MID-SESSION REPORT (12.10pm AEST)
The Australian sharemarket is flat after a 1.1 per cent surge yesterday. Global markets overnight ended mixed while a firmer ore price is helping the miners. Despite an uninspiring finish to the week, local stocks have still improved by 0.8 per cent over the past five days.
Australia's third largest iron ore miner Fortescue Metals (FMG) is up 2.3 per cent, while the larger BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both up modestly. The iron ore price rose by 1.7 per cent overnight and is 3.3 per cent firmer this week. Despite a 29 per cent slump in the ore price this calendar year, this is the first week since mid-April that the price of ore is improving.
Power interruptions at Sydney Airport's T2 Domestic Terminal are leaving thousands of frustrated travellers waiting for their flights. The outage is believed to have started at 8.30am (AEST); however Sydney Airport (SYD) shares are only 0.1 per cent weaker. Qantas (QAN) is 0.3 per cent higher and Virgin Australian (VAH) is flat despite both their respective domestic airlines being impacted.
Gambling and entertainment business Tatts Group (TTS) is up 3.2 per cent following a favourable ruling from the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday. TTS shares rose by 4.3 per cent yesterday as it could be on the receiving end of a $450 million compensation payout by the Victorian government.
Weakness from the major banks is holding back the rest of the market at lunch.
At lunch, 1.1 billion shares have been traded worth $4.11 billion. 451 stocks are higher, 410 are in the red and 407 are unchanged.
No major economic news is scheduled for release in Australia or the region today. A European Union Economic Summit will be held tonight while the results of a survey on consumer confidence will be a highlight in the U.S.
The Australian dollar has strengthened and currently buys US94.2c; close to breaking through a seven-month high against the greenback.
Next week in Australia data on retail spending, building approvals, the monthly Reserve Bank Board Meeting and data on the property market will be in focus.
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