Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 4/16/14

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | April 16, 2014 12:10 PM EST

MID-SESSION REPORT
(11.40am AEST)

The Australian share market is continuing to add to Tuesday's gains in the early session on Wednesday, after US markets rode out a volatile session on a high note.

Reuters
Global miner BHP Billiton is facing a two-week work stoppage at its Illawarra Coal Appin Mine unit as some 50 supervisors demand for an 18 per cent increase in their pay.

The US Dow Jones Index closed near the highs of the day, up 0.6 per cent despite falls on European markets overnight due to tensions in Ukraine.

Locally, the market is up 0.3 per cent in the early session, adding to yesterday's 0.5 per cent gain and limiting the weekly loss so far to 0.5 per cent.

In company news, miner BHP Billiton (BHP) has raised its iron ore production outlook, after reporting third quarter production figures. The miner produced 49.6 million tons of the commodity in the nine months to March 31, up 23 per cent on the year. BHP shares are being sold off, along with general weakness in the material sector ahead of economic growth figures out of China later today.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) shares are down 1.1 per cent to $5.27. The iron ore miner has reported total 3Q iron ore shipments of 31.5 million tons, up 56 per cent on the year.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) is up almost three per cent to $9.36, rebounding a little after its recent loss due to last week's profit warning. The beverage company received another broker downgrade yesterday and has seen its share price drop almost 15 per cent this month.

Sydney Airport (SYD) is firmer at $4.105 following analyst reports the airport is unlikely to lose traffic if Sydney's second airport in the city's west is developed. Qantas (QAN) shares are up one per cent in the early session to $1.19 while Virgin Australia (VAH) is stronger by 1.3 per cent to 38.5 cents.

So far on the market, 458 million shares have changed hands, worth $979 million. 399 are higher, 273 are lower and 284 are unchanged.

The Australian dollar is weaker at US93.45c.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Global miner BHP Billiton is facing a two-week work stoppage at its Illawarra Coal Appin Mine unit as some 50 supervisors demand for an 18 per cent increase in their pay.
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