Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 4-2-13

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The Australian sharemarket is improving despite a flat finish in the U.S and an uneventful evening in Europe. Markets in Germany, France and the U.K were closed overnight due to the Easter break.

A report issued by RP Data-Rismark has shown that home prices rose by 1.3 per cent in March and 2.8 per cent between January and March. Prices have hit fresh record highs in Sydney according to the report.

This afternoon, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will be holding its third meeting on rates for 2013. Rates are widely expected to remain on hold once again. December last year was the last time the central bank cut rates. The Australian market is up 7.1 per cent this year despite a terrible March. Shares last month slumped by 2.7 per cent; the worst March since 2008.

All sectors with the exception of the mining industry is managing to improve. BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both down modestly.

Billabong (BBG) is in a trading halt at the request of the company as it remains in negotiations with two organisations looking to take over the struggling surfwear retailer. BBG shares are down 12 per cent so far this year.

Rare earth minerals company, Lynas Corp (LYC) is having its worst day of the year with its shares down 7.1 per cent despite no public announcements by the company.

568M shares have exchanged hands so far, worth $1.3B. 381 stocks are higher, 361 are lower and 332 are unchanged.

The beginning of a new month and quarter is always a busy time for Economists, with a barrage of data out around the world. Locally, international trade and new home sales figures will be issued tomorrow. On Thursday, retail spending, building approvals and car sales reports are scheduled for release.

In Europe, keep your eye on both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE) as they hold monthly meetings on interest rates this week. In the U.S, the monthly report on jobs growth or losses will be out this Friday.

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