Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 12/10/13

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | December 10, 2013 1:20 PM EST

MID-SESSION REPORT
(12.50pm AEDT)

The Australian share market is performing much more strongly today, rebounding from yesterday's 0.7 per cent loss. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 Index reached a new record high while the Dow Jones Index also closed higher, although was sold off into the close on concern tapering could begin in the next few weeks.

Firmer commodity prices are supporting the market as is hope China data on retail sales, production and investment due after the bell today will be positive.

Yesterday a profit warning from insurer QBE (QBE) weighed on investor sentiment. QBE shares fell 22 per cent after warning of a $250 million annual loss due to its underperforming North American business. QBE shares are down another 6.6 per cent at lunch to $11.21.

Elsewhere, Brambles (BXB) has spun off its US based information and document management division into a separate company called Recall Holdings. Existing Brambles shareholders have retained their Brambles shares and been issued one Recall share for every five BXB they hold. BXB shares are down 5.8 per cent at lunch to $8.74 while REC is trading at $4.45 after a $2.70 listing price.

Also debuting on the market today is Hotel Property Investments (HPI), a portfolio of Coles operated pubs and bottle shops located in Queensland. The $279 million float offered shareholders shares at $2.10. HPI is down 2.4 per cent to $2.05.

Business confidence has been released today, showing confidence increased to a reading of 6.1 from 5.3 in October. Conditions improved from a level of minus 3.6 to minus 2.7.

The Australian dollar is buying US90.95c at lunchtime in the East.

So far, 824 million shares have changed hands, worth $2.1 billion. 415 are up, 389 are down and 287 are unchanged.

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