Australian Stock Market Report - Afternoon - 23 November 2012

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | November 23, 2012 5:56 PM EST

AFTERNOON REPORT
(5pm AEDT)

Local stocks closed flat today, following yesterday's impressive rally, and with Wall Street closed overnight for Thanksgiving. It's expected to be another quiet session in the US tonight, with no economic data scheduled for release. European markets rose overnight on improving Chinese manufacturing data, while markets around the Asian region were generally higher today.

By close of trade, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) was down 0.9pts to 4431.5.

Upmarket retailer David Jones (DJS) today held its AGM, where angry shareholders blamed the company's lack of customer service for a decline in profitability. Outgoing CEO Bob Savage said the retailer was yet to feel the effects of recent rate cuts, echoing Myer (MYR) boss Bernie Brookes who yesterday called for a December rate cut to boost spending. Shares in DJS closed slightly lower at $2.43 while MYR was up 4.2pct to $2.24.

Banking stocks were mixed today. Shares in Westpac (WBC) rose 0.4pct to $24.94 and the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) was also higher, up 0.5pct to $58.95. The ANZ (ANZ) was weaker, down 0.6pct to $23.60.

Among the miners, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) was a drag, losing 3.2pct to $3.68 while BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) were slightly higher.

Ausdrill (ASL) closed down 14.6pct to $2.10, a two year low, after the diversified mining services company delivered a profit warning.

There was no local economic data released today and the Australian dollar ended the session's trade at US103.99c, £0.652 and €80.68c.

On the market overall, a total of 1.3 billion shares were traded, worth $2.4 billion. 460 were up, 435 were down and 383 were unchanged.

At 5pm AEDT, the SFE 200 Futures was at 4420, down 3pts.

The Dow Jones Futures Index was at 12834, up 34pts. No economic data is due in the US tonight and trade is expected to be quiet, with many Americans taking a long weekend due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

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