MID-SESSION REPORT (12pm AEST)
The Australian sharemarket is recording its most substantial losses in close to a month, with a weak lead from the U.S. last night and worse than expected local data not helping. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 1 per cent and is flirting with the key 5400pt mark.
All markets have resumed trade across the region after holidays in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong on Monday and Tuesday kept markets closed. U.S. equity markets were dragged lower overnight by tech stocks such as Twitter, which slumped by 17 per cent. The post IPO lock period expired overnight - meaning that more than 80 per cent of the microblogging site's stock has become eligible for sale. The OECD warned that the Australian economy isn't ready for radical spending cuts. This comes a week out from the Federal Budget.
All sectors are weaker, with 1 per cent falls from the financials and miners hurting most.
The major banks are struggling and pulling away from record highs. Tomorrow, National Australia Bank (NAB) is scheduled to issue its first half profit results. NAB shares are down 0.8 per cent, while ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is down 1.2 per cent (worst performer).
Significant losses from the major miners including BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO), Fortescue Metals (FMG) and Newcrest (NCM) are keeping the resource sector weak. Lynas Corp (LYC) is down 10 per cent after the rare earth minerals producer announced its intention to raise $40m to provide a much needed cash injection.
Retail spending rose by a less than expected 0.1 per cent in March; not helping stocks within the sector. Myer (MYR), David Jones (DJS) and Harvey Norman (HVN) are all in the red. Kathmandu (KMD) is an exception, with the adventure retailer recording a 4 per cent rise in quarterly sales, helped by cold weather.
The Australian dollar remains firmer at US93.4c and has been partly driven by disappointing US economic data overnight. Looking ahead, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will be delivering a talk tonight. Tomorrow will be the busiest day of the week for economic news and company reports locally.
At lunch, 682 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.49 billion. 272 stocks are higher, 438 are in the red and 304 are unchanged.
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