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Local sectors on the improve: Afternoon market insights

The Australian share market rose today after positive leads from the US overnight and news of increased Australian job figures in March.

The S&P/ASX200 surged at the morning bell, before levelling out for a more modest gain for the day. It was up 0.93% to 4320.60. The All Ordinaries Index was also up 0.91% to 4401.20.

All sectors improved except telecommunication services and utilities.

“The Australian share market has ended the week in opposite fashion to the way it started: with the global U-turn on sentiment doing wonders for our blue-chip mining stocks which have carried the ASX200,” says Jane Keeley of CMC Markets Asia Pacific.

The day’s winners

Canada-based Eldorado Gold Corporation  (ASX: EAU) was up 9.44% to $13.79 at 2.40pm after the miner announced plans to more than double its gold production in the next five years.

Lynas Corporation (ASX: LYC) rose 6.80% to $1.10 at 2.40pm. Lynas yesterday announced to the ASX it had won a case in the High Court of Malaysia over its new ‘rare earths’ processing plant in Malaysia. Lynas has the richest known deposit of ‘rare earths’ in the world at Mount Weld in Western Australia.

The day’s losers

Downer EDI (ASX: DOW) had fallen 1.97% to $3.735 by 2.55pm.  Downer provides engineering and infrastructure management services to the transport, energy, infrastructure, communications and resources sectors. It operates across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

Ardent Leisure (ASX: AAD) was down 1.94% to $1.265 at 3pm. Ardent Leisure owns and operates assets including the Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint theme parks and attractions.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the S&P/ASX 300 Metal and Mining (Sector) index which was up 1.85% to 3858.10 at 3pm.

The weakest sector was telecommunication services, which was down 0.57% to 1151.80 at 3pm.

Currency

The Australian dollar was down slightly today. One Australian dollar was buying $US1.0393 at 3pm.

Asian markets

Asian financial markets were up today after renewed worries over European debt problems receded into the background. Asian stocks rose to a one-week high and South Korea’s won gained on news a North Korean long-ranch rocket launch, which had raised regional security tensions, had failed.

“Investors are just shrugging off this launch,” Im Jeong Jae, a Seoul-based fund manager at Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management, which oversees about $28 billion, told Bloomberg. “The news came out before the market opened that the rocket launch failed, so investors didn’t have to worry about it.”

“It’s better to have it fail than succeed,” Masahiko Ejiri, a Tokyo-based senior fund manager in Tokyo at Mizuho Asset Management, told Bloomberg. “Even if they do build a nuclear weapon, it doesn’t matter if they can’t make it fly.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) climbed slightly, while Japan’s NIKKEI 225 was up 1.22% to 9641.35 at 3.30pm AEST. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.61% or 326.85 points to 20654.20.

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