The Australian sharemarket fell for the third time this week, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) down by 0.3 per cent. Thanks to a 1 per cent rise on Monday however, the market still ended modestly higher this week. This is the 17th week in 19 that Australian shares finished in the black.
A panel displays stock indexes of Asian markets at an exhibition hall of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange August 8, 2011.
Two separate Chinese reports were out at lunch today, with both coming in slightly better than expected. HSBC Final Manufacturing PMI remained at 50.9, but was a slightly higher reading than expected. The official government reading of the manufacturing sector rose from 51.1 to 51.4; also better than market forecasts. Although investors initially pushed stocks higher, local shares faded late in trade, while the Aussie dollar remained well supported.
David Jones (DJS) rose 6.6 per cent, after a 2.1 per cent rise in quarterly sales to $424.2m. Its online store, which turns 1 next week is starting to contribute to earnings. NSW and VIC were standout states for DJS while the ACT lagged due to refurbishments at its Canberra site.
Macquarie (MQG) had its best day in three months and closed at a four year high following its half-year earnings report. The investment bank recorded a 39 per cent lift in profit to $501 million. MQG has lifted its dividend payment to shareholders to $1.00 (up 25c on last year). Investors will receive a Sydney Airport share for every Macquarie share they own. MQG expects profit to rise in the 2H14.
By the end of the sessions, 2.1bn stocks changed hands, worth $3.98. 409 stocks were higher, 549 ended in the red while 359 finished unchanged.
Tonight, FOMC Member Bullard speaks; the ISM Manufacturing reading will be issued for October while an industry report is also out in the UK.
Looking ahead, Westpac (WBC) will be issuing its Full Year profit results on Monday. Whitehaven Cola, Navitas, Echo Entertainment, Wesfarmers and Fairfax Media will be holding Annual General Meetings (AGMs). The AGM season is now winding down. On Tuesday, both the Reserve Bank board meeting and the Melbourne Cup will take place. Retail spending, international trade and a monthly jobs report will also be issued locally. Monthly Chinese economic news will be out on November 8 and 9.
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