCN) has
Materials stocks are a lot rosier today, Rio Tinto Limited,
(RIO) has added 2.5pct to $65.98 and rival BHP Billiton Limited
(BHP) also higher up 1.6pct to $34.80. Shares in chemical maker,
Orica Limited (ORI) up 2.4pct to $28.08 and global package maker
Amcor Limited (AMC) added over 1.5pct. One of the winners in the
metal space today is Atlas Iron Limited (AGO) up 2.29 pct to
The Construction and service firm, Leighton Holdings (LEI) is
still feeling the pain from its recent downgrade, its share price
off another 1.13pct to $21.91.
Elsewhere, News Corp (NWS) is up 0.24pct, and Telstra (TLS) is
flat at $3.30.
Today the Housing Industry Association (HIA) new home sales
data for the month of February has been released. The result was
better than expected with new home sales lifting by 3pct after a
7.3pct slide in January. New detached homes increased by 2.2pct
and the sale of multi-unit' also higher.
The Australian dollar is higher in early trade up to US104.10c
Juliana Roadley, CommSec Market Analyst
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