Following a slight improvement for the local market yesterday, Australian shares are trading in the red for the fourth time in five sessions. Volume is still light on, however has started to pick up modestly over the past few days. All major sharemarkets around the world are trading normally today.
Tim Wimborne / Reuters
People look at market display indicators through the window of the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney
Overnight, shares in Europe hit fresh 22-month highs while American equities also rose. The U.S earnings season (profit reporting) kicked off yesterday with aluminium producer, Alcoa not disappointing the market with its profit numbers.
Premier Investments (PMV) is one of the outperformers in Australia after a few hours of trade, with its shares up 1.85 per cent or 12 cents to $6.59. It received a broker upgrade from a major player in the industry today, due to the potential for improved earnings. PMV is the owner of big brands such as Just Jeans, Jay Jays and two of its more profitable brands in Peter Alexander and stationary business, Smiggle.
The miners, energy players and industrials are holding the market back at lunch. BHP Billiton (BHP) is down 0.32 per cent or 12 cents to $37.46 while the smaller Rio Tinto (RIO) is down 0.21 per cent or 14 cents to $66.67.
The major banks were mostly higher in the first hour of trade but are now mixed. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) are both up by around 0.3 per cent while National Bank (NAB) is down 0.18 per cent to $25.30 while Westpac (WBC) is 0.21 per cent or 5.5 cent lower to $26.45.
On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics issued the monthly building approvals release which disappointed the market. Building approvals in November rose by 2.9 per cent, whereas the market was expecting a rise of more between 4 per cent and 5 per cent for the month. This is a reading of the number of building approvals granted to developers by councils across Australia.
Following the start of daylight savings in October, major markets in the region will be trading between the hours mentioned below until April 2013.
The Hong Kong sharemarket trades in two sessions each day and will now open for trade between 12.30pm (AEDT) and 3pm (AEDT) while the second session is between 4pm (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 and 3.30pm (AEDT) for the first session and then between 5pm and 8pm (AEDT) for the second.
U.S futures are currently pointing to a slightly weaker start to trade tonight. The U.S market trades between 1.30am (AEDT) and 8am (AEDT).
So far in trade at lunch, 535 million shares have been traded worth just $1.14 billion. 356 shares are up, 361 are lower and 316 are currently unchanged.
The Australian dollar (AUD) is stronger and buys US104.9 cents, €80.4 cents and £65.5 pence. The AUD has lost significant ground overnight, falling from
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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