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Market up on happy US news: Afternoon market insights

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The Australian market finished up after positive leads from the United States and Europe over the weekend and investors betting the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates tomorrow.

“In Australia, the consumer is really struggling,” Kumar Palghat, managing director and founder of Kapstream Capital in Sydney, told Bloomberg Television. “I really think tomorrow the RBA should cut 50 basis points. That will be a meaningful number to kick-start the economy again.”

The S&P/ASX200 was up 0.78% to 4396. The All Ordinaries Index was also up 0.74% to 4466.30.

The day’s winners

Integra Mining (ASX: IGR ) was up 3.73% to $2.50 at 3pm. Integra mining is a gold producer with a growth strategy targeting annual gold production of 140,000 ounces per annum by 2012. It controls a consolidated tenement of 1,500km2 in Western Australia. The Randalls Gold Project near Kalgoorlie commenced production in 2010 and is now focused on ramping up to a targeted 90,000 ounce per annum.

Spotless Group (ASX: PDN) rose 4.27% to $2.565 at 3pm. The cleaning and catering group accepted a takeover offer from a private equity group, boosting the share price.

The day’s losers

Coalspur Mines (ASX: CPT) had fallen 5.20% to $1.64 by 3pm. Coalspur Mines is a coal exploration and development company with approximately 55,000 hectares of coal exploration leases in Canada.

Bathurst Resources (ASX: SGM) was down 4.51% to $0.635 at 3pm. Bathurst Resources has recently completed a strategic realignment to position itself as a New Zealand-focused coal mining company with over 10,000 hectares of prospective tenure in the Buller Coalfield, located in the South Island of New Zealand.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the All Ordinaries Gold (Sub-Industry) which was up 1.89% to 5685.40.

The weakest sector was the S&P/ASX 200 Health Care (Sector) index which was down 0.11% to 8946.6 at 3pm.

Currency

One Australian dollar was buying $US1.0454 at 3.20pm.

Asia

Most Asian financial markets were up as corporate earnings exceeded expectations.

South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.1% after a report showed South Korean manufacturers’ confidence rose to the highest level in nine months. Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.2% after the city’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose last quarter.

Financial markets in Japan, Vietnam and mainland China are closed for holidays.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.16% or 239.60 points to 20981.10.

Samsung Heavy Industries jumped 5.7% in Seoul after the nation’s second biggest shipbuilder reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. The MSCI Asia Pacific Excluding Japan Index (MXAPJ) climbed 0.7% to 440.28 as of 12:25 pm in Hong Kong, extending gains for a fifth straight day.

The United States and China are trying to resolve the case of a fugitive human rights activist hiding in the US embassy in Beijing to ensure it doesn’t damage important talks between top policy makers later this week. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are scheduled to meet counterparts in Beijing May 3-4.

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