AFTERNOON REPORT (5pm AEDT)
The Australian share market closed higher today, receiving a spike in the last hour of trade as news networks called the 2012 US Presidential Election a Democratic victory. Barack Obama himself tweeted "Four more years", with the projected decision sending the market up 0.7pct.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed higher by 30.5pts to 4534.2 after trading in a flat range for most of the session.
In company news, the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) today reported a lift in first quarter cash profit to $1.85 billion, but warned difficult economic conditions are beginning to hit businesses. CBA's unaudited cash earnings were up 6pct from $1.75 billion in the previous corresponding period. Analysts called the result solid, with shares in CBA rising 0.6pct to $57.80. Westpac (WBC) continued to have another good session, on the back of its full year result announced on Monday. WBC shares firmed by 1.3pct to $25.86, while the ANZ (ANZ) was up 1pct to $25.51. The National Australia Bank (NAB) meanwhile fell 0.2pct to $24.99.
Harvey Norman (HVN) today reported a 20pct drop in the first quarter of its 2012/13 financial year due to falling sales. Profit for the three months to September 30 came in at $50.1 million, down from $62.8 million in the prior corresponding period. Global sales were down 10pct to $1.33 billion, while like for like sales fell 7.8pct. HVN shares today fell 2.2pct to $1.81. Among the other retailers, David Jones (DJS) closed steady at $2.46 while JB Hi-Fi (JBH) added 0.6pct to $10.05.
Infrastructure management services company Downer EDI (DOW) rose 5.9pct today to $3.62 after maintaining its full-year profit guidance despite uncertainty about the level and timing of investment in major infrastructure projects.
Mark Bouris's financial institution Yellow Brick Road (YBR) was today placed in a trading halt after spiking in the early session. YBR closed higher by 25pct to 30c after announcing it is forming a home lending venture with Macquarie Group (MQG). MQG rose 1.7pct to $31.74.
Mining stocks were firmer, with Rio Tinto (RIO) shares up 0.8pct to $60.
There was no economic data released today and the Australian dollar spiked on the projected outcome of the US Election. At 4.30pm AEDT the Aussie was worth US104.53c, €81.28c and £0.6522.
On the market overall, a total of 1.58 billion shares were traded, worth $3.9 billion. 533 were up, 387 were down and 377 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm the SFE 200 Futures was at 4502, up 29pts.
The Dow Jones Futures Index was down 50pts or 0.4pct.
In the US consumer credit data is released together with weekly housing finance figures.
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