ASX expected to follow flat Wall St lead
ASX expected to follow flat Wall St lead

The Australian stockmarket opened stronger today, with a strong earnings report from the Commonwealth Bank giving the market a boost in the early session of trading.

At 8.18amay, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 16 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 4308.2 while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 15.1 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 4332.5.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was 12 points higher at 4268 with 7501 contracts traded.

Better-than-expected reading on retail sales gave an early trading boost to Wall Street, but the gains were shortlived with the market closing flat.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed flat at 13,172.14, after having surged around 53 points in early trade.

The broader S&P 500-stock index slipped a bare 0.19 points (0.01 per cent) to 1,403.92.

Increased sentiment in the market gave the European markets a much needed boost during the euro-trading session.

IG Markets analyst Cameron Peacock said that the stronger than expected opening to the local market was a welcome surprise, and that a variety of sectors were trading strongly.

“It’s a little bit stronger than what we expected,” Mr Peacock said.

“The financial sector is doing very well at the moment on the back of the results released from the Commonwealth Bank, and the health care sector also rose.”

“The only lag at the moment is the materials sector, and we saw slight losses from Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to begin the day.”

In local economic news today the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the labour price index for the June quarter.

In local equities the Commonwealth Bank posted a $7.09 billion full year profit, a gain of 11 per cent from 2011. Shares rose 97 cents or 1.75 per cent to $56.51 shortly after the market opened.

Westfield Group reported half yearly double digit growth, netting $800.1 million in the six months to June 30, a gain of 31.4 per cent. It’s shares rose 1.04 per cent to $9.68.

Shares in Oz Minerals fell 27.5 cents or 3.47 per cent, despite the company earlier reporting a net profit of 4.9 per cent.

The West Australian

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