Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 5/26/14

By @ibtimesau on

Mid Session Report (12:00 AEDT)

Local stocks saw a flat start to the trading week on Monday. Selling intentions harboured by participants were stymied by the strong finish seen for US stocks at the conclusion of last week which saw the broader US market end at record highs on Friday.

Transformative issues including the weak iron ore price and the Federal Budget remain in focus for investors although at present these matters appear to have been put to one side. Tier one economic news is in short supply local this week. The remaining economic news, such as private sector credit due on Wednesday, will be important in terms of filling out the trends associated with the broader economic picture domestically.

In the resources space Lynas LYC, was one of the best improvers in early trade in the absence of any meaningful news, the miner of rare earth metals was up by more than 13 per cent. Horizon Oil HZN has responded to article in today's Street Talk section of the Australian Financial Review, indicating that HZN "has secured a production development licence" in respect of the Stanley Gas Project, leading to a formal announcement of same today. HZN says the AFR's claim is premature citing earlier correspondence to the ASX from HZN advising that thus far the Papua New Guinea's National Executive Council has approved the Stanley Gas Project and that the Minister for Petroleum and Energy has signed on behalf of PNG. HZN indicated that it will announce the grant of the Stanley Gas Project petroleum development licence on receipt of the licence from the Minister for Petroleum and Energy. HZN share were down by 0.7%.

Standards and compliance services provider SAI Global (SAI) announced that it has received a takeover approach from Pacific Equity Partners valuing the organisation at $1.11 billion dollars. The Australian private equity firm made an indicative offer of between $5.10 and $5.25 per share which is being assessed by the board of SAI. At the same time SAI announced that it had stood down its chief executive Stephen Porges, after just four months in the role. Non-executive independent chairman Andrew Dutton has been appointed as SAI´s executive chairman until a replacement is found for Mr Porges. SAI shares were higher by 17 % a short time ago.

The Australian dollar continues to defy bearish sentiment as the market focuses on the U.S. Federal Reserve´s progress toward unwinding quantitative easing a short time ago the currency was buying 92.3 US cents.

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