The gains are continuing, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) up by 60pts or 1.1 per cent at lunch. With nine of the past ten sessions being up days, this makes it the second best winning streak for local shares of 2013. The gains are partly being fuelled by greater political certainty in the US (for now), Chinese manufacturing figures out last week and a better finish to the week for US equities on Friday.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 22, 2011.
Three of the four major banks are at their highest levels on record, including Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Westpac (WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ANZ). Both ANZ and National Bank (NAB) will be releasing annual profit results this week. NAB is up 47.4 per cent since January; however is a way off its highs.
The smaller Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (BEN) is holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) today. During the Chairman's address, it was highlighted that cash earnings of $348 million were 7.7 per cent higher than a year before and almost twice as much as in 2009. Competition remains fierce within the banking sector; however BEN is up 1.4 per cent today and 31.5 per cent this year.
Sydney based property group, GPT has upgraded its profit expectations and has announced a new five-year strategy. It is now looking for at least 6 per cent earnings growth for the12 months ending December 2013. It will maintain its 80 per cent distribution payout ratio and has signalled it will grow its funds under management by $10 billion. GPT is up 1.7 per cent and 2.8 per cent this year.
BHP Billiton (BHP) is 1.2 per cent higher and is nearing the $38 market; a level it has struggled to remain above for more than a few days over the past few years.
Looking ahead, the Federal Reserve's two day policy meeting kicks off tomorrow night and will be a major area of interest for markets. The Fed is unlikely to make a change to its US$85 billion stimulus program. Commentary will be important.
There is no major economic news issued in Australia or the region today or in the region.
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