market wrap at noon

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    Shares hit highs with MacBank, miners
    From: AAP
    September 27, 2005

    The share market had raced to fresh records by noon, led by rises in Macquarie Bank, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

    At 1201 AEST, the S&P/ASX200 index was 19.8 points stronger at 4638.7 after hitting an intraday high of 4639, above its previous intraday high of 4618.9 achieved yesterday.

    The All Ordinaries Index was 18.8 points firmer at 4584.1 having hit an intraday high of 4564.7, above the previous record of 4565.3, also set yesterday. The December share price index rose 13 points to 4661.

    EL&C Baillieu Stockbroking director Richard Morrow said the market was strong on the back of Macquarie Bank and the big mining companies.

    "The market is very strong, certainly helped by a lot of relief that bits of American weren't blown away or damaged badly by Hurricane Rita," he said.

    "Strong growth numbers out of China are exciting the mining market at the moment and the powerhouse of the market is Macquarie Bank and it's up almost four per cent."

    In the US overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24.04 points to 10,443.63, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.34 points to 1215.63 and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 4.62 points at 2121.46.
    On the local market, shares in Macquarie Bank have continued to rally after yesterday's profit upgrade yesterday. At 1206 Macquarie Bank had risen $3.21 to a record $77.25.

    Mining giant BHP Billiton was up 34 cents to $22.20 and Rio Tinto rose $1.29 to $58.84, both of those prices also in record territory.

    With fresh fears for US refinery capacity, oil prices rallied strongly. Woodside Petroleum rose 59 cents to $34.95 while Santos gained 10 cents to $11.67.

    Banks were also up at 1217 AEST, with Commonwealth Bank rising 15 cents to $38.60, Westpac up 20 cents to $21.11, ANZ gaining 26 cents to $24.00 and National Australia Bank rising 26 cents to $33.21

    Among the other financials, AMP moved six cents higher to $.742, QBE Insurance rallied 16 cents to $18.08 and Axa was up four cents to $4.82.

    Media stocks were weaker, with News Corporation down 31 cents at $21.28 with its non-voting shares down 33 cents at $20.20 while Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd shed nine cents to $16.29

    Retail stocks were mixed, with Woolworths down five cents at $16.36, David Jones shed one cent to $2.55, Coles Myer was up four cents at $10.35 and Harvey Norman steady at $2.83.

    Among the other blue chip stocks, Telstra was down three cents at $4.08, Optus-owner Singapore Telecommunications rose 0.5 of a cent to $1.92 and Qantas fell away three cents at $3.41.

    The gold sector was stronger, with Newcrest Mining up 44 cents to $20.54, Newmont Mining rising 16 cents to $6.09 and Lihir up 3.5 cents to $1.84. At 1234 AEST the spot price of gold was $US464.75 an ounce, $US4.625 higher than yesterday's close.

    The top-traded stock by volume was Multiemedia Ltd with 105 million shares changing hands for a total value of $2.27 million. The stock gained 0.1 of a cent to two cents.

    Market turnover had reached 723.9 million shares traded for a total of $2.066 billion, with 431 stocks rising, 435 falling and 335 unchanged.

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