MARKET NEWS

Aust stocks up at noon on rate cut hopes
02/04/2015 12:46 PM

The Australian sharemarket is rallying as investors bet on an interest rate cut next week.

Gains among financial stocks have offset losses in the mining sector after the price of Australia's largest export, iron ore, dropped below $US50 a tonne overnight.

The big banks, telcos and property trusts all performed strongly in morning trade, Options Xpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said.

"We're defying the naysayers today and a lot of that would be pricing in a rate cut on Tuesday," Mr Le Brun said.

"There might be further upside before the Reserve Bank's rate decision on Tuesday."

However, there was also the chance that some profit taking and position-squaring would occur in afternoon trade ahead of the four day Easter break.

The big banks were one of the biggest beneficiaries, with Commonwealth Bank adding 87 cents to $94.20, National Australia Bank was up 29 cents at $38.72, ANZ also gained 28 cents to $36.73 and Westpac was 32 cents stronger at $39.50.

Telstra gained three cents to $6.36.

But the big miners were under pressure as the iron ore price continued to struggle.

BHP Billiton had shed 14 cents to $30.21, Rio Tinto was down 67 cents at $55.74 and iron ore pure play Fortescue Metals lost seven cents to $1.82.

Meanwhile, the price of oil has rebounded, lifted by a report showing a decline in US crude production and a deadly explosion and fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Woodside Petroleum was up 20 cents at $34.08 and Santos was two cents higher at $6.95.

In other news QBE jumped 40 cents to $13.18 as the insurance giant announced it was considering lifting its dividend payout ratio after returning to profitability in a $1 billion turnaround in February.

Shares in mining equipment and rolling stock supplier Bradken have soared 18 per cent to $2.30 on takeover speculation.

KEY FACTS

* At 1210 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 41.1 points, or 0.7 per cent at 5,901.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 40.3 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 5,873.2.

* The June share price index futures contract was 52 points higher at 5,900, with 11,317 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 559.4 million securities worth $1.47 billion.

Aust stocks open higher on rate cut hopes
02/04/2015 10:59 AM

The sharemarket has opened higher on expectations of an interest rate cut after the price of Australia's largest export, iron ore, fell to fresh lows.

The iron ore price dropped below $US50 a tonne overnight, extending a run of losses that began a week ago.

Iron ore for immediate delivery to the port of Tianjin in China fell to $US49 a tonne, from $US51, while iron ore at the port of Qingdao was $US49.53.

"That means things will be a lot tougher on the revenue front for Australia," IG markets strategist Stan Shamu said.

"It means a lot of domestic pressure and will probably force the RBA's hand to cut rates."

With the Reserve Bank's rate decision due next Tuesday, gains are primarily rising in the yield plays, Mr Shamu said.

"These are the banks, the likes of Telstra - all the stocks that pay good dividends are being rewarded by investors," he said.

The big banks were all stronger. Commonwealth Bank added 59 cents to $93.91, National Australia Bank was up 22 cents at $38.65, ANZ also gained 22 cents to $36.67 and Westpac was 17.5 cents stronger at $39.355.

Telstra was two cents higher at $6.35.

As the iron ore price continued to struggle, there was weakness in the materials space, Mr Shamu said.

BHP Billiton had shed 17 cents to $30.17, Rio Tinto was down 52 cents at $55.89 and iron ore pure play Fortescue Metals lost 6.5 cents to $1.83.

But the price of oil has rebounded, lifted by a report showing a decline in US crude production and a deadly explosion and fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, surged $US2.49 to close at $US50.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, snapping a three-day losing streak.

Woodside Petroleum was up three cents at $33.91 and Santos was 4.5 cents higher at $6.975.

Meanwhile, QBE jumped 36 cents to $13.15 as the insurance giant announced it was considering lifting its dividend payout ratio after returning to profitability in a $1 billion turnaround in February.

KEY FACTS

* At 1030 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 28.4 points, or 0.48 per cent at 5,889.2.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.7 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,860.6.

* The June share price index futures contract was 35 points higher at 5,883, with 6,825 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 348 million securities worth $863 million.

Aust shares open higher
02/04/2015 10:11 AM

The Australian share market has opened higher.

At 1010 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 18.9 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 5,879.7, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 18.0 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 5,850.9.

On the ASX 24, the June share price index futures contract was up 23 points at 5,871, with 5,744 contracts traded.