Investors initially kicked off the session a little hesitant ahead of major updates on both the US and Chinese economies over the next few days. Caution has been set to one side however; with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) cracking through 5600 points for the first time since June 2008.
Global markets were mixed overnight, with US investors quiet in anticipation of a quarterly economic growth read and a Federal Reserve meeting tonight.
All sectors are currently higher, with 0.7 per cent gains for the financial and mining sectors helping most. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is up 1 per cent and hit an all-time high of $83.29 today. National Australia Bank (NAB) is improving for the 6th straight day and on Monday announced plans to offload a portion of its underperforming UK commercial loan business.
Insurance company QBE is up 3.8 per cent; however slumped by 11.1 per cent yesterday after warning the market of a weak profit result on 19 August.
The retailers are mixed, with Myer (MYR) and Harvey Norman (HVN) in the red while JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is up by 1.6 per cent and the outperforming Flight Centre (FLT) up 1 per cent. Clothing retailer Noni-B (NBL) is down 4 per cent after warning investors of a $2.2 billion loss for FY14.
Australia's biggest supermarket chain Woolworths (WOW) is up 1.5 per cent as the market anticipates the release of its most recent sales results.
The mining sector is improving following a firmer iron ore price overnight. The country's biggest iron ore producer Rio Tinto (RI) is up 1.1 per cent, BHP Billiton (BHP) is up 0.25 per cent and Fortescue Metals (FMG) is up 2.7 per cent. FMG has improved by 8.8 per cent so far this week; its best weekly move since mid-January.
At lunch, 915 million shares have been traded worth $1.99 billion. 517 stocks are higher, 305 are in the red and 324 are unchanged.
The Australian dollar buys US93.8c. Our currency lost some ground yesterday following comments relating to Australia's reliance on China by ratings agency Standard & Poor's. Only modest moves are expected in the dollar locally today with a lack of economic events in Australia or the region.
Despite a public holiday in Indonesia, all other markets are trading normally.
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