Australian Stock Market Report - Midday 1/10/2012


Almost all sectors are trading higher with the miners the biggest contributors to the day's gains. Australia's second largest mining company, RIO Tinto ( RIO ) is up 1.66 pct or $1.03 to $63.18 while the larger BHP Billiton which also happens to be the biggest company listed on the Australian sharemarket is up 1.28 pct or 45 cents to $35.65.

The financials had a slow start to the week on Monday but are all trading higher at lunch. ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is up 1.31 pct or 27 cents to $20.81, National Australia Bank (NAB) is 1.28 pct or 30 cents higher to $23.67, Westpac ( WBC ) is up 0.95 pct or 19 cents to $20.18 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia ( CBA ) is 0.87 pct or 43 cents stronger to $49.83.

The airlines are outperforming the broader sharemarket with Qantas (QAN) up 4.76 pct or 7 cents to $1.54 making up for the disappointing performance at the end of last week. Keep in mind that QAN shares fell by a staggering 40 pct last year. Virgin Australia (VAH) is up 3.39 pct or 1 cent to 30.5 cents however slumped by 30 pct in 2011.

On the economic front, a report has shown that the number of building approvals granted by councils to developers rose by a better than expected 8.4 pct in December. More details will be discussed in the market close report.

Following the start of daylight savings at the start of October, major Asian markets will be trading between the hours mentioned below until April next year (note that over the next month, some of the times might be slightly off due to several countries in the region changing their clocks at differing periods).

The Hong Kong sharemarket trades in two sessions each day and will now open for trade between 1pm (AEDT) and 3.30pm (AEDT) while the second session is between 5.30pm (AEDT) and 7pm (AEDT).

Out of Japan, the first session will be between 11am (AEDT) and 1pm (AEDT) while the second session is between 2.30pm (AEDT) and 5pm (AEDT). The Japanese sharemarket is closed today for Coming of Age Day. This is a day which congratulates those who have turned 20 over the past year and reminds them of their added responsibilities.

The Singapore exchange will be open for trade between 12pm (AEDT) and 3.30pm (AEDT) for the first session and then between 5pm (AEDT) and 8pm (AEDT) for the second.

Asian markets are mostly higher at lunch with South Korea's KOSPI index up 1.31 pct or 23.86 pts to 1850.35 while the Philippines Composite index is also 1.3 pct or 58.24 pts higher to 4541.6. Japan's Nikkei 225 is trading for the first time this week due to a public holiday yesterday and is up 0.41 pct or 34.27 pts to 8242.62.

So far in trade at lunch, 689 million shares have been traded worth $1.2 billion in what seems to be yet another quiet day for Australian shares. 467 shares are up, 278 are lower and 298 are currently unchanged. Interest in the market continues to remain light.

The Australian dollar ( AUD ) has made up for yesterday's weakness and buys US102.7 cents and €80.4 cents.

The AUD is the world's fifth most traded currency behind the U.S dollar, the Euro, Japanese Yen and British Pound. The AUD accounts for around 7 pct of all foreign exchange trades.

Steven Daghlian, CommSec Market Analyst

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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 Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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