Aussie market hit by weak metals and dividend payments.
US markets were hit by lacklustre trading as investors waited to see what would happen to the planned spending cuts in the US. By the close Wall Street closed slightly higher boosted by better than expected economic data and end of week buying. European Market hit by falls in key banking stocks and the news Eurozone unemployment had hit 11.9% in January.
This morning the Aussie market open lower off 11points at the start of trade, hit by weakness in mining and energy stocks after falls in metal prices, gold, oil and iron ore on Friday.
A number of key stocks have gone ex-dividend today taking cash out of the market and paying it directly to shareholders. BHP Billiton Limited (BHP), ASX Limited (ASX), AMP Limited (AMP) and Transport firm Toll Holdings Limited (TOL) all trading ex- dividend today.
The S&P/ASX 200 Materials sector fell over 2.1% in early trade, BHP fell over 2.9% to $35.75 after going ex-dividend for $0.5517 cents a share today. While its rivals in the iron ore markets Rio Tinto Limited (RIO) gave back 2.2% and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (FMG) lost over 2.6%.
Arrium Limited (ARI, formerly OneSteel Limited) off 4.6% to $1.125 after paying out a $0.02cent dividend today.
The S&P ASX 200 Energy sector held up well even with the US$ oil price falling to a 2013 low on Friday in the States on excess supply concerns. The US$ oil price now holding around the US$90.50/barrel mark.
The media sector in focus today after News Corporation (NSW) announced it had sold off its 44% stake in Sky TV NZ to a range of Institutional and Retail shareholders. This did not come as a surprise to the market, given all the speculation of a sale over recent months. As NewsCorp creates further moves to simplify its businesses ahead of its planned de-merger of its publishing and Media arms. NewsCorp shares listed by 1.1% to $28.85. Also speculation of merger talks between Channel 9 and Southern Cross Media Group Limited (SXL) pushed Southern Cross shares up 3.1%. Southern Cross Austereo management have said "it is looking at its options, following reports" but would not speculate on the deal.
The Aussie dollar is weaker in early trade ahead of the Reserve Banks rate decision due out tomorrow and Australia's December quarter 2012 economic growth numbers (GDP) out on Wednesday.
AUD/USD at 1.0186, AUD/EUR at 0.7829 and AUD/JPY at 95.3515.
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