International Business Times
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By Juliana Roadley, CommSec Market Analyst | July 31, 2012 7:51 PM PDT

Lunchtime REPORT
(11.45am AEST)

We saw a big turnaround in market sentiment overnight. The excitement of more central banks stimulus was washed away by end of month trading and concern over weak employment and sales numbers out of Europe. European markets are still awaiting the outcome of The European Central Bank (EBC) meeting on Thursday. Overnight the news that the, 17 nation, Eurozone saw its unemployment rate climb to a new Euro-era high of 11.2% hit the markets hard.

US markets were lower throughout the day and in the last 20 minutes of trade we saw the DOW Jones losing over 30 points to finish down 64 points lower and the NASDAQ slipped into the red. The big switch out of stocks and into currencies saw the Australian dollar fall back below 105 US cents at 6am AEST.

The local share market opened weaker this morning, as tentative trading ahead of key central bank meetings and Chinese economic data led to losses in mining and key banking stocks. At the open of trade the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) was off 6 points, just off yesterday's 11 week high. The all-important Chinese Purchasing manufacturers index (PMI) the monthly manufacturing data for July was released at 11am AEST. The PMI showed that Chinese manufacturing did showed signs of stabilising over the month of July down from 50.2 in June to 50.1 in July, below market expectation of 50.5. This report covers the manufacturing of for state owned and large companies within China and any read above 50 equals growth in the sector. The result came in a little below market expectations our larger mining stocks have given back a bit of early ground.

By lunchtime, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) was only down 6 points to 4,283 points.

The S&P/ASX 200 Financials sector was lower this morning, but only by 0.12%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) gave back 0.37% to $57.32 and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) off 0.34% to $23.46 while Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) added $0.03 to $23.23.

The S&P/ASX 200 Materials sector fell into the red off 0.8%, after BHP Billiton Limited (BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (RIO) fell in morning trade. The BHP share price was off 0.8% and RIO off 0.43% to $52.97. Iron ore producer, Fortescue Metals (FMG) lost nearly 1% to $4.09 even with the news that Global iron ore prices added ground overnight back above US$117.00 a dry tonne. Atlas Iron Limited (AGO) gave back most of yesterday's gains, off 2% , and Mount Gibson Iron Limited (MGX) also lost ground off 2.6%.

Our largest listed gold producer, Newcrest Mining Limited (NCM) gave back nearly 1% after its stellar run so far this week, now at $23.29. The US dollar gold price lost ground overnight, now at US$1,615 an ounce.

S&P/ASX 200 Energy sector was the best performing sector yesterday morning, but today the index has fallen up 0.32%, as the US$ oil price lost more ground overnight back below US$88/bl. The US dollar oil price is now holding at US$87.65 a barrel. Oil Search Limited (OSH) lost 0.3% to $6.96 and Santos Limited (STO) flat at $10.75. Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) gave back 0.33% in early trade to $33.64 and Origin Energy Limited (ORG) slightly higher, up 0.34% to $11.85.5.

Elsewhere, News Corporation (NWS) and Consolidated Media Holdings Limited (CMJ) in focus as the market awaits the outcome of tomorrows Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) decision on the $2billion News Corp takeover bid. This morning the media is speculation that the ACCC will not object to the current plan for it wouldn't "substantially" alter the working of the Australian pay-TV industry. News Corp share price was off 1.26% to $22.03 while CMJ added 0.88% to $3.42. Fairfax Media Limited (FXJ) shares have added 1.9% to $0.53.

Fashion retailer, Country Road Limited (CTY) has agreed to buy fellow retailer Witchery Australia Holdings for $172 million. The majority of the purchase funded by a new rights offer that the company has issued today. CTY share price unchanged, at $3.28, CTY is a very illiquid stock and has not traded in the last month as global retailer Woolworths International owns around 90% of the stocks. Not to be confused with the Australian based Woolworths Limited (WOW).

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGT) today announced that it will offer limited 4G services in Australia by the end of 2012, the share price under pressure today off 2.1% or $0.06 but the stocks did go ex-dividend today for just under $0.07 a share. so that would cover the fall in the stock price. Telstra Corporation Limited (TLS) higher up 0.75% to $4.02.

The RP Data-Rismark Home Value index was released this morning. The home price index posted a second successive rise in capital city dwelling values over the month of July, up 0.6%.

The Australian dollar is worth US104.77c, €0.8528 and £0.6689.

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