Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 11/15/2012

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November 15, 2012 1:36 PM EST

MID-SESSION REPORT
(12pm AEDT)

Local stocks have hit a seven week low in the early session, dragged down by more falls on US and European markets overnight. Key banking, energy and mining stocks are all in the red, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) down 45.5pts or 1pct to 4365.2.

One bright spot is the retailers after Myer Limited (MYR) reported a one percent lift in first quarter sales, thanks to recent rate cuts which have sent consumers back to the shops. The department store's sales in the thirteen weeks to October 27 totalled $688 million, while on a comparable stores basis, sales were up 0.8pct on the previous period. MYR has risen 5.8pct in early trade to $2.115 while rival David Jones (DJS) is up 4pct to $2.555.

Qantas Airways (QAN) is also trading higher, up 4.5pct to $1.285, after announcing it will spend $100 million to buy back about 4pct of its issued stocks in a move to strengthen its dwindling share price. Virgin Australia (VAH) is lower, down 4pct to $0.49.

Graincorp (GNC) has today announced a 19pct rise in annual profit to $204.9 million, and said its current harvest is proceeding well. All of the company´s business units - storage, marketing, malt and mills - posted a strong performance in the year to September. However Graincorp has walked away from a $2.7 billion takeover offer from US food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland, claiming the $11.75 per share offer is too low. Most analysts agree and shareholders have responded well to GNC's decision, sending its share price up 0.2pct to $12.20.

The Australian dollar is worth US103.61c, £0.6538 and €81.4c.

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