The Australian share market is rebounding in early trade on Friday, following gains on offshore markets and after local stocks hit 2013 lows during yesterday's trade.
Tim Wimborne / Reuters
People look at market display indicators through the window of the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney
At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 1.3 per cent.
Overnight, US markets rallied, rebounding from three straight sessions of losses thanks to stronger than expected retail sales data and positive numbers on jobless claims.
Support is generally widespread, with only the healthcare sector in the red as CSL (CSL) shares are sold down on the firmer Australian dollar. The Aussie dollar is back above US96c, after a few turbulent sessions which included the dollar falling below US95c earlier in the week.
In company news, private health insurer nib (NHF) has lowered its full year financial forecasts, partly because of higher than expected claims. The health insurer says its pre-tax underwriting profit will be at the lowest end of its previously issued range of $75-$78 million. Higher than expected dental claims were mainly to blame with nib saying the recent rise in private health insurance claims had not been enough to boost its bottom line. NHF shares are up 0.5 per cent at lunchtime in the east to $2.21.
Media analysts say news that News Corp (NWS) Chairman Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years Wendi Deng will have little impact on the media empire. The couple signed a pre-nuptial agreement and Mr Murdoch's children from the marriage do not have voting rights in News Corp. The company is set to split into two separate entities later this month, with Mr Murdoch to become Chairman of both 21st Century Fox and the publishing arm. NWS shares are firmer in early trade up 1 per cent $32.44
In economic news today, the average credit card balance fell by 3.2 per cent in the year to April, the biggest drop in 19 years of records. Average use of credit and debit cards is at record highs.
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