Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 12/4/13

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By Steven Daghlian, CommSec Market Analyst | December 4, 2013 1:54 PM EST

(12.30pm AEDT)

The Australian sharemarket is losing ground for the fourth consecutive trading day. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is 0.1 per weaker, with mining and telco strength minimising the losses.

Australia's economy expanded by a less than expected 0.6 per cent between July and September, taking annual growth to 2.3 per cent. Despite the economy enjoying its 23rd consecutive year of growth, the Australian dollar has fallen from US91.3c to US90.7c following the result; exactly what the Reserve Bank would have been hoping for our currency. The lower the Aussie falls, the better it is for export facing businesses, and the lower the need for rate cuts.

Dick Smith (DSH) made its ASX debut at 12pm (AEDT) and is up 2.25 per cent to $2.25. DSH's issue price to investors buying the float was $2.20. The electronic goods retailer raised $344.5 million from this offer and was sold for just $20 million by Woolworths to private equity firm Anchorage in September 2012.

The miners struggled yesterday; slumping by 1.38 per cent however is up 0.3 per cent at lunch. Australia's two largest miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are up by more than 0.5 per cent, while Fortescue (FMG) is 2.5 per cent higher and gold producer Newcrest Mining (NCM) continues to struggle (down 2.7 per cent).

Shopping mall owner Westfield (WDC) and Westfield Retail Trust (WRT) are two standouts today. A proposal was made to merge Westfield's Australian and New Zealand malls with the Westfield Retail Trust; renaming the business to Scentre Group in the process (interest in 47 shopping malls). Westfield Group (WDC) will be renamed Westfield Corp and has interests in 44 malls across the US, UK and Europe.

The Australian dollar has fallen by US5c in just four weeks, which is the ideal outcome from the Reserve Bank's perspective.

At lunch, 936 million shares have changed hands, worth $2.13 billion. 314 stocks are higher, 473 are in the red and 315 are unchanged.

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