Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 3/24/14

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By Tom Piotrowski, CommSec Market Analyst | March 24, 2014 1:13 PM EST

Mid Session Report
(12:30 AEDT)

The ASX 200 has spent the early part of the session in the red on Monday. Sellers pushed the index down by as much as 37 point in early trade before the market found some traction.

Reuters
An office worker is reflected in the window of the Australian Securities Exchange building displaying the ASX50 curve for Wednesday in central Sydney August 7, 2013.

Market participants were mindful of the Chinese data which is due at 12:45 AEDT. The HSBC flash China PMI could see sellers refocus their attention in the event that the manufacturing data comes in weaker than the 48.7 reading that the market is expecting.

Most sectors have been trading in negative territory in the first hours of the week. Losses for the financial sector were trimmed after Macquarie Bank (MQG) upgraded its profit guidance. The investment bank expects its annual profit to be up in a range of 40 to 45 per cent for the full year as operating conditions in the financial markets continue to improve. Macquarie had previously forecast a rise in net profit for the full year to the end of March, although it had not offered specific guidance. MQG shares were at $56.36 up $1.53 or 2.8 per cent.

Elsewhere, Kathmandu (KMD) has impressed the market with its results with the shares rising as much as 11%. Kathmandu said it's first-half profit rose by 10 per cent to $10.8 million. Total sales rose one per cent during the period although same-store sales increasing by 5.4 per cent which KMD cited as being a key part of the result in addition to improved margins and cost management. KMD shares were at $3.36 a gain of $0.26 or 8.4%.

Mining stocks were the reason the market was able to consolidate in early trade with the bulk miners posting gains in the face of a falling market. Gold miners in Particular were outperforming the market as diplomatic exchanges continue between Russia and the rest of the world in relation to the situation in the Ukraine. Newcrest Mining (NCM) was at $10.89, up $0.34 or 3.2%. Alacer Gold (AQG) was at $3.10 up $0.07 or 2.5%. 

The Aussie dollar has slipped over the course of the morning although it continues to hold the bulk of last week's gains, supported by the notion that the next move in local interest rates is likely to be up

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(Photo: Reuters / )
An office worker is reflected in the window of the Australian Securities Exchange building displaying the ASX50 curve for Wednesday in central Sydney August 7, 2013.
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