Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stock Market Report - Midday

suncorp insurance

US sharemarkets drifted on Tuesday in the absence of major corporate and economic news. The finance firm Ambac said it may have trouble paying off debt due 2011 and might need to file a pre-packaged bankruptcy, Ambac shares off 33pct and off 4pct in after-hours trade. At the close the US Dow Jones was up by 20 points or 0.2pct with the S&P 500 down less than 0.1pct and the NASDAQ eased 3 points or 0.1pct.

The Australian market has opened stronger up 25points higher after ending up 1pct higher yesterday. By noon, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index up 0.5pct or 27pts, to 4,760, while the broader All Ordinaries index up by 0.5pct or 25points, to 4,769.

After two strong days of gains the banks and insurers in the finance sector losing the spot light today, although property stocks are out pacing the broader market gains today. The finance sector up 1.25pct , with the property sub-sector up 0.7pct, the best performing stock is the property developer Mirvac Group (MGR) up 5.1pct to $1.54. Westfield Group (WDC) up 2.6pct.

In the insurers, takeover target AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Limited (AXA) up $0.01 to $5.78. AMP Limited (AMP) up 1pct to $6.45. Suncorp-Metway Ltd (SUN) is a Queensland-based financial services conglomerate offering general insurance, giving back some of yesterday's gains off 0.7pct to $9.10.

Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) up 0.23pct to $26.51. National Australia Bank (NAB) up 0.76pct to $30.36, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) off 0.65pct to $55.19.

Base metal prices were mixed on the London Metal Exchange on Tuesday with some investors disappointed by European production data. Nickel lost 3.5pct with lead down 0.5pct but aluminium and zinc were slightly higher. Rio Tinto (RIO) up 1.4pct to $68.43. BHP Billiton (BHP) up 1.2pct to $38.96. Orica Limited. (ORI) 0.6pct or $0.15 to $24.28, still higher even after going ex-dividend today for $0.57 a share.

The consumer staples sector up 0.7pct. Wesfarmers Limited (WES) up 2.2pct to $28.04, and its rival in the supermarket space, Woolworths (WOW) off 0.67pct to $28.24.

Information technology sector higher in morning trade up 1.2pct, boosted by positive comments from Computershare Limited's (CPU) chief executive officer Stuart Crosby. Mr Crosby told investor at the companies Annual General Meeting (AGM) that, so far this fiscal year profits are tracking ´´slightly ahead´´ of those earned the same period last year. Crosby also said he is ´´increasingly confident´´ the share registry firm will report growth in the year ending June 30 when compared with last year. Computershare up 1.3pct to $10.92.

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGT) released its second quarter/ half yearly results today. Singtel is the owner of the Australian telecommunication firm Optus, it said it made 8.9 pct gain of $1.47 billion, in its first half net profit led by strong revenue growth form Optus. Second quarter net profit was up 10.1pct on the same time last year to $740 million ($S956 million), the net profit from Optus, in the first half was $291 million, up 18 pct. But the overall result falling but the firm fell short of market expectations. Singtel up 1.3pct to $2.29. Telstra Corporation Limited (TLS) off 0.3pct or $0.01 to $3.25.

Energy stocks higher up 0.3pct. Crude oil prices eased on Tuesday night in the US as production in the Gulf of Mexico was gradually restored with the passing of Tropical Storm Ida. The Nymex oil contract fell by US38c to US$79.05 a barrel, commodity prices generally fell as the US dollar gained a little ground overnight. Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) up 0.9pct to $49.74 and Caltex Australia Limited (CTX) Australia's only listed oil refiner off 2.1pct.

The price of gold also rose slightly on speculation about increased interest from central banks. The Comex quote was up US$1.10 an ounce to US$1102.50.

But still off the new record price of US$1,111.70 an ounce hit yesterday.

The big guns in the gold space Newcrest Mining Limited (NCM) flat at $35.15 and Lihir Gold (LGL) up 1.5pct to $3.43.

On the economic front,

Australian Bureau of Statistics, lending finance data for September was released today and they showed that total lending was up 6.1pct in September at a 6 month high. The lift in lending coming from housing and commercial loans in the month. The total of money financed in the month now at 18month high. Personal lending fell over the month, but it is still up 9.8pct compared to a year ago. Housing finance higher and commercial lending up 8pct for the second month in a row.

Westpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment for November, showed Consumer confidence fell for the first time in six months in response to higher interest rates. The index of consumer sentiment fell by 2.5 per cent or 3.1 points to 118.3 in November but still remains 38.3 per cent higher than a year ago. All five components of the survey fell in the latest month. The CommSec Gloom Gauge has fallen sharply over the past quarter. In the June quarter there were, a record, 4,912 mentions of the word 'recession' in Australian newspapers. The number of references to 'recession' fell to 2,679 in the September quarter and the word 'recession' has only been used 919 times so far in the December quarter.

And within the hour the Chinese, monthly economic data will be released, including industrial production and trade data. The Chinese trade data due for release today should include preliminary estimates of China's copper imports in October. China's copper imports unexpectedly rose in September. A fall in copper imports is expected in October from the September level.

And 1 Australian dollar will buy you 93.11 US cents and 62.06 euro cents.

In the US, no major economic data is due for release, but we will see the release of Macy´s Applied Materials and Computer Sciences quarterly results.