The Australian share market has started the trading week on a
subdued note, despite gains on US and European markets late last
week. At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is
down 11.8pts or 0.3pct to 4432.6.
Mining giant BHP Billiton (
) is down by 0.5pct to $35.31 despite firmer commodity prices. UK
newspaper reports over the weekend suggest the mining giant is
facing a $5 billion loss on shale gas deals and may have to slash
the value of those assets. Today, the miner has reached an
five exploration tenements near its Olympic Dam operation for $10
million. Rival Rio Tinto (
) shares are trading at $66.66, up slightly.
Financial stocks are flat, with the Commonwealth Bank (
) slightly firmer, up 0.1pct to $51 while the National Australia
Bank (NAB) is down 0.7pct to $25.01.
Making news today, drug maker Biota (
) shares are trading down 7pct to $0.88 after announcing plans to
merge with American NABI Biopharmaecuticals to form a combined
company which will list on the NASDAQ. If approved, BTA shares
will be delisted on ASX but Biota shareholders will own about
74pct of the new company.
Economic data released today shows inflation remains weak in
the business community. Australia´s producer price index
fell 0.3pct in the March quarter, for an annual rise of 1.4 per
cent. Economists´ forecasts had centred on a March quarter PPI
rise of 0.5 per cent. Core inflation, or CPI numbers due
tomorrow, should show the annual inflation rate holding around
2pct, giving the Reserve bank of Australia few reasons to delay a
rate cut in May.
The Australian dollar has fallen slightly on the PPI data and
at 12.20pm AEST is buying US103.36c, £0.6417 and €78.39c.
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