Local stocks are holding up relatively well in the early session, given a fairly subdued offshore lead. US and European investors were shaken by the weaker than expected manufacturing data out of China, however were also heartened by a successful Spanish bond auction. The Dow Jones Index finished up 0.1pct to 13596.9pts, while European shares were mostly lower. At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 10.2pts or 0.2pct to 4430.
The stock markets are having a monster rally. But next earnings season might challenge that.
Specialty fashion retailer Premier Investments (PMV) has today reported a 68pct rise in full year profit to $68.2 million. The owner of brands such as Just Jeans, Portmans and Peter Alexander; says it's seeing better sales early in the new financial year, but added the retail industry remains vulnerable to global economic shocks. Shareholders will receive a final dividend of 18 cents a share, which is the same payment as last year. FY2011's profit was impacted by a one-off cost of $11 million related to a strategic review of PMV's business. PMV shares are up 9.5pct in early trade to $5.67.
The iron ore price fell slightly overnight to US$109 a tonne. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) are up 2pct in early trade to $3.67 and have risen 23pct so far this week after being placed in a trading halt at $2.99 last Thursday. Earlier this week, FMG secured a US$4.5 billion credit facility to help refinance its debts.
Next week hails a fairly quiet one in terms of local economic data. The highlight will be the Reserve Bank's Financial Stability Review, or half-yearly assessment of the economy's financial health. The usual bevy of information will be forthcoming in the US; with July home prices, September consumer confidence, August new home sales and personal income figures all released.
The Aussie dollar remains well supported against a basket of currencies in early trade; buying US104.61c, £0.645 and €80.66c.
So far 728 million shares have been traded, with a value of $1.2 billion.
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