The Australian sharemarket is improving for the fourth time this week, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) up 0.5 per cent or 20.7 pts to 4510.8. Global market rose overnight thanks to mostly positive economic news. A report showed that the U.S economy continues to grow; the number of Americans filing to receiving jobless benefits fell and there were additional positive signs for the U.S housing market.
Taking a step back however; until a solution is reached on preventing automatic tax increases and spending cuts in a month's time, markets are likely to remain sensitive. Yesterday the speaker of the house, John Boehner said that there has been a lack of substantial progress made in talks on the issue. This comes just a day after the media quoted the speaker saying he was feeling optimistic a deal will be agreed upon.
Almost all sectors are improving, with the defensive telcos the only losers. Australia's biggest telco, Telstra (TLS) is easing by 0.46 per cent or 2 cents to $4.29.
The miners are leading the way, with BHP Billiton (BHP) up 0.99 per cent or 33 cents to $34.54 while the smaller Rio Tinto (RIO) is up a more impressive 3.31 per cent or $1.88 to $59.06.
A number of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are being held today, with Primary Health Care (PRY) one of the bigger names to be meeting shareholders.
On the economic front, private sector credit rose by a less than expected 0.1 per cent today. The market was expecting a 0.3 per cent improvement in lending. This is further proof that consumers and businesses aren't keen to take on additional debt. The market is factoring in a 70 per cent chance of a rate cut next week, when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meets for the last time this year.
Following the start of daylight savings, major Asian markets will be trading between the hours mentioned below until October this year.
The Hong Kong sharemarket trades in two sessions each day and will now open for trade between 11.30am (AEST) and 2pm (AEST) while the second session is between 3.30pm (AEST) and 6pm (AEST).
Out of Japan, the first session will be between 11am (AEST) and 1pm (AEST) while the second session is between 2.30pm (AEST) and 5pm (AEST).
The Singapore exchange will be open for trade between 11am and 2.30pm (AEST) for the first session and then between 4pm and 7pm (AEST) for the second.
U.S futures are currently pointing to a slightly lower start to trade tonight. The U.S market trades between 1.30am (AEDT) and 8am (AEDT).
So far in trade at lunch, 952 million shares have been traded worth $3.23 billion. 402 shares are up, 314 are lower and 315 are currently unchanged.
The Australian dollar (AUD) is stronger and buys US104.3 cents, €80.3 cents and £65.01 pence.
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.
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