market wrap at noon

  1. 3,412 Posts.
    Given the $15 or $16 billion paid as dividends recently, the market has been strong (as it is newly ex-dividend for many companies).

    Stocks snap three day losing streak
    Nov 24 12:30
    AFR and wires

    Australian stocks snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday as a strong lead from overseas markets helped local stocks renew their push towards a record.

    Miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto led the gains as they recovered along with the price of copper.

    Miller's Retail, which sold its underperforming variety stores for $120 million, and Aristocrat Leisure, which said it would buy back another $100 million shares, were also among the biggest gainers.

    The S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 30.4 points to 4647 as of 1218 AEDT. The index is within 30 points of its record high of 4671.7 struck on September 29. It touched a record intraday high two days ago.

    "The US market keeps going up and if it continues doing that it's going to provide a pretty strong lead for the Aussie market," CMC Markets senior dealer James Foulsham said.

    "It'll be interesting to see what happens this afternoon after the last few days when we saw a strong opening and some pretty heavy selling later.

    Stocks on Wall Street closed higher overnight with a drop in oil prices and data showing healthy consumer sentiment helping to boost retail stocks.

    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44.66 points to 10,916.09 while the S&P 500 Index climbed 4.38 points to 1265.61.

    The US market will be closed tonight for the Thanksgiving Day holiday and will also be shut early on Friday.

    Copper futures for March delivery rose 0.7 per cent to $US1.861 a pound in New York. Prices rallied after declining as much as 1.5 percent earlier.

    Telstra was one of the few major stocks in the red, as it agin sunk under $4.00. The company is facing a loss of about $1 billion after Communications Minister Helen Coonan rejected Telstra's demands to stop the competition regulator cutting the price its rivals pay to access its copper wire network.

    The decision may prompt Telstra to again cut its earnings estimates.

    Miller's Retail was one of the biggest percentage gainers after it finally offloaded its Chickenfeed, Go-Lo, Crazy Clark's and Look Sharp Concepts to a private equity group. Chairman Geoff Levy said the sale will remove all the group's long-term debt.

    Aristocrat, the second-largest maker of poker machines in the world, will buy back about 8.25 million shares. Its shares have risen 27 per cent this year. It successfully completed an identically sized on-market buyback last month.

    Trans-Tasman financial services firm Tower advanced after it said its annual profit rose 79 per cent. The company said it would like to double its operating profit in 2005/06.

    Joyce Corp soared after the company sold its polyurethane and polystyrene manufacturing businesses to Sheela Foam for about $16 million.

    Macquarie Bank slipped after it said it may not bid for the London Stock Exchange.

    McGuigan Simeon Wines fell for a second day after it cut its profit forecast to $6 million to $8 million.

    Junior papermaker Papyrus Australia jumped after its banana paper technology was ruled "novel and inventive" by the Australian Patent Office. The ruling may help it get patent protection globally, the company said.

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