Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 2/5/14

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Mid Session Report (12:30 AEDT)

Conditions for global markets have improved in the last day following steep declines in the preceding session. Markets were initially spooked by weaker economic news from the US. This outcome antagonised sensitivities around Q.E, driven by concerns that the Fed is acting too quickly in relation to its tapering policy.

The early part of the session on Wednesday has seen modest moves compared to last nights close; similarly volumes have been low. Local investors are content to sit on the sidelines as they wait for earnings results from local companies. At the same time investors globally are waiting on US employment figures on Friday. The main risk for the markets is weak readings which will see investors revisit the concerns seen after the poor reading on US manufacturing on Monday.

Almost every sector is in the red as lunch draws closer. Consumer Discretionary stocks are the only group to register meaningful improvement. REA Group (REA) continues to improve in the wake of the better than expected profit result announced yesterday. In the same sector Echo Entertainment (EGP) has posted a weaker than expected result in addition to announcing the resignation of its CEO. Echo reported a first half net profit of $46.1 million, down over 30 per cent on the same period a year ago. Revenue over the period was $868 million, a 4.9 per cent fall on the previous corresponding period.

Drug delivery company Acrux remains under pressure. The US FDA is undertaking an investigation into the efficacy of testosterone treatments following the publication of studies that have revealed increased risks to cardiovascular health in patients and it's unclear how this might impact ACR. The shares were recently down 5 per cent.

In economic news, The Australian Industry Group Performance of Services Index (PSI) rose 3.2 points to 49.3 in January. Despite the increase the measure remained below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction. Health and community services, in addition to finance and insurance, drove the improvement although activity in accommodation, cafe and restaurant services continued to contract.

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