Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 5-1-2012


(IBTimes) - Lunchtime REPORT] (1pm AEST)

The Australian share market closed higher yesterday, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) up 33 points to 4,462 points. Overnight global markets closed lower after concerns mounted about how Spain could turn around its economy and create job growth. After news the Spanish economy had fallen back into recession in the first quarter of 2012. 
It was a very mixed market by lunch time today with investors awaiting the outcome of The Reserve Bank of Australia's ( RBA ) board meeting and interest rate decision due out at 2.30pm (AEST). At lunchtime the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) was up 27 points to 4,494 points. All market sectors gained ahead of the RBA's decision with the best performer being the S&P/ASX 200 Energy sector up 1.74 pct. 

Miners and energy stocks were helped by the positive news out of China early this morning that manufacturing, yet again, lifted in April. The Chinese Official Purchasing Managers´ Index rose to 53.3 in April, up from 53.1 in March, according to data from the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing.

But here at home the Australian Industry Group/Pricewaterhouse performance of manufacturing (PMI) index for April came in lower than expected down by 5.6 points, to a seven-month low of 43.9 in April. Any reading below 50 suggests manufacturing is contracting. 

Oil and gas operator Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) told the market this morning that it had sold a minority stake, 14.7 pct., in its proposed Browse gas-export project in Western Australia to a Japanese consortium called, Japan Australia LNG, for US$2 billion. The WPL share price added over 4 pct. to $36.40 as investors were happy to see that this will raise cash for Woodside and help stabilise the project. Santos Limited ( STO ) added 10.7 pct. to $ 14.14 and Origin Energy Limited (ORG) up 1.66 pct. to $ 13.48. 

The miners are the biggest contributors to the gains with BHP Billiton ( BHP ) up 1.32 pct. to $36.02 Fortescue Metals Group Limited (FMG) added 0.5 pct. while Rio Tinto ( RIO ) fell by 0.35 pct. to $66.12.

Global property developer Stockland (SGP) realised a group update today at its investor briefing. Stockland confirmed its revised full year guidance to the end of June 2012, also adding it expects to raise $2.9 billion for future investment by selling office and industrial assets by the end of 2017. SGP lifted 0.32 pct. to $3.11. Dexus Property Group (DXS) also higher up over 2 pct and Goodman Group (GMG) added 2.78 pct. 

Our major banks are mostly stronger, but National Australia Bank (NAB) was negative territory for much of the morning. After reporting an unaudited first-half net profit to the end of March of $2.05 billion, down 15.6 pct. compared to this time last year yesterday. NAB's share price was off 0.24 pct. to $25.17 while moved higher adding 1.04 pct. to $52.51 and Suncorp Group Limited ( SUN ) up 1.6 pct. to $8.26.

The Australian dollar (AUD) is buying US104.12 cents and €78.62 cents.

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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: BHP , RBA , RIO , STO , SUN

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