ABS job figures show unemployment fell to 4.9% in Australia: Afternoon market insights

The Australian market was up today despite more financial market losses overnight in the US and Europe as Greek political leaders work to build a government. Monthly ABS job figures show unemployment fell to 4.9% in Australia, but the increase was in part-time jobs. There was a net decrease in full-time jobs of 10,500 for the month.

“The European crisis is going to be with us for some time,” Cameron Peacock, a Melbourne-based analyst at IG Markets, a provider of trading services for stocks, bonds and currencies told Bloomberg. “There’s the chance of further elections in Greece and the whole stability of Europe has been put into doubt.”

Australian health care, utilities, energy, gold, materials, metals and mining, resources, industrials and consumer discretionary sectors all rose over 0.5%.

Telecommunication services, financials and information technology sectors all fell.

The S&P/ASX200 was up 0.38% to 4291.40. The All Ordinaries Index was also up 0.39% to 4349.10.

The day’s winners

Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS) rose 9.41% to $0.465 by 3.40pm. The gold explorer released an exploration update.

Perseus Mining (ASX: PRU) was up 8.18% to $2.37 at 2.30pm. Perseus Mining is a gold explorer focused on under-explored gold belts in West Africa. It became a producer during 2011 and started commercial production this year.

The day’s losers

Mirabela Nickel (ASX: MBN) has fallen 11.67% to $0. 265. Mirabela Nickel is a nickel producer operating one of the world’s largest open pit nickel sulphide mines in Brazil. It is listed on the ASX and the Toronto Stock Exchange (MNB).

Aquarius Platinum (ASX: AQP) fell 5.27% to $1.70 by 3.30pm. Aquarius Platinum is the world’s fourth largest platinum producer.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the All Ordinaries Gold (Sub-Industry) index which was up 4.08% to 5291.50.

The weakest sector was the S&P 200 A-REIT (Sector) which was down 0.76% to 870.6 at 3.40pm.

Currency

One Australian dollar was buying $US1.0106 at 3.45pm AEST.

Asia

Asian financial markets were down as the political uncertainty continued and Chinese shares fell to a four month low after exports slowed and China’s currency, the yuan fell in value. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) was flat in Japan. The BSE India Sensitive Index (SENSEX) climbed 0.8%.

“China won’t strengthen the yuan much until the storms in Europe calm,” Daniel Chan, Hong Kong-based chief economist at BWC Capital Markets told Bloomberg. “The Chinese export outlook remains weak as orders from Europe have not yet recovered.”

“Across Asia, markets are mostly weaker on the back of China economic numbers which were interpreted as a sign of weak domestic demand,” Stan Shamu market strategist IG Markets said in a note.

“Sentiment had improved earlier after the EFSF confirmed it will release some funds to Greece today.”

Japan’s NIKKEI 225 was down 0.03% to 9042.05 at 3.40pm AEST.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.89% or 181.68 points to 20149.00.

There is talk in Europe that it may only be a matter of time before Greece leaves the euro.

“Politically speaking, Greece is already out of the euro zone,” Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London, said in an email. “The only question is about the timing and disorderliness of its exit.”

China’s sovereign wealth fund has stopped buying European government debt amid the continent’s economic crisis, China Investment President Gao Xiqing said, according to Bloomberg.

“China’s trade balance figure came out higher than expected however the devil was in the detail. Economists had expected that Chinese imports were to rise 11% in April, however a rise of only 0.3% was recorded,” Ben Taylor sales trader at CMC Markets in Sydney said in a note. “The Chinese data had a direct effect on the Australian dollar which reversed over half of its initial unemployment result gains.”

The S&P/ASX200 was up 0.40% to 4292.30. The All Ordinaries Index was also up 0.42% to 4350.30.

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