MID-SESSION (12.30pm AEDT)
The Australian sharemarket is treading water ahead of the all-important non-farm payrolls report out later this evening. This is the most important piece of insight into the state of North America's employment market.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 0.1 per cent; losing ground for just the second time this week. Mining stocks, financials, consumer staples, property trusts and telcos are in the red.
Australia's largest miner, BHP Billiton (BHP) is slipping for the first time in six trading sessions. The miner is coming off its best winning streak in two months. BHP shares are down 0.27 per cent. Junior nickel miner, Cassini Resources (CZI) is down 11.9 per cent following its incredible 366 per cent surge on Thursday. CZI is purchasing a small WA based nickel mine from BHP for around $10 million.
Three of the four major banks are weaker, with the exception of ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) which is a touch firmer. Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Westpac (WBC) and National Australia Bank (NAB) are all down by at least 0.25 per cent at lunch.
Upmarket department store owner David Jones (DJS) is down 2.15 per cent or 7 cents. DJS is trading ex-dividend today for its 10 cent per share dividend scheduled for payment on 7 May.
On the economic front, the latest statistics on alcohol consumption have been released. Australians are drinking less alcohol now than at any time in the past 15 years. This data is important for food retailers, alcohol producers and supermarket retailers. CommSec's chief economist, Craig James will be writing a report on the findings today.
Markets in Taiwan are closed today due to a public holiday. This is not a major influence on markets across Asia. Next Monday however; markets in China will be closed for Tomb Sweeping Day.
At lunch 670 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.29 billion. 418 stocks are higher, 323 are in the red and 305 are unchanged.
Paladin (PDN), Goodman Fielder (GFF) and Buru Energy (BRU) are the standout performers at lunch.
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