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Local stocks fall: Afternoon market insights

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The Australian market fell slightly after mixed leads from the northern hemisphere overnight. The S&P/ASX200 fell in the morning before finishing slightly down.

Most Australian industry sectors fell except the telecommunications and financial sectors, which recorded modest rises.

The S&P/ASX200 was down 0.29% to 4353.80. The All Ordinaries Index was also down 0.29% to 4431.30.

The day’s winners

Oil explorer Senex Energy (ASX: SXY) was up 4.52% to $1.155 at 2.30pm. Senex Energy holds acreage in Australia’s largest onshore energy precinct: South Australia’s Cooper Basin. On April 13 it announced new project close to the prolific Growler oil field.

Gold miner Alacer Gold (ASX: AQG) was up 4.01% to $8.30 at 2.30pm. The company has mines and exploration properties in Turkey and Australia. The 80%-owned Çöpler gold mine in eastern Turkey produced 185,000 ounces during 2011. On Friday Alacer announced it had sold 107,835 ounces of gold in the first quarter, and increased its 2012 production guidance for the Çöpler mine to between 195,000 and 200,000 ounces. Alacer is also listed on the Toronto stock exchange.

The day’s losers

Imdex (ASX: IMD) was down 4.21% to $2.96 at 3pm. Imdex provides drilling fluids and instrumentation to the mining and civil engineering industries worldwide. The company has a presence in significant mining and exploration regions in the world. On Friday Imdex announced to the ASX it was issuing 1.3 million more shares.

Resolute Mining (ASX: RSG) was down 3.78 % to $1.655 at 3pm. Resolute is an unhedged gold miner exposed to the gold price. It is also engaged in prospecting and the exploration for minerals. Resolute announced to the ASX today it was conducting a buyback program of up to 43 million shares.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the S&P/ASX 200 Telecommunications Services (Sector) which was up 0.87% to 1172.20.

The weakest sector was the All Ordinaries Gold (Sub-Industry) index which was down 1.42% to 5796.5 at 3pm.

Currency

The Australian dollar fell, with one Australian dollar buying $US1.0344.

Asia

Asian markets fell on the back of disappointing earnings results in Tokyo and Seoul. The world’s biggest mobile carrier, China Mobile, fell 1.8% in Hong Kong. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.2% to 124.01, while South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 0.1%.

“Investors are taking a wait-and-see attitude as some earnings disappoint,” Ng Soo Nam, a Singapore-based chief investment officer at Nikko Asset Management Asia, told Bloomberg. “Even if more earnings were to come in at below expectations, we are still staring at very cheap equity valuations. There’s still scope for the market to move up.”

Japan’s NIKKEI 225 was down 0.04% to 9557.53 at 3.20pm AEST. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.60% to 20884.30.

Singapore’s inflation rate is growing. The consumer price index rose 5.2% from a year earlier, the Singapore Department of Statistics said in a statement today. The rate was 4.6% in February.

“We are seeing continued underlying inflation risks for Singapore in the near term,” Vincent Conti, a Singapore-based analyst at ANZ, told Bloomberg.

“Moreover, core inflation pressures are likely to remain relatively high as well due to a tight labour market and in spite of the slight month-on-month dip in global crude prices.”

China’s central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said inflation had moderated in China, spurring speculation policymakers could loosen the cash supply.

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