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Equities stand firm: Afternoon market insights

The Australian market was down slightly today despite a strong lead from Wall Street overnight.  The gold, financial, utilities and energy sectors held their head above water, rising today, but the overall market was down by the consumer discretionary, information technology and telecommunications sectors.

The S&P/ASX200 was flat, up by only 0.05% or 2.2 points to 4271.50.

The All Ordinaries Index was also slightly up 0.05% or 4.6 points to 4360.30.

The day’s winners

Qantas Airlines (ASX:QAN) ) was up 2.43 % to $1.772 at 3.15pm after announcing a joint venture deal to create a new budget airline—Jetstar Hong Kong-- focussed on the huge, and growing mainland Chinese tourism market.

Sundance Resources (ASX: SDL) was up 4.94 % to $0.425 at 3.15pm. Sundance Resources, headquartered in Perth, is an international iron ore exploration and development company which is building a global iron ore business in Central West Africa.

OceanaGold (ASX: OGC) was trading up 4.32 % to $14.50 at 3.25pm. OceanaGold is a gold mining company with a focus on the Asia Pacific.

The day’s losers

Myers Holdings (ASX: MYR) was down 5.70% to $2.15 at 3.30pm today, in line with other bricks-and-mortar retailers whose prices are also falling.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the All Ordinaries Gold (Sub-industry) index which was up 0.64% or 38.2 points to 6017.5 on the back of a higher world gold price over the weekend.

The biggest sector loser was the S&P/ASX 300 Consumer discretionary (Sector), which fell 0.76% or 9.8 points to 1273.40.

Currency

The Australian dollar held steady today.  One Australian dollar was buying $US 1.0457 this afternoon at 3.30pm.

Asian markets

Japan – NIKKEI 225 was up 0.32% or 32.14 points to 10043.60.

Hong Kong – Hang Seng was flat, up only 0.02% or 4.64 points to 20673.40.

Asian equities were up slightly today at 3.40pm AEST as the bid to merge the eight different Japanese stock exchanges moves forward.

The world’s second biggest equities market after the United States, Japan may see the one stock exchange merger to go ahead after several failures in Australia, the US and Europe due to political hurdles.

“There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to get this merger done,” Jonathan Foster, Singapore-based director of Global Special Situations at Religare Capital Markets told Bloomberg. “The whole of the government wants to encourage the merger.”

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