EVENING REPORT (4.30pm AEST)
Local stocks managed to rise for the first time in three sessions. Promising Chinese data on Sunday and a better end to the week across U.S. markets acted as catalysts. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) rose by just shy of 0.5 per cent, closing near the highest level of the day.
Market closures in China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Hong Kong today didn't impact trading volumes too much. All markets are expected to trade normally tomorrow.
Despite the mining industry finishing the day in the red, the losses were quite modest by the close. This helped push the broader market higher. BHP Billiton (BHP) was the biggest loser, wiping out 4.7pts from the XAO and slumping by 1.1 per cent. Fortescue Metals (FMG) surged by 1.8 per cent however is still close to a nine-month low.
Oil and gas exploration company Karoon Gas Australia (KAR) surged by 42 per cent thanks to the sale of gas asset in the Browse Basin to Origin Energy (ORG) for US$800m. ORG shares slumped by 3.5 per cent. The big banks were the biggest contributors to the gains today, with National Australia Bank (NAB) rising 1.16 per cent while the other banks rose by at least 0.5 per cent.
Building approvals fell by a worse than expected 5.6 per cent in Apr-making it the third straight decline. The avg price of unleaded petrol nationally surged by 6.2c/l last week to 155.7c/l. This followed the 6.4c fall over the previous fortnight. According to the latest RP Data home price data, home values fell by 1.9 per cent in May; however are still up 10.7 per cent over the year. This was the biggest monthly fall in prices in over 5 years.
Across the region, Japan's Nikkei 225 was a standout, rising by 2.1 per cent, making it the best day in Japan in close to a fortnight. South Korea's KOSPI edged higher by 0.2 per cent ahead of a shortened trading week with municipal elections and Memorial Day on Wednesday and Friday. China's sharemarket is down 3.63 per cent this calendar year and is underperforming the broader market.
Tonight, manufacturing data in Europe and U.S. will be key.
As mentioned in the mid-session written wrap, the start of a new month always is an eventful time for economists. In Australia, the Reserve Bank's monthly interest rate meeting tomorrow will be a highlight. While a rate move is extremely unlikely, the RBA's accompanying one page statement is always important. Chinese manufacturing data tomorrow will also be in focus, together with U.S. jobs data on Fri night and central bank meetings out of Europe this Thursday.
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