MID-SESSION REPORT (12.45pm AEST)
The Australian share market is trading higher in the early session, as investors returned from the long weekend in a buying mood. Positive economic data out of the US overnight and solid Chinese trade data figures released on the weekend have given support to sentiment.
The oil price is trading at a three month high following the positive economic data, sending out energy space up by 0.3 per cent. Mining stocks are also well supported following a couple of weeks of volatile trade, although the iron ore price remains below US$95 a dry tonne.
Financial stocks are also receiving support with the big four banks lifting the financial sector by 0.7 per cent. CBA shares (CBA) briefly hit an all-time high of $82.53 in early trade.
Retail stocks however are under pressure, following two separate profit downgrades in the consumer discretionary space today. The Reject Shop (TRS) now expects annual net profit to come in between $14.5-15.5 million, down from previous estimates of $17-18 million. Pacific Brands Group (PBG), which owns brands such as Bonds and Berlei, expects operating profits for the year to June, excluding significant items, to come in between $90-93 million, down from previous guidance of $105 million. Both companies have blamed warmer weather and a downturn in consumer confidence for the revisions. TRS shares are down 11.2 per cent to $8.13 while PBG is lower by 6.3 per cent to 52.5 cents.
Meanwhile, businesses don't appear to be as fazed by the Federal Budget as consumers. Business confidence remained unchanged in May at a reading of plus 7 points, while confidence dipped slightly to a reading of minus one.
ANZ job ads fell 5.6 per cent in May, while ABS data showed home loans were flat in the month of April.
The Australian dollar has ticked up following the deluge of data and is buying US93.54c at lunchtime in the East.
904 million shares have changed hands, with a value of $1.6 billion. 460 are up, 477 are down and 367 are unchanged.
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