The local sharemarket is higher for the eighth straight session, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) up 0.4 per cent or 17.8 pts to 4851.6. Global markets rose overnight, with the Dow gaining for the fifth day while European equities aren't far off two year highs.
The mining sector is holding the market back, with BHP Billiton (BHP) down 0.3 per cent or 11 cents to $37.05. Gold producer, Newcrest Mining (NCM) is slumping by 1.33 per cent or 32 cents to $23.65 while iron ore focused, RIO Tinto (RIO) is easing by 0.15 per cent or 13 cents to $66.16.
Despite weakness from the mining sector, all other industries are trading in the black, with the four big banks up by as much as 1.2 per cent. Westpac (WBC) is the best of the majors; up 32.5 cents to $27.42. National Australia Bank (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) are both up by more than 0.5 per cent, while ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is dragging its heels.
Overnight, the earnings season continued in North America, with investors reacting badly to Apple's $13.1 billion quarterly profit. Expectations are always high for the tech giant and its shares were punished; sold off by over 12 per cent. Microsoft recorded a $6.38 billion profit over the quarter however the result certainly didn't shoot the lights out either.
No major economic news is scheduled for release in Australia today, however it seems that the local market is going to finish the week with a clean slate of five straight sessions of gains.
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, 902 million shares have been traded worth just $3.8 billion. 407 shares are up, 373 are lower and 299 are currently unchanged. Volume is much higher than usual today due to equity option expiry which took place yesterday.
The Australian dollar (AUD) buys US104.4 cents, €78.1 cents and £66.2 pence. The catalyst seems to be related to North Korea's threat to test nuclear weapons targeted at the U.S. This has also resulted South Korean Won weakness.
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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