The Australian sharemarket is pulling back for the second time this week, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) down 0.4 per cent or 18.4 pts to 5102.0. The market has been losing ground for much of the morning ahead of two important economic reports out of China. The official government report out at 12pm (AEDT) was worse than expected and came in at 50.1. This is a sign of only modest expansion whereas the market was expecting a reading of 50.5.
A man's shadow is cast on monitors displaying stock market prices inside a brokerage in Taipei November 10, 2011.
Almost all sectors are slipping, while the financials are helping to minimise the losses. National Australia Bank (NAB) is up 1.29 per cent or 39 cents to $30.59, Westpac (WBC) is 0.71 per cent or 22.5 cents firmer while Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is 0.37 per cent or 25 cents higher to $67.51. ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is down 0.17 per cent or 4.5 cents to $28.67.
The mining sector has underperformed the broader market this year and continues to do so today. BHP Billiton (BHP), Australia's biggest listed company is down 0.84 per cent or 31 cents to $36.76, while Rio Tinto (RIO) is 1.55 per cent or $1.03 lower to $66.02.
Despite the modest losses at lunch, the Australian sharemarket is still up 1.25 per cent this week and has only had two down weeks since the start of the year. Shares rose 4.5 per cent in February and 5.07 per cent in January.
The profit reporting season has essentially come to an end. To read or watch video coverage of around 50 companies, visit www.investing.commsec.com.au/reportingseason.
On the economic front today, a report issued by RP Data - Rismark has shown that dwelling values (property prices) rose by 0.3 per cent in capital cities, adding to the 1.2 per cent improvement in January. Over the past three months, prices in Darwin fell most while Hobart was the biggest improver. To put this in perspective however, the inverse has been the case over the past 12 months.
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, 948 million shares have been traded worth just $2.46 billion. 308 shares are up, 513 are lower and 278 are currently unchanged.
The Australian dollar (AUD) buys US102.1 cents, €78.1 cents and £67.3 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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