Australian Stock Market Report - Midday 11/25/2011


Half of all companies listed on the Australian sharemarket are losing ground at lunch. The All Ordinaries index (XAO) is down significantly by 1.3 pct or 52.7 pts to 4062.6. Despite there still being well over 200 companies that are higher and another 334 currently flat, most of the big players are being hit hard today.

Australia's largest listed company, BHP Billiton ( BHP ) is down 1.42 pct or 49 cents to $34.04 while the smaller RIO Tinto ( RIO ) is 0.77 pct or 48 cents lower to $61.90. Amazingly, BHP makes up (on its own) around 9 pct of the whole Australian sharemarket while RIO accounts for around 2 pct of its size.

The financials are one of the worst hit and are holding the market back most substantially. National Australia Bank (NAB) is down 2.83 pct or 63 cents to $21.61, Westpac ( WBC ) is off 2.13 pct or 42 cents to $19.35, Commonwealth Bank of Australia ( CBA ) is down 2.1 pct or 98 cents to $45.62 while ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is 1.95 pct or 37 cents weaker to $18.64. The big four banks account for around 20 pct of the Australian sharemarket in terms of its size.

Treasurer Wayne Swan approved London based SABMiller's approximate $10 billion takeover of Foster's (FGL) today. FGL owns brands such as Carlton and Pure Blonde. The company has a market capitalisation (number of shares on issue multiplied by its current share price) of around $10.4 billion.

All other sectors are currently trading in the red with the energy sector the worst performer in percentage terms.

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 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 mixed with shares in Japan managing to rise a touch today. Keep in mind that Japan has been playing catch-up with global markets over the past two days due to its national holiday on Wednesday. Shares in the Philippines are lower by 0.75 pct while China's Shanghai Composite index is flat.

As is usually the case at the end of the week, no major economic data is scheduled for release in Australia today however Japan will be issuing its latest inflation report.

So far in trade at lunch, 853 million shares have been traded worth $3.14 billion. 273 shares are up, 566 are lower and 334 are currently unchanged.

The Australian dollar ( AUD ) is weaker and buys US97 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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