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(Australian Associated Press)
ON THE ASX AT 1615 AEDT:
The Australian share market has edged higher as steep falls among heavyweight miners countered strong gains for several companies reporting stronger financial performances.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 2.8 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 5,943.7 at 1615 AEDT, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 1.7 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,047.3 points.
The SPI200 futures contract was up one point, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,906 points.
ON THE ASX AT 1200 AEDT:
Australian shares were marginally higher at noon after consumer stocks were buoyed by positive earnings results.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index was up 0.1 per cent at midday on Wednesday, recovering from early weakness related to the materials sector.
Mining stocks continued to weigh on the index, with shares in BHP Billiton down 4.9 per cent to $29.755 after the resources giant missed market expectations for its underlying profit.
Rival Fortescue also slipped 3.5 per cent to $5.175 following a slump in half-year profit, while Rio Tinto and gold miners including Newcrest and Evolution were all weaker.
The losses were offset by gains in consumer stocks led by a 24.3 per cent surge in infant formula maker A2 Milk to $10.83, and a four per cent increase in Wesfarmers to $42.38 – despite the Coles’ owner reporting first-half profit had plummeted 86.6 per cent to $212 million on the back of impairments.
The Reject Shop soared 11.4 per cent to $6.57 following a 1.1 per cent lift in first-half profit and after the retailer said it expects its full-year result will be well ahead of last year’s.
Energy stocks were stronger as US crude oil prices rose to a near two-week high on signs of inventory declines at a key storage hub, and healthcare stocks were also higher.
Among other companies reporting results, Coca-Cola Amatil shares were up 2.9 per cent to $8.945 after the beverages maker and bottler posted a hefty lift in profit, while Fairfax Media shares were up 3.4 per cent to 68.25 cents, despite its announcement of the sale or closure of more than a third of its New Zealand print publications.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has slipped below 79 US cents against a resurgent US dollar.
It momentarily jumped to 78.97 US cents following the release of local wage data, but immediately slipped back and was trading at 78.83 US cents at 1200 AEDT – down from 79.18 on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX AT 1200 AEDT:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 3.7 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,944.6 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 5 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,050.6 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 1 point or 0.02 per cent at 5,904 points
* National turnover was 1.2 billion securities traded worth $2.2 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 78.83 US cents, from 79.18 US cents on Tuesday
* 84.79 Japanese yen, from 84.60 yen
* 63.90 euro cents, from 63.94 euro cents
* 56.32 British pence, from 56.66 pence
* 107.37 NZ cents, from 107.59 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,328.28 per fine ounce, from $US1,340.45 per fine ounce on Tuesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.039pct, from 2.0386pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.8466pct, from 2.8483pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.1 (implying a yield of 2.9pct), from 97.105 (2.895pct) on Tuesday
* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.815 (2.185pct), from 97.82 (2.18pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)