Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 4/24/14

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | April 24, 2014 2:16 PM EST

MID-SESSION REPORT
(12.05pm AEST)

The Australian share market continues to trade at near six year highs in the early session, despite a negative lead from Wall Street. Investor sentiment has been boosted however by strong earnings reports from Facebook and Apple in the US, after the bell, which has sent both companies' share prices higher in after-hours trade.

At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index is up 0.2 per cent, after closing yesterday at its best level since June 2008.

In company news, Resmed in the healthcare sector is higher by 3.7 per cent to $5.29 after delivering record revenue in the March quarter, up 3 per cent to US$398M. Earnings rose by six per cent.

Also in the healthcare sector, shares in Ramsay Health Care (RHC) are lower by one per cent to $45.51 after the company confirmed Chair Paul Ramsay is in hospital in a serious condition.

Bank of Queensland (BOQ) shares are trading without rights to their 32c dividend, sending the company's share price lower by 40c or 3.1 per cent to $12.70.

Material stocks remain well supported today. Shares in Atlas Iron (AGO) are firmer by 4.2 per cent to 99.5c after the company announced record iron ore shipment in the March quarter, although production was down slightly to 2.3 million tonnes.

Transurban (TCL) shares will remain in a trading halt until next Thursday, after a consortium led by the company agreed to acquire Queensland Motorways from the state government for $7.06 billion, above expectations.TCL last traded at $7.27.

So far on the market, 658 million shares have changed hands, with a value of $3.1 billion. 428 are higher, 279 are lower and 315 are unchanged.

Across the Asian region, Japan's NIKKEI Index is lower by 0.1 per cent in the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite in China is weaker by 0.2 per cent.

The Australian dollar a touch higher for US92.92c.

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