Macquarie Bank leads financial sector rally: Afternoon market insights

The Australian market rose today after mixed leads from Germany (up slightly) and New York (down slightly) overnight. The financial sector in Australia was up including Macquarie Bank, up a solid 3.71% while information technology stocks were down.

The S&P/ASX200 was up by 0.49% or 20.8 points to 4275.10. The All Ordinaries Index was also up 0.45% or 19.4 points to 4366.40.

The day’s winners

Sigma Pharmaceuticals (ASX: SIP) rose 4.88% to $0.64 at 3.10pm after Sigma released results showing a big profit turnaround – from a loss in 2010 to a $49 million profit in 2011.

Beadell Resources (ASX: BDR) lifted 3.94% to $0.66 at 3.25pm. Beadell Resources is a gold development company, with primary assets in Australia and Brazil. A metallurgical test released today showed opportunities to reduce costs at the company’s biggest asset, the Tucano gold project in Brazil, cheering investors. “This has the potential to reduce our site gold cash costs by 20-30%,” says Beadell managing director Peter Bowler.

The days losers

The Reject Shop (ASX: TRS) was down 3.55% to $12.21 at 3.30pm today amid continuing woes for traditional retailers.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the S&P/ASX 200 Financial-X-A-REIT sector index which was up 1.06% or 49.7 points to 4737.9. The biggest sector loser was the S&P/ASX 200 Information Technology sector which fell 1.02% or 5.5 points to 536.10.


The Australian dollar weakened today.  One Australian dollar was buying $US 1.040 this afternoon at 3.40pm.

Asian markets

Japan – NIKKEI 225 was down 0.09% or 9.44 points down to 10077.00. Hong Kong – Hang Seng was also slightly in the red 0.02% or 4.73 points to 20851.90.

Asian equities were flat today as Japan reported an unexpected trade surplus for February.

“A recovery in (Japanese) exports will likely be sustainable,” says Kohei Okazaki, an economist at Nomura Securities Co in Tokyo told Bloomberg. “Japan’s economy will likely return to growth this quarter and maintain a good pace of growth in the following quarters.”


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