Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 1/24/2013

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The Australian market is improving for the seventh straight session; the longest winning streak in around three months. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 0.1 per cent or 2.9 pts to 4815. The miners are holding the market back today while the financials are helping to keep the situation a little positive.

Overnight, the world's biggest company Apple said it made $13.1 billion over the past three months while revenue/sales hit $54.5 billion. Despite this sounding like a ridiculous amount of money, sales fell short of expectations which have resulted in a 10 per cent slump in its share price after-market hours.

Australia's biggest gold producer, Newcrest Mining (NCM) is down 1.49 per cent or 35 cents to $23.20 after issuing its quarterly production numbers. Production did rise by over 7 per cent in the quarter however its expectations for the year are a bit lower. BHP Billiton (BHP), the world's largest miner is down 0.05 per cent or 2 cents to $37.04 while Rio Tinto (RIO) is 0.5 per cent or 33 cents weaker to $66.11.

The major banks are up by as much as 1 per cent, with Westpac (WBC) the best of the big four. WBC is up 1.01 per cent or 27 cents to $27.02, National Australia Bank (NAB) is 0.9 per cent or 24 cents higher to $26.99, Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is 0.56 per cent or 35.5 cents stronger to $63.02 while ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is edging higher by 0.13 per cent or 3.5 cents to $25.97.

Copper and gold producer OZ Minerals (OZL) has announced a fourth quarter production result largely in-line with market forecasts. Costs came in towards the high end while sales were strong. OZL shares are down 6.98 per cent or 51 cents to $6.82

The country's third biggest iron ore miner, Fortescue Metals (FMG) is scheduled to issue its quarterly production results today.

No major market moving data is expected for release today, however the HSBC 'flash' manufacturing reading has the potential to influence shares a little if it surprises at 12.45pm (AEDT). The market is hoping for continued signs of improvement in the world's second biggest economy.

Following the start of daylight savings in October, major markets in the region will be trading between the hours mentioned below until April 2013.

The Hong Kong sharemarket trades in two sessions each day and will now open for trade between 12.30pm (AEDT) and 3pm (AEDT) while the second session is between 4pm (AEDT) and 7pm (AEDT).

Out of Japan, the first session will be between 11am (AEDT) and 1pm (AEDT) while the second session is between 2.30pm (AEDT) and 5pm (AEDT).

The Singapore exchange will be open for trade between 12pm and 3.30pm (AEDT) for the first session and then between 5pm and 8pm (AEDT) for the second.

U.S futures are currently pointing to a slightly stronger start to trade tonight. The U.S market trades between 1.30am (AEDT) and 8am (AEDT).

So far in trade at lunch, 772 million shares have been traded worth just $1.63 billion. 375 shares are up, 414 are lower and 273 are currently unchanged.

The Australian dollar (AUD) buys US105.2 cents, €79.1 cents and £66.5 pence.

The AUD is the world's fifth most traded currency behind the U.S dollar, the Euro, Japanese Yen and British Pound. The AUD accounts for around 7 pct of all foreign exchange trades.

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