The Australian sharemarket is significantly weaker at lunch, as investors return to work following a holiday. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 0.8 per cent, with the mining and financial sectors the main drags on trade. The losses don't come as a surprise however as global markets slumped on Monday following concerns relating to emerging market growth.
It isn't all bad news, as the retailers are surging led by JB Hi-Fi (JBH) which is up 7.3 per cent. The discount retailer is improving thanks to an upgrade to guidance; now expecting profit over the first half of this calendar year to be 10 per cent firmer than previous forecast. JBH surged by 107 per cent in 2013. Department store owner, Myer (MYR) is 2.6 per cent stronger; however slumped by 6 per cent last week.
PNG focused oil and gas company, Oil Search (OSH) is 0.74 per cent higher after lifting its production guidance for the year. It now expects to produce between 12-15 mmboe (million barrels of oil equivalent) in 2014, around 15 per cent more than previous forecasts.
Building products firm, Boral (BLD) expects net profit to rise to approximately $90 million in 1H14; helped by good weather. On a negative note, estimates for the second half are less optimistic. BLD is up 0.42 per cent.
On the economic front, the results of a monthly read on business confidence was issued at 11.30am (AEDT). Confidence remained largely steady at +6, while business conditions crept into positive territory, partly supported by a weaker Australian dollar. The Aussie rose from US87.3c to US87.6c following the data.
Looking ahead, across the region a reading on the health of China's manufacturing sector will be a highlight on Thursday. This has the potential to move currencies and a number of sectors (miners in particular). Further abroad, the U.S. central bank will be meeting on Wednesday to discuss monetary policy. Its plans for its current US$75 billion per month stimulus strategy will be in focus. European leaders will be meeting tonight.
At lunch, 1.12 billion shares have changed hands, worth $2.07 billion. 235 stocks are higher, 613 are in the red and 297 are unchanged.
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