Local shares managed to rise modestly after economic news in China failed to surprise. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) edged higher by just 0.2 per cent, while the miners and consumer staples were two of the only losing sectors. Equities improved for the fifth consecutive day, making it the longest winning streak for the Australian market in two months.
In China (our biggest trading partner) economic news was mixed but largely in-line with expectations. The Chinese economy grew by 7.5 per cent over the past 12 months as most economists forecasted. Industrial production fell a touch short of consensus while retail spending rose by a better than expected 13.3 per cent. Both the Australian sharemarket and the dollar strengthened following the news.
The mining sector and consumer staples were amongst the only two losers today. Gold producer, Newcrest Mining (NCM) slipped by 3.8 per cent, pulling back following last week's 12.6 per cent improvement for the struggling gold producer. BHP Billiton (BHP) eased by 0.18 per cent while the smaller Rio Tinto (RIO) rose by just 0.05 per cent.
This week, quarterly production reports for some of the bigger resource companies will be issued. This includes BHP, RIO, Woodside Petroleum (WPL) and Santos (STO).
On the economic front, the weaker Australian dollar coupled with stronger oil prices is resulting in higher fuel prices at the pump for motorists. The average price of unleaded petrol is now at 150.8c/l; a five month high. Unfortunately for motorists, prices are likely to continue to rise.
Tonight in the US, a monthly retail spending report will be the highlight together with Citigroup's quarterly earnings numbers.
The volume and value of shares traded was light today, partly due to the Marine Day public holiday in Japan which resulted in the closure of Japanese markets. By the close, 1.27 billion shares changed hands, worth just $3.47 billion. 471 stocks were higher. 361 ended in the red while 311 were unchanged.
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