(IBTimes) - Lunchtime REPORT
The Australian share market improved for the second straight
day yesterday, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) up 30 points
to 4,497 points. The market held up well after the bigger than
expected rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia's (
), cutting the cash rate by 50 basis points to 3.75 pct.
The global markets were reasonably quiet overnight, as many
markets were closed for the May Day holiday and the "Occupy Wall
Street" May Day protests keep some traders home in the US.
The Australian market tipped higher at the open of trade
helped by better than expected commodity prices and a positive
close on Wall Street.
But the financial sector was under a cloud after Australia and
New Zealand Banking Group Limited's (ANZ) half year profit
release and the S&P/ASX 200 Utilities sector off 2.2 pct. as
investors sold out of gas and oil supplier/retailers and brought
into gas and oil producers.
By lunch time the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) was up 3 points
to 4,500 points. The early gains were mainly found in the
healthcare, energy and material sectors. With the best performer
being the S&P/ASX 200 HealthCare sector up 1.45 pct, helped
by the slide in the Australian dollar and demand for defensive
stocks. The sector pushed higher by blood and plasma maker, CSL
) up 2.36 pct. to $38.21 and Mesoblast Limited (
) adding another 2.27 pct. to $7.67 and bionic ear maker,
Cochlear Limited (
) up 1.9 pct. to $66.08.
The energy sector also doing well, with the S&P/ASX 200
Energy index up 0.4 pct, as higher US oil prices boosted demand
for energy exploration stocks. The US oil price hit US$106.12 a
barrel overnight, a 5 week high. Australia's second largest oil
and gas producer, Woodside Petroleum (WPL) continued to move
higher today after announcing its $2 billion deal to sell a 14.7
pct. stake in its Browse LNG project yesterday. WPL held its
Annual General Meeting (
) today and so far the view has been very positive, the company
has not released any new forecast of guidance but did say new
acquisition are not of the cards but "any additions to our
portfolio will be screened through a very disciplined process. We
will focus only on high-value opportunities and building from our
core strengths." Woodside said it is training workers to support
its new businesses but feels there is a need for more skilled
migrants to meet labour demands and skill-sets. WPL share price
rallied 0.75 pct. to $36.47.
Other energy stocks were mixed; Santos Limited (STO) up 0.29% to
$14.07 and Origin Energy Limited (ORG) up 1.187 pct. to
The mining sector traded mostly higher, with BHP Billiton
Limited (BHP) the biggest winner, up 0.5 pct. to $36.15. Rio
Tinto Limited (RIO) slightly higher up 0.3 pct. to $ 65.99 and
our largest listed gold miner Newcrest Mining limited (NCM)
adding 0.2 pct. to $ 26.47.
APN News & Media Limited (APN) held its annual meetings
today, the company did say its first-half net profit was set to
fall and it is running a strategic review over its New Zealand
media properties, APN share prices was flat at $0.83.5 cents.
Overnight the U.K. parliamentary committee brought down its
findings over the illicit voicemail interception by News Corp.´s
(NWS) that lead to the closure of the News of the World tabloid.
The committee found Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is ´´not a fit
person to exercise the stewardship of a major international
company´´ as part of the findings. News Corp's share price did
not fall in US trade and in morning trade in Australia the share
price rose 1.36pct. to $19.40.
The big four banks lost ground, with ANZ Banking Group (ANZ)
off 0.83 pct. to $23.79 after the bank reported a record
first-half profit of 2.92 billion. In the result ANZ told the
market that its margins in its Australian business fell because
of higher funding costs and low demand for loans. Westpac (WBC)
share price was lower off 0.61 pct. to $22.69. National Australia
Bank (NAB) was the best of a negative bunch easing by 0.08 pct.
Commonwealth Bank (CBA) lost 0.4 pct. to $52.60 and Suncorp Group
Limited (SUN) falling 0.90 pct. to $8.21.
Elsewhere Qantas (QAN) was off 0.76 pct. to $1.64. Singapore
Telecommunications Limited (SGT) up over 1 pct. after telling the
market it will restructure its Australian based Optus business
that will lead it the company cutting 750 jobs with most of these
job losses to be in its Sydney offices and the rest in
Queensland, the ACT, South Australia and Victoria.
Optus said in its statement it is looking to "creating a more
efficient organisation with a renewed focus on the customer, we
will be able to compete more effectively.´´ Telstra Corporation
Limited (TLS) lower off 0.14 pct. to $3.57.
The Australian dollar (AUD) is buying US103.41 cents and
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