The ASX 200 completed its fourth consecutive day of gains on Tuesday. Much like yesterday, the index started the trade at the lows and ended around close to the best levels of the session. The ASX was shut down for 30 minutes this afternoon as a result of market data related issues. Volumes remained at healthy levels with $4.3 billion changing hands.
Retailers generally underperformed the overall market on Tuesday. David Jones (DJS) shares rose slightly after announcing that chairman Peter Mason will leave the department store following share trading by two of the company´s directors. Director Leigh Clapham will step down within three months, while fellow board member Steve Vamos will leave the company immediately. The resignations follow the purchase of more than 32,000 David Jones shares by Mr Vamos and Mr Clapham in October last year. The purchase was approved by Mr Mason and was transacted the day the company received a merger proposal from Myer and days before a better-than-expected sales report prompted a spike in the company´s share price.
Financials were the cornerstone of the day's gains helped by a positive trading update from the ANZ whose shares rose by 2.2% today.. The double digit jump in ANZ´s first quarter profit has created a positive atmosphere ahead of the remainder of the bank updates. ANZ´s cash profit in the three months to December 31 grew rose more than 13 per cent to $1.73 billion, helped by growth in home lending and a fall in bad debts. The lender is well placed to deliver a full year cash profit of about $7 billion, compared to the previous year´s $6.5 billion.
In economic news, housing-related lending took a breather in December, with the number of loans to owner-occupiers falling by a modest 1.9%. But, by value, loans to investors and owner-occupiers remain on a solid uptrend, especially compared to a year ago, and are 27% higher over the past year.
The feature of the Northern hemisphere session will be Janet Yellen's testimony to the House Financial Services Committee tonight local time. A run of weak jobs numbers has seen the more talk around the Fed's tapering timetable being revised to being less aggressive.
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