MID-SESSION REPORT (12.30pm AEDT)
Local stocks are recording positive gains at lunchtime in the East, despite a fairly flat start to the trading session. Overnight, Wall Street staged a remarkable comeback on hopes an agreement on the Fiscal Cliff could be reached before Christmas.
At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 16.3pts or 0.4pct to 4478.9.
Index leader BHP Billiton (BHP) is holding its Annual Gernal Meeting (AGM) today. The miner has told shareholders global financial problems continue although there are some signs of stabilisation. At lunchtime in the East, BHP shares are up 0.4pct to $34.15.
Rio Tinto (RIO) meanwhile has announced plans to slash up to US$5 billion in spending by the end of 2014, as the short-term macroeconomic outlook remains volatile. RIO shares are firmer by 0.8pct to $57.13.
Also holding AGMs today: Seek Limited (SEK) and Ramsay Health Care (RHC). SEK shares are firmer by 0.9pct to $6.74 in the early session while RHC is down 0.4pct to $26.21.
Australia´s housing sector posted a mild rise in October, with new home sales lifting after three months of falls. The Housing Industry Association (HIA) new home sales report showed a 3.4pct increase for the month, after drops of 3.7pct and 5.3pct in September and August respectively.
At lunchtime in the East, the Aussie dollar is buying US104.6c, £0.6532 and €80.78c.
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