US equities gains boost local prices: Afternoon market insights

The Australian market lifted today after solid equity market gains in the United States and Europe at the weekend. The confidence in the northern hemisphere led to higher commodity prices and a higher Australian dollar.

The S&P/ASX200 was up by 0.41% or 17.4 points to 4293.60. The All Ordinaries Index was also rose 0.44% or 19.10 points to 4383.80.

The day’s winners

Aquarius Platinum (ASX: AQP) rose 7.02 % to $2.44 at 3.25pm. Aquarius started as a gold miner in 1920 near Kalgoorlie, WA, but is now a platinum producer with headquarters Bermuda and operating platinum mines in southern Africa. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange as well as the ASX. Its revenue was reported last month to have fallen 25% in the second half of 2011, but Boston-based investment giant Fidelity Investments (with $US1.5 trillion assets under management) has been buying shares hand over fist in the last week.
Energy World Corporation (ASX: EWC) was up 6.0% to $0.795.

The day’s losers

Envestra (ASX: ENV) was down 4.38% to $0.765. Envestra is an Adelaide-based company that owns the pipes that bring natural gas homes in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Every time gas flows through the pipes, Envestra gets paid. Its capital investment was financed with high levels of debt.

Kingsgate Consolidated (ASX: KCN) was down 3.27% to $6.50 today, continuing a trend of gold miners losing value.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the S&P/ASX 200 Information Technology (Sector) Index, which continued the gains of last week up another 1.41% or 7.5 points to 540.8.

The biggest sector loser was the All Ordinaries Index Gold (Sub Industry) index which fell 1.18% or 74.5 points to 6213.90.

Currency

The Australian dollar rose today.  One Australian dollar was buying $US 1.0609 this afternoon at 3.50pm.

Asian markets

Japan’s NIKKEI 225 was up 0.16% or 16.47 points to 10146.30, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.27% or 57.11 points to 21375.00.

The news in Asia today was China’s overvalued housing hurting local stocks.

“[China’s] property market is still the biggest risk the economy is facing now and there’s lots of uncertainty to the sector,” said Wu Kan, a Shanghai-based fund manager at Dazhong Insurance, which oversees $285 million. “Earnings and the economy have yet to bottom out,” Bloomberg reports.

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