Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 4/17/14

  @ibtimesau on April 17 2014 2:27 PM

MID-SESSION REPORT (12.30pm AEST)

The Australian sharemarket is rising for the third straight day, driven by firmer global markets overnight. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is still above 5400pts this shortened trading week. 

Quarterly production reports from oil and gas producers Woodside Petroleum (WPL) and Santos (STO) have both been issued this morning. WPL shares are up 0.8 per cent as Australia's second largest oil and gas producer recorded a 5 per cent rise in production over the year. Revenue has surged by 16 per cent and WPL has maintained estimates for FY14. 

Santos (STO) is flat despite reporting a 7 per cent slump in production between January and March. Weaker gas production and a fall in prices have pushed output and revenue lower. STO has maintained its FY14 guidance. 

This has been a big week for production reports, with BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO), Fortescue Metals (FMG) and OZ Minerals (OZL) all issuing their quarterly numbers. BHP is up 1 per cent this week, RIO is down 0.89 per cent, FMG has improved by 0.95 per cent while OZL is 1.79 per cent firmer. 

The big four banks are among the biggest contributors to the gains, adding almost 9pts to the All Ordinaries Index. 

Newly listed firm Japara Healthcare (JHC) is up 28 per cent on its debut. JP Morgan is the largest shareholder of the firm, holding 13.42 per cent of JHC. Institutional investors hold a large chunk of the firm. 

Lighting products retailer, Beacon Lighting (BLX) is flat after an extremely strong start to trade on Tuesday. BLX shares are up more than 60 per cent this week. 

On the economic front, motor vehicle sales, detailed labour force data and an update on imports over March are out today. 

The Australian dollar currently buys US93.7c; only modestly weaker than this time last week. 

At lunch, 825.5 million shares have changed hands worth $2.04 billion. 490 stocks are higher, 316 are in the red and 287 are unchanged.

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