The Australian share market is trading slightly firmer at lunchtime in the East, as US lawmakers scramble to make an 11th hour agreement on budget changes ahead of the October 1 deadline. If changes can't be agreed, there will be a shutdown of many (mainly non-essential) US government services. The looming deadline impacted offshore trade overnight, sending the Dow Jones Index down 0.8 per cent.
Australia's ASX outshines regional indices in the week ending 28 September (Reuters).
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 0.2 per cent at lunchtime in the East, as investors await the Reserve Bank of Australia's monthly board decision. No change is expected to the official cash rate of 2.5 per cent.
After falling 0.5 per cent in early trade, energy stocks are flat at lunchtime meaning that every sector is in the black.
There has been a raft of local economic data released today, most of it positive. The Australian Industry Group Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) showed a rebound in the manufacturing sector for the first time in two years. The survey rose 5.3 points in September to a reading of 51.7pts. Manufacturing has been boosted by lower interest rates and a fall in the Australian dollar.
Meanwhile, capital city home prices rose 1.6 per cent in September according to RP Data. New home sales rose 3.4 per cent in the month of August.
Retail trade rose 0.4 per cent in August, in line with CBA's forecast. Consumer discretionary stocks are firmer by 0.1 per cent at lunch while consumer staples stocks are also up 0.1 per cent.
So far on the market, a total of 703 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.4 billion. 369 are up, 342 are down and 271 are unchanged.
The Australian dollar is firmer ahead of the RBA decision buying US93.3c, £0.5762 and €68.97c.
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