The Australian market cracked through a five year high on Thursday, thanks to the announcement of continued stimulus from the US central bank. Investors are taking a breather today, with local stocks down around 0.4 per cent.
The main indicator of the Australian Securities Exchange (bottom R) is seen in red shortly after the local market opened in Central Sydney October 4, 2011. Australian stocks eased 0.6 percent on Tuesday, pressured by falls in global equities markets in a fresh flight from riskier assets, but losses were limited after steep declines on Monday. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (AUSTRALIA - Tags: BUSINESS)
On a positive note, despite today's slide, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is still up in the vicinity of 1.4 per cent over the past five trading sessions. This makes it the sixth weekly improvement; incredibly we've only had one week of losses in 14 weeks. The ASX200 index is flirting with the 5300pts market and encountering some resistance at those levels.
The defensive telcos, utilities and consumer staples are the lone improvers at lunch. Telstra (TLS), Australia's sixth biggest listed company is up 0.2 per cent.
Commodities rallied strongly overnight, thanks to a weaker greenback (commodities priced in US dollars). Gold posted its biggest one day improvement in over four years. Gold miner, Newcrest (NCM) is one of the beneficiaries, up 0.23 per cent today (up 7.8 per cent this week).
Despite the miners trading at six-month highs and leading the charge on Thursday, the sector is the biggest drag at lunch. BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both down approximately 1 per cent. The 6 per cent rise in the Australian dollar (against the US) this month is limiting the push higher in commodity prices.
Sydney Airport (SYD) issued its latest traffic numbers this morning. There's been a 2.4 per cent jump in the number of passengers at the airport over the past year. There was a 20.7 per cent rise in traffic from Malaysia and a 14.1 per cent jump in China up 14.1 per cent. The introduction of the first ever direct flight between Sydney and Delhi is expected to push traffic between both nations (India and Australia) higher.
No major market moving economic news in Australia or the region today. The CBA business sales indicator (an economy wide indicator of spending) rose by 3 per cent in August. With the federal election out of the way and consumer confidence pushing higher, spending is expected to rise over the medium term.
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