Despite giving back some of the more significant gains recorded at midday, the Australian market still managed to rise for the fourth time in five trading sessions and for the 10th time in 12. Chinese economic data out over the past few weeks has been largely promising while the political situation in the US is in better shape for now.
A woman walks past the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) building in central Sydney
All sectors managed to improve at least modestly today, with the exception of the property trusts. BHP Billiton (BHP) continues to struggle with the $38 mark, however still edged 0.21% or 8 cents higher to $37.67.
Gold prices have fallen by over 20 per cent this calendar year, which has squeezed margins. Newcrest Mining (NCM) fell by 2.1 per cent today, taking losses this year to 51.9 per cent.
ANZ improved for the fifth straight day, following its better than expected annual profit result on Tuesday. National Australia Bank (NAB) however slumped by 1.23 per cent (the only major player to fall amongst the banks today), ahead of its FY13 profit result tomorrow.
At the close, 2.09 million shares changed hands, worth $5 billion. 488 stocks finished higher, 465 ended in the red and 361 were unchanged.
Looking ahead, in Europe tonight the Spanish Flash GDP reading will be issued at 7pm (AEDT) with a modest 0.1 per cent expansion expected for the previous quarter. The latest change to Germany's unemployment rate will also be issued while both an Italian and German 10-year bond auction will be held.
In the US, day two of the Federal Reserve meeting will be held. The Fed is unlikely to make any sort of change to its current US$85 billion support/stimulus package for the US economy. However, of more interest will be their view on US fiscal issues, the labour market and further hints on its tapering timetable.
Also of interest tonight will be the delayed Consumer Prices (inflation) reading for September, together with quarterly economic growth, ADP employment report and an update on how much crude oil is on hand at commercial firms across the US.
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