MID-SESSION REPORT (12.30pm AEDT)
Wednesday's trading session is panning out in similar fashion to Tuesday, with the Australian market fading after a strong start. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down by close to 0.2 per cent, with the miners once again the worst performers.
Futures were pointing to a rise today, as U.S. markets posted healthy improvements overnight. The DOW recorded its first triple digit gain of 2014, rising by 0.64 per cent. Better than expected U.S. monthly trade numbers were a catalyst for the rise as it could result in firmer than expected fourth quarter GDP (growth) in North America and shows that the U.S. is (seemingly) taking steps in the right direction.
The mining sector locally is down by 0.7 per cent with iron ore producer Fortescue Metals (FMG) once again a drag despite a report showing iron exports out of Port Hedland last month rose by 5 per cent. FMG is down 1.5 per cent, taking the pullback this month to 7.8 per cent. On a positive note, this is the first month of losses for FMG since June last year. FMG rose by 91 per cent between July and December 2013 as iron ore prices remained robust.
PNG focused oil company, Oil Search (OSH) is up 1 per cent after receiving a broker upgrade from a sell to neutral yesterday.
In early trade, the big four banks were higher which helped keep the market positive, until all majors gave away their gains at lunch.
No major economic news is out today in Australia or the region to drive trade and volume remains relatively light, with investors remaining in holiday mode.
At lunch, 858 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.4 billion (more than in recent days). 404 stocks are higher, 372 are in the red and 290 are unchanged.
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