Local stocks are rising in early trade, with investors seemingly more willing to take on risk ahead of tonight's European Central Bank meeting in Brussels. A fall in the unemployment rate to 5.1pct is also helping sentiment. At 12.15pm AEST, the All Ords is up 37.9pts or 0.9pct to 4335.6.
The struggle to breach 4300 level will still be there today and the challenge to surpass the 4309 level recorded on Monday. The markets will be looking forward to hints for future monetary policy direction to be undertaken by the Reserve Bank of Australia with the release of the February minutes of meeting.
Australia's unemployment rate fell to 5.1pct in August, with 8,800 jobs lost in the economy. The number of people in full-time work increased by 600 to 8.1 million, while the number of people in part-time work fell by 9,300 to 3.4 million. The workforce participation rate - or the proportion of working age Australians at work or actively seeking work - fell to 65pct from 65.2pct.
In company news today, Australia's largest airline Qantas (QAN) has announced an alliance with Middle Eastern carrier Emirates following months of negotiations. If approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the alliance will resume in April 2013 and see Qantas dump Singapore for Dubai as its European hub. The alliance is not a merger, nor will there be shareholdings involved. QAN has ended its alliance with British Airways but will remain in the OneWorld Alliance group. Emirates President Tim Clarke said of the deal, "This is a momentous day in international aviation." QAN shares have spiked to an intra-day high of $1.205 on the news, while rival Virgin Australia (VAH) is trading down 2.2pct to $0.44.
The iron ore price fell again overnight, to US$86.70 a metric tonne. Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) shares have again fallen to fresh three year lows, down 6.7pct to $2.91.
Lynas Corporation Limited (LYC) shares have surged by almost 40pct to $0.83 after the rare earths miner was granted a temporary licence for its controversial US$800 million refinery in Malaysia.
Embattled surf-wear retailer Billabong (BBG) has risen almost 8pct to $1.365 on news of another takeover bid from a mystery bidder. BBG has so far rejected two takeover offers this year from private equity firm TPG Capital, saying the offers undervalue the company. The new deal is believed to match TPG´s latest offer of $695 million, with sources familiar with the offer saying the mystery bidder is private equity firm Bain Capital.
The Aussie dollar has spiked back above US102c on the fall in unemployment and at 12.15pm AEST is worth US102.24c, £0.6428 and €81.04c.
On the market overall, a total of 876 shares have been traded, with a value of $2 billion.
[Kick off your trading day with our newsletter]
More from IBT Markets:
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox daily