The Australian sharemarket is partly making up for the worst day in a month for local shares yesterday. At the close of business on Thursday, the mining sector was having its worst week since September 2011, with the miners down 9 per cent over just four sessions. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 0.2 per cent or 10.1 pts to 4,921.4.
Tim Wimborne / Reuters
People look at market display indicators through the window of the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney
Risk has not been attractive to investors in recent weeks, which is why the defensives have been remaining strong. Australia's biggest telco and sixth largest company, Telstra (TLS) is down modestly at lunch but still trading close to a five-year high.
BHP Billiton (BHP) is up 2.2 per cent while the smaller Rio Tinto (RIO) has been improving throughout the morning and is now up by close to 3.5 per cent.
Oil and gas producer Santos (STO) announced a fall in revenue and production last quarter however is sticking by its full-year targets and is 2.3 per cent higher. Sales revenue dropped by 5 per cent to $713M over the first three months of the year.
Rare earth minerals explorer, Lynas (LYC) said rare earth prices have fallen in the first quarter. LYC shares are up 2.1 per cent today however are down 15 per cent in 2013. Rare earth elements are a necessary component of smartphones.
The major banks are holding back the gains, with the big four down by as much as 1.1 per cent. Westpac (WBC) is the worst performer, while Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is easing by only 0.1 per cent.
At lunch, 704M shares have exchanged hands, worth $1.93B. 407 stocks are higher, 356 are in the red while 293 are unchanged.
Tonight, the G20 finance ministers will be meeting in Washington to discuss world events. No major solutions for global issues are expected. Japan, our second largest trading partner behind China, is likely to be a major talking point. Japan has taken steps to devalue its currency, helping its exports. The Australian dollar is close to a five-year high against the Yen.
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