LUNCH TIME REPORT (12.30pm AEST)
The Australian market reversed yesterday's losses at the open
of trade this morning. At lunchtime in the East, the All
Ordinaries Index (XAO) has added 49pts to 4,418 points.
Last night, both the European and American markets rallied
higher after interest and pricing of Spanish bonds improved,
along with news the International Monetary Funds (
) had boosted its growth forecasts for 2012 and good results
posted by major U.S. companies.
The market listed nice gains across the board in morning
trade, with the biggest gains in the mining and Information
The mining sector was again in focus, the S&P/ASX 200
Materials index was up 1.7 pct, after BHP Billiton Limited (
) issued its March quarter (January to March) production and
exploration report this morning. The report once again showed
that cyclone activity in the March quarter in Australia had
hampered iron ore and coal production in the WA's Pilbara region
and in Queensland. BHP reported a fall in quarterly production of
iron ore and coking coal. Coking coal output, the coal used in
steel production, was down 14 pct. in the last quarter as
production was hit by poor weather and industrial disputes, which
will be ongoing in the next quarter. The BHP report which showed
good performance in its petroleum business even with output
falling slightly in the quarter. BHP share price was higher up
1.64 pct. to $34.70.
Yesterday, late in trade, Rio Tinto Limited (
) released its quarterly production report .The company increased
production of key commodities such as coal and iron over the past
12 months but production fall over the last quarter. RIO shares
were down by almost 0.5 pct. by close of business yesterday but
today have regrouped and added 2.35 pct. to $66.20 by lunch.
Rumours are still circulating in the market that RIO and BHP are
likely to sell off their diamond assets to New York based Private
equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company (
). Reports from London's Sunday Times state that KKR is now the
lead bidder from BHP´s Ekati Canadian diamond mine (valued at
around $750 million) and RIO's diamond businesses that are
currently worth around $10 billion. Both Rio Tinto and BHP would
not comment directly on this rumour but both firms did mentioned
they are still looking at reviewing the future or these
businesses and other none core assets. Fortescue Metals Group
(FMG) up 1.6 pct. to $5.88, ahead of its quarterly production
result due out tomorrow.
By lunch time the S&P/ASX 200 Energy sector was up by 1.2
pct. Big name energy firms regained ground in early trade with
Santos Limited (
) up 1 pct. to $14.05 and Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) up
1.7pct. while Oil Search Limited (OSH) added $0.06cents to
The S&P/ASX 200 Financials sector moved higher up 1.15
pct. Of the four major banks National Australia Bank Limited
(NAB) was the best performer in morning trade up 1.3 pct. to
$25.19. Bank of Queensland (BOQ) announced its first half results
today there was nothing new in the numbers that were published as
BOQ had already released the financial details ahead of time, on
26th of March, when it had announced its $450million capital
raising. Today BOQ republished the fact it had listed a fall has
posted a $90.6 million loss in the first half of the year largely
due to the cost of bad loans as customers were hit by floods and
other disasters over the last year. BOQ shares up 2.4 pct. to
$7.13. Queensland based insurer Suncorp Group Limited (SUN) also
higher and ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) managed to rise 1 pct.
Global shopping centre operator Westfield Group (WDC) today
announced it had sold off eight of its shopping centres in the US
for $1.11billion allowing the company to pay down debt and invest
in new developments, with some of the funds going toward the
rebuilding of the new World Trade Centre in New York. WDC share
prices added 1.86 pct. to $9.03.
In the medical sector today, CSL Limited (CSL) the blood and
plasma maker share price lost 0.5pct. to trade at $36.82 while
Mesoblast Limited (MSB) added another 2.6 pct.
Elsewhere Telstra Corporation Limited (TLS) share price was
worth $3.38 and Qantas Airways Limited (QAN) higher by 0.9 pct.
No major economic data was released today.
The Australian dollar is buying US103.92c and €79.26c.
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