Australian Stock Market Report –Midday July 22, 2014

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By Craig James, CommSec Chief Economist | July 22, 2014 2:25 PM EST

An Israeli boy holds a flag during a protest in Tel Aviv, in support of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip July 21, 2014. The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip jumped to more than 500 on Monday, as the United States, alarmed by escalating civilian bloodshed, took a direct role in efforts to secure a ceasefire. Israel's losses also mounted. Following the death of 13 soldiers on Sunday, Israel said seven more troops had died on Monday, including four killed when a group of militants tunnelled across the border from Gaza and fired at their jeep. REUTERS/Daniel Bar-On (ISRAEL - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An Israeli boy holds a flag during a protest in Tel Aviv, in support of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip July 21, 2014. The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip jumped to more than 500 on Monday, as the United States, alarmed by escalating civilian bloodshed, took a direct role in efforts to secure a ceasefire. Israel's losses also mounted. Following the death of 13 soldiers on Sunday, Israel said seven more troops had died on Monday, including four killed when a group of militants tunnelled across the border from Gaza and fired at their jeep. REUTERS/Daniel Bar-On (ISRAEL - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

MID SESSION REPORT (12.20pm AEST) 

Usually a 2 points gain at the start of trade would not be seen as a strong start but since the SPI futures had our market set for a decline and we had weakness in overseas market this was a good start. But the joy was short lived with the market moving into the red within 30 minutes of trade. 

Overnight, once again, geopolitical concerns, the new ignition of fighting in the Ukraine and heightened tensions in Gaza, held investors back and cause the European markets to close lower and the Dow Jones to finish down nearly 50 points.

Yesterday the ASX 200 finished at 6yr high but today the market is coming under selling pressure in very light trade the ASX 200 off 7 points. The financial sector was weaker the big 4 banks in the red and & QBE Insurance Group Limited (QBE) off 1.2%.

The one item working in our favour today was the fact that oil prices did regain strength overnight. The US oil price added nearly US$2 an ounce overnight and by lunch the NYMEX light sweet crude price in US$ terms was up US$0.04 to US$104.63 a barrel.

Oil Search (OSH) today reported its quarterly production and sales results for the June quarter 2014. OSH said it produced 3.69million metric barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) for 2Q14 was up 120% over the last quarter, largely due to the early commencement of PNG Liquid natural gas program, which contributed 1.87mmboe. Revenue hit US$339.7Million for the quarter up 100% (Q/Q) thanks to increased sales up 113%. Today OSH did not change is full year 2014 (FY14) production guidance saying it still expects to hit 17-20mmboe and the company also left is FY14 CAPEX guidance at USS1.2-1.5Billion. OSH share price lifted by 1.16% to $9.61 and Santos Limited was also higher up 0.32% 

In the material sector the big name miners started to regain lost ground as the day traded on. BHP Billiton Limited (BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (RIO) both slightly higher and Western Areas (WSA) up over 4.8% after the nickel miner reports better than expected output of nickel over the last half. WSA said nickel output had hit 28,686 tones and also told the market its cash cost was lower than expected at $2.50 a pound which has improved its profit. Lynas Corporation Limited (LYC) up 4.7%. 
In Economic News

We saw a big rise in consumer confidence in the last week: ANZ/Roy Morgan measure added4.4% for week to July 20. Now at highest since April 19/2000 
The Australian dollar held back again today in low trade ahead, now at 0.9378

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(Photo: / )
An Israeli boy holds a flag during a protest in Tel Aviv, in support of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip July 21, 2014. The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip jumped to more than 500 on Monday, as the United States, alarmed by escalating civilian bloodshed, took a direct role in efforts to secure a ceasefire. Israel's losses also mounted. Following the death of 13 soldiers on Sunday, Israel said seven more troops had died on Monday, including four killed when a group of militants tunnelled across the border from Gaza and fired at their jeep. REUTERS/Daniel Bar-On (ISRAEL - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
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