Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (R) speaks to traders during tour on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
MID-SESSION REPORT (12.50pm AEST)
It's been a bit of a choppy start to the new financial year for Australian stocks. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) has been in and out of positive and negative territory, reaching a high of 5400 points and a low of 5371.6 points. At lunchtime in the East the All Ords is down 0.1 per cent to 5378.1 points.
2013/14 was a very good year for investors. Total returns on Australian shares (All Ordinaries Accumulation index) rose by 17.6 per cent in 2013/14 after lifting by 20.7 per cent in 2012/13 - the best back-to back returns in seven years.
Returns on dwellings are up 14.7 per cent while returns on government bonds have lifted by 5.4 per cent. A rare event - bonds, property and shares have all lifted over the past year.
The Aussie dollar held in a US11 cent range over 2013/14, the smallest range in eight years. The cash rate stands at a 54-year low of 2.5 per cent with only one change in the year - the quarter percent rate cut in August 2013.
Today, shares in Computershare (CPU) are in focus, after the share registry company forecast US$40 million in write-downs as it nears the completion of its review of non-core and non-strategic assets. CPU shares are lower by 0.1 per cent to $12.47.
Financial stocks are being sold off, with the sector down 0.6 per cent ahead of this afternoon's interest rate decision. No change is expected to the official cash rate of 2.5 per cent. Rates have been at these levels since August 2013.
The Australian dollar is buying US94.2c ahead of the RBA decision.
So far on the market, 892 million shares have changed hands, worth $2.4 billion. 502 are higher, 336 are lower and 273 are unchanged
In other data today, The RP Data - Rismark Home Value Index of capital city home prices rose by 1.4 per cent in June. Home prices are up 10.1 per cent over the year. Total returns on capital city houses were up 14.7 per cent on a year earlier and units were up 14.3 per cent.
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