Australian shares rose today but trimmed early gains as investors took profit amid lingering concerns over Europe's debt problems.
5.11pm: Time to sign off for today. Thanks for reading this blog - we'll be back tomorrow morning.
Here's our evening wrap of today's session.
4.53pm: Talks on passing a Dutch budget before an early general election in September have been constructive so far, Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager says, adding discussions will continue with at least three opposition parties.
The outgoing government is striving to find a deal on budget cuts to meet European Union deficit targets and prevent a period of uncertainty that would unsettle financial markets and drive up the triple-A rated country's borrowing costs.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government fell apart at the weekend when its main ally, Geert Wilders' Freedom Party, refused to agree to a deal that would cut more than 14 billion euros off the annual budget and bring the deficit down to the EU limit of 3 per cent of domestic output.
4.44pm: Two shares that stood out today: Seven West plunged 22 per cent after a profit warning, while Telstra gained 2 per cent to $3.54, topping $3.50 for the first time since August 2009 as investors seek high yielders.
4.33pm: The Australian dollar is nudging the $US1.04 barrier, last trading at $US1.0387.
“Global sentiment has been strong for the past two days, and that’s helped high-beta currencies like the Aussie,” says Westpac strategist Imre Speizer.
4.21pm: And European shares are set for a slightly higher start, with mixed company earnings and key macroeconomic numbers this week likely prompting investors to avoid strong trading bets.
Futures for Euro STOXX 50 are up 0.2 percent, France's CAC futures up 0.2 per cent, but Germany's DAX futures are down 0.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, S&P500 futures are trading marginally higher, indicating a flat open on Wall Street.
4.17pm: In the region, Japan's Nikkei closed flat, while South Korea's Kospi inched up 0.1 per cent and Taiwan's Taiex fell 0.55 per cent.
4.16pm: Among the major sectors, financials rose 0.5 per cent, industrials gained 0.6 per cent, while materials ended flat.
Telcos jumped 1.1 per cent but the gold sub-index lost 1.8 per cent.
4.12pm: The market has closed marginally higher. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 rose 14.8 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4375.2, while the broader All Ords gained 11.1 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4445.0.
4.06pm: House prices in Western Australia’s booming Pilbara region are continuing to outpace major capital cities, with recent sales fetching $300,000 more than the Sydney median.
Sixty properties in the iron ore hubs of Port Hedland and Newman sold for an average of $800,000 per property in the March quarter, Crawford Realty agents said.
The company said the average time for selling a property in the two mining towns was 14 days compared to almost 80 days in Perth.
3.59pm: A plug for our colleagues from the technology department who took it upon themselves to review the customer service of the local telcos:
You hear horror stories about telco customer service all the time. They're brought up around the water cooler, posted as irate status updates, and grumbled about on online discussion forums on a regular basis.
But just how bad is the problem? Are all of the telcos really that terrible, or is it just one or two of them that are giving the rest a bad name?
3.53pm: And finally, here's a report on HuffPost saying that Wall Street is shrinking, with the US financial sector shedding nearly 500,000 jobs since the global financial crisis started in 2008.
Wonder if anyone's done the maths for the local industry.
3.48pm: More from overseas: the OECD has cut its forecast for South Korean growth this year to 3.5 per cent from 3.8 per cent, but maintains its forecast for 2013 at 4.3 per cent, saying monetary policy should be tightened once economic uncertainties cleared.
"Given that Korea is entering the fourth year of an expansion... monetary policy tightening should resume once the economy overcomes the current period of uncertainty," the Paris-based OECD said.
3.39pm: Argentina’s Senate has approved the forced takeover of the YPF oil company from Spain’s Repsol.
Taking back Argentina’s largest company from Spain’s biggest company has proven hugely popular in the South American country, despite threats of retaliation from the Europe Union and fears of unintended consequences in the years ahead.
3.29pm: Meanwhile, the dollar is undeterred by the sharemarket's sluggishness and continues to rise. It's currently trading at $US1.0373 - regaining the level it was at at the start of the week and before Tuesday's slump in the wake of a surprisingly weak CPI reading which has prompted investors to factor in more rate cuts.
Here's a chart showing the remarkable recovery of the Aussie:
3.18pm: The local market has reacted sluggishly to the European and US leads today as much of the early market gains have deteriorated, CMC Markets trader Ben Taylor says:
- Early selling entered the Aussie markets as traders took profits as we started hitting technical resistance above 4370.
- We are however continuing to see investors chasing yields, which is having the effect of pushing up the banks and high yielding stocks like Telstra.
- Plaguing today’s market is the consumer discretionary sector. The sector is seeing solid losses off the back of Seven West Media’s announced earnings downgrade.
- A level of anxiety has entered the market as the great unknown “Europe” continues to dampen investors’ confidence to re-enter the markets.
- Volumes are woeful at the moment which is a direct result of the European imposed austerity measures failing to create an environment where business feels confident.
3.05pm: Here's how major commodities are doing:
- Brent crude is down 11 cents to $US119.01 a barrel, while US crude has edged down 4 cents to $US104.08.
- Spot gold is trading 0.2 per cent higher at $US1647 an ounce.
- Benchmark 62-per cent grade iron ore has steadied at $US146.70 a tonne, a one-month low it touched yesterday.
- Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange has edged down 0.1 per cent to $US8195 a tonne, while on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most-traded July copper contract gained 0.6 per cent to 57,930 yuan ($US9200)a tonne.
2.53pm: The market is now well off its session highs, with the ASX200 up just 9 points, or 0.2 per cent at 4369.4. Earlier in the session, the index rose to as high as 4393.8.
2.46pm: The Victorian government is making every effort to deliver a promised budget surplus, treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips says, but the latest numbers point to it falling into the red.
Revised budget estimates since last December showed stamp duty revenue diving by $366 million this financial year, a slump of about eight per cent.
Stamp duty revenue to 2014-15 is also tipped to be $1.13 billion less than Treasury estimates of last December.
Earlier this week, treasurer Kim Wells said Australia's slowing economy had led to Victoria's GST revenue being written down by a further $428 million.
2.34pm: Ford will close down its Australian car-making operations until Wednesday, a company spokeswoman says.
The move comes in response to the failure of parts manufacturer CMI Industrial.
Ford spokeswoman Sinead Phipps says production will cease from the close of business this afternoon.
2.24pm: Australia's Alexium International has risen almost 15 per cent on the ASX today after receiving a letter of intent from US textiles distributor Duro to use its flame retardant treatment on a nylon range for military and industrial work wear, Rania Spooner reports.
Alexium chief technology officer Bob Brookins said the company had developed an eco-friendly flame retardant treatment for synthetic fabrics, which extinguishes a flame without the fabric melting.
The companies have agreed to key terms of a commercial agreement, which they hope to formalise in the coming weeks, Alexium told the market this morning.
2.15pm: An "indignant" Mexico says it has launched an investigation into allegations that the Mexican unit of Wal-Mart bribed officials to expand its business there, opening a new front to a widening probe of the world's largest retailer.
The Mexican federal comptroller's office says it has started checking the federal paperwork and permits that Wal-Mart de Mexico, known as Walmex, obtained to open and operate its stores in Mexico.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon rounded on Wal-Mart during a speech in Houston, Texas.
"This makes me very indignant," he told a gathering of members of the Mexican community. "The company has certainly generated many jobs in Mexico and done good things, but what's not right is doing business on the basis of bribes."
2.08pm: The Melbourne car parts supplier that provides parts for Ford is now in the hands of administrators.
CMI Industrial has been handed over to voluntary administrators Grant Thornton, and receivers McGrathNicol.
The administrators will now decide the fate of the company's plant in Campbellfield, which has been locked by landlords for almost a week due to unpaid rent.
McGrathNicol receiver Keith Crawford said the task was now to stabilise all the company's operations as soon as possible, before assessing all its finances, in a bid to find new buyers, but could not reveal when the plant was likely to re-open.
2pm: Fat Prophets senior analyst Greg Fraser says Seven's downgrade is bad news for the media sector, particularly television-related stocks.
"If Channel Seven is not attracting the revenue to catch its audience then the chances that others are faring worse are quite likely," Mr Fraser says.
"Even though Seven has had a higher audience share rating, the advertising expenditure that normally coincides with that hasn't happened.
"Advertising expenditure is quite weak at the moment, reflecting weak customer spending.
"It's quite worrying for the sector generally."
Mr Fraser adds that radio and newspapers continue to perform worse than television stations.
1.52pm: More on Telstra... Motley Fool's Scott Philips writes that while the telco's shareholders have seen quite a few false dawns before, there’s mounting evidence to suggest that this time the sun may really be coming up.
1.42pm: Mixed quarterly production data from gold miner Kingsgate Consolidated has seen its shares sold off, as the company discloses problems at its Challenger mine in South Australia, Brian Robins reports.
A slump in production at this project undermined a boost to output at its Chatree mine in Thailand, following a recent capacity upgrade.
Kingsgate shares are down 19c at $6.06 in afternoon trading, holding near the day's low of $6.05. Earlier today the share's were at $6.42.
1.34pm: Telstra shares are over $3.50 for the first time since August 2009. They hit a low of $2.61 in December 2010 and have added 5.4 per cent this year. They are currently trading at $3.51, up 1.2 per cent for the day.
1.22pm: New Zealand's central bank held its official cash rate steady today and tried to talk down a strong local dollar with a hint of a possible rate cut, but markets took the warning in stride.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) left the benchmark rate at 2.5 percent, where it has been since March last year, pointing to benign inflation and a high local dollar.
"For now, it's appropriate for the OCR to remain at 2.5 percent," RBNZ Governor Alan Bollard said in a brief statement.
But he said the New Zealand dollar was still high despite recent falls in commodity prices, and warned that would influence future policy without explicitly threatening the central bank would cut rates.
1.15pm: Shares in OZ Minerals are 1.3 per cent higher to $9.54 after Australia’s third-biggest copper producer by market value said output of the metal rose in the first quarter, beating analysts’ estimates.
The company also said today that the abolition of the diesel fuel rebate in next month's federal budget could cost it up to $20 million a year.
1.11pm: Seven West shares remain 16.2 per cent lower at $3.16. The shares declined as much as 17 per cent, the biggest decline on an intraday basis in almost 18 years for the company. Goldman Sachs, UBS and Citigroup all lowered their recommendations on the stock.
The Perth-based media company, which is controlled by billionaire Kerry Stokes, may also face rising programming costs, according to one analyst Justin Diddams.
‘‘We clearly under-estimated the level of cost growth in the TV network,’’ Diddams, an analyst at Citigroup who cut the stock to neutral, wrote in an April 24 report. Investors face ‘‘more risk than reward over the next 12 months,’’ he wrote.
1.04pm: The Australian dollar is stronger, following the local share market higher in the absence of any other leads for the currency. It is currenly buying $US1.0365, more or less unchanged from early today.
Easy Forex currency trader Tony Darvall said the local unit is caught in a range as traders wait for next week’s interest rate decision by the RBA.
‘‘I think we were talking earlier in the week about being caught in that range, we’ve had expectations increase that we’re going to cut rates, that’s been priced in already,’’ Mr Darvall said.
‘‘The Aussie (dollar) has gone back to tracking stock markets, that’s why we’re a little higher today than we were yesterday.’’
12.57am: The big retailers, however, are showing a mixed performance amid all the good vibes on markets today:
- Woolworths - down 0.04% to $25.83
- Wesfarmers - up 0.7% to $20.09
- Harvey Norman - up 0.99% to $2.05
- David Jones - down 0.2% to $2.45
- Myer - down 0.21% to $2.36
12.54pm: Now for the big banks, all of which are ahead of the general market:
- CBA is 0.94% higher to $51.63
- ANZ is 0.67% higher to $23.88
- NAB is 0.68% higher to $25.34
- Westpac is 0.65% higher to $22.61
- Macquarie Bank is 0.99% higher to $28.68
12.48pm: Looking now at how some of the blue chips are going today, starting with mining:
- BHP is 0.2% higher to $35.15
- Rio is 0.81% higher to $66.13
- Fortescue is 0.86% higher to $5.76
12.41pm: Looking again at the monster profit reported by Apple yesterday, which has boosted markets globally, here's a view on the tech company's fortunes in the country which manufactures its products - China.
- Demand was "mind-boggling" in China, where revenue for the quarter was a record-high $7.9 billion, according to Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
- Sales in China during the first three months of this year were triple what they were during the same period in 2011.
"The China market should really scare Apple competitors," said Creative Strategies lead analyst Tim Bajarin. "They have only been there a very short time and it is already 12 percent of their total business."
The number of retail outlets selling Apple gadgets is about 11,000, a number expected to double within two years.
"Apple will clearly invest a lot of money in the China market," said NPD analyst Stephen Baker. "They will do what they have to do to localize and invest in China."
12.27pm: Turning back to the local market, RBS Morgan’s Ipswich manager Tony Russell says the ASX200 is playing catch-up after the Anzac Day public holiday:
- We’ve had two strong nights on Wall Street and we’re seeing the fruits of that today.
- The earnings result from last night, in particular the Apple result, was above expectations and Wall Street followed on.
- (US Federal Reserve chairman) Ben Bernanke’s comments that interest rates will remain low there until 2014 also had a positive effect.
Blockbuster profits from Apple and a solid showing by Boeing pumped up US markets, with a late boost coming from a slightly improved growth outlook from the US Federal Reserve.
12.19pm: Here's an overview of how regional markets are performing:
- Japan (Nikkei): +0.2%
- Hong Kong: +0.6%
- Shanghai: flat
- Taiwan: +0.1%
- South Korea: +0.3%
- Singapore: -0.1%
- New Zealand: -0.2%
12.17pm: Most regional markets are trading higher, after the Federal Reserve pledged to do more to stimulate US economic growth.
‘‘Further monetary stimulus such as a third round of quantitative easing is still likely and the Fed is waiting for a good time to do that,’’ says Wang Weijun, a strategist at Zheshang Securities in Shanghai. ‘‘Easy money is good for asset markets globally.’’
12.04pm: OZ Minerals could suffer a $20 million hit if the federal government abolishes the diesel fuel rebate in next month’s budget.
A change to the rule, which gives mining companies and farmers a subsidy for the diesel they use, has been rumoured in recent weeks as the Gillard government desperately seeks to keep the budget in surplus.
Speaking this morning, Oz Minerals boss Terry Burgess said the subsidy was warranted because mining companies were often forced to use private roads rather than publicly funded roads, and he said the impact of a change would be in the range of $16 million to $20 million per year.
11.58am: Australia's commercial property sector continued to move downwards in the first three months of the year, a survey shows.
NAB's quarterly Australian commercial property index fell to -8 points in the March quarter, compared to -6 points in the December quarter, with forward expectations also dropping slightly.
NAB says the fall reflected weakness in a number of sectors, with retail and industrial markets particularly soft.
"Conditions are still by far the weakest for retail, with the index sinking to an all-time low of -45 points (from -36 points in the December quarter)."
"This sector is being hammered by ongoing caution among households, poor retail business conditions and depressed confidence among retailers."
11.48am: Lend Lease’s shares are marginally higher after the group admitted it had been involved in over-charging clients in the US, Carolyn Cummins reports.
In a short statement to the ASX today, in response to the news which broke in the US on Tuesday, its directors said that under a Deferred Prosecution Agreement no charges will be prosecuted against Lend Lease's Bovis arm if it complies with the agreement.
‘‘Payments to be made under the agreement are consistent with the provisions previously made including the provision in the accounts for the half year ended December 31, 2011.
11.42am: Challenger Financial plans to expand its property debt portfolio by investing $300-$400 million annually in the capital-hungry sector as major banks reduce their exposure, a company executive says.
The debt deals will be with unlisted wholesale funds that have struggled to raise money, unlike their listed Australian real estate investment trust (A-REIT) peers, says Bob Sahota, head of fixed interest for Challenger, Australia's leading annuity provider.
"If you look at just the real estate (sector), there is in the order of $7 billion to $8 billion over the next two years that we would see as being areas we would be competitive in," Sahota has told Reuters.
11.35am: In breaking news, the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, intends to place the scandal-plagued Health Service Union into administration, the Federal Court has been told this morning.
Richard Niall, SC, for Mr Shorten, told the court the minister intends to issue an application under the Fair Work Registered Organisations Act.
Outside the court, the national secretary of the HSU, Kathy Jackson, said Mr Shorten's move was "a cheap political stunt".
11.29am: The dollar, meanwhile, is also higher. It's now at $US1.0362. Click here for more currencies and cross rates.
11.20am: Markets are holding this morning's gains. The All Ords is 0.5 per cent higher and the ASX200 is 0.6 per cent higher. Meanwhile, Japanese stocks have opened 0.55 per cent higher after gains on Wall Street amid strong corporate results and hopes for monetary easing.
11.11am: Property group GPT will double its share buyback, taking the total potential cost to more than $575 million.GPT, which began buying back some of its issued shares in May 2011, had planned to buy up to five per cent of its shares within 12 months.
It said it would increase the buyback to up to 10 per cent of its total shares and extended the buyback period by another 12 months.
11.01am: 4400 here we come? CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said investors were inspired by very good leads from overseas.
‘‘Clearly the US markets were influenced by the Apple result, the subsequent jump in the share price, which was a major contributor to the performance of US markets overnight but overall we’re getting some technical strength coming through in the overall market,’’ he said.
McCarthy said investors had been waiting for the sideways trading to come to an end, with trade pushing towards 4400 points on the ASX200. ‘‘There’s some cautious optimism that might be happening this week.’’
10.56am: One here from the small business desk:
So you want to get on the front page of Google? What business does not want to get there – ideally ranking in the top-ten?
One secret of getting on Google’s front page is simple. Splash the cash – and keep defending your spot by continually outbidding your competitor, irrespective of cost. Or, there is a far more frugal solution.
10.49am: Telco reporter Lucy Battersby writes that the telecommunications industry has been put on notice for repeatedly putting ‘‘fine-print qualifications’’ into customers' contracts as TPG is fined $13,200 fine for misleading advertising.
TPG had been advertising a product with ‘‘500 free VoIP minutes’’ on its website. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found customers could only receive the free minutes of voice-over-internet-protocol calls ‘‘if they made one continuous call to a major capital city’’.
‘‘The advertising practice of fine-print qualification is one the ACCC is tired of correcting,’’ chairman Rod Sims said this morning.
10.43am: Shares in Western Areas NL are 1 per cent to $5.30 after Australia’s second-biggest nickel producer was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Citigroup.
And shares in Newcrest Mining have lost 2.7 per cent to $25.88 after Australia’s largest gold mining company was cut to “underperform” versus the sector “perform” at Royal Bank of Canada.
10.39am: Seven West is dragging other media stocks down with them. Or at least, the weak outlook for the ad market is. It issued a statement after trading closed on Tuesday to inform the market an expected improvement in the advertisement market had not eventuated. As a result, its earnings forecast for the year to June 30 has been lowered to between $460 million and $470 million.
- Fairfax (publisher of this website) - down 2.08%
- Southern Cross Media - down 1.82%
- Ten Network - down 0.61%
10.35am: Leighton shares are 2.8 per cent higher on news that the company's middle east operation is part of a joint venture awarded a $US169 million ($A163.57 million) contract for work on a mine in Saudi Arabia.
Dragados Gulf Construction Company and Habtoor Leighton Group, in which Leighton has a 45 per cent stake, will construct mine-related infrastructure at a bauxite mine in central Saudi Arabia for the Ma’aden Alcoa Aluminium joint venture, Habtoor Leighton said on Thursday.
The project is located in a desert about 200 kilometres northeast of the city of Burayda.Habtoor Leighton’s share of the contract is worth $US85 million ($A82.27 million).
10.29am: Seven West Media has pared its early loss, but not by much. They're now down by 15.1 per cent. Here are some of the companies leading markets higher:
- Beadell Resources - up 3.7%
- Paladin Energy - up 3.17%
- OneSteel - up 2.94%
- Atlas Iron - up 2.81%
- Incitec Pivot - up 2.47%
- Leighton - up 2.38%
10.22am: Looking at how the sub incdices on the ASX200 are performing:
- Info tech - up 1.07%
- Industrials - 0.91%
- Energy - up 0.89%
- Materials - up 0.6%
- Financials - 0.58%
- Consumer discretionary - down 0.63%
10.15am: Shares in Seven West have plunged 16 per cent, or 59 cents, to $3.16 in early trade following Tuesday's profit downgrade.
10.12am: Markets are strongly higher. In early trade, the All Ordinaries index is 30.4 points higher, or 0.7 per cent, to 4464.3, while the benchmark S&P/ASX200 is 31.5 points higher, or 0.7 per cent, to 4391.9.
10.08am: Up to 200 Westpac employees face losing their jobs as the company considers outsourcing work in St George's Information Technology department.
The number of jobs on the block comes in addition to the 560 positions that have already been cut from Westpac's ranks so far this year. Westpac bought St George in 2008. The work would be outsourced to IBM.
10.05am: Early take - shares moving higher as the market opens. Up about 0.3 per cent without all companies trading.
9.54am: The Australian bond futures prices are slightly down after the US Federal Reserve indicated it was prepared to take steps to stimulate the American economy.
At 8.30am the June 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.340 (implying a yield of 3.660 per cent), down from 96.380 (3.620 per cent) on Tuesday, the last day of domestic trading because of Wednesday’s Anzac Day public holiday. The June three-year bond futures contract was at 96.960 (3.040 per cent), down from 96.970 (3.030 per cent).
ANZ senior interest rate strategist Shane Lee said lower-than-expected sales of durable good in the US in March also put downward pressure on bond prices.
‘‘The market perception was the Fed was a touch on the dovish side, from the FOMC statement. Also, (US) durable goods orders were a little bit weaker than expectations,’’ Mr Lee said.
‘‘I guess our market will be a little bit weaker. The market interpretation of the FOMC was that it was a touch weaker than expectations.’’
9.49am: A number of analysts have taken the axe to Seven West since Tuesday:
- Seven West cut to 'neutral' from 'buy' at UBS
- Seven West cut to 'sell' from 'neutral' at Goldman
- Seven West downgraded to 'neutral' from 'buy' at Citi
Here are some other recent changes to analyst ratings:
- Newcrest removed from the 'buy' list Goldman
- Newcrest cut to 'underperform' vs 'sector perform' at RBC
- Western Areas raised to 'buy' from 'neutral' at Citi
- Oil Search cut to 'neutral' from buy at Citi
- Oil Search raised to 'overweight' at JPMorgan
- Carsales.com.au raised to 'accumulate' at Ord Minnett
- AWE downgraded to 'neutral' at Citigroup
9.45am: Seven West shares are also expected to come under pressure after a profit downgrade late on Tuesday. The company announced that full-year earnings before interest and tax were likely to be almost $50 million less than analysts' expectations of $515 million.
9.40am: Turning to local matters, shares in Lend Lease could be in the spotlight today after a US subsidiary was fined $US56 million after admitting to fraud over a 10-year period, including over-billing and ignoring minority hiring mandates at New York landmarks.
9.41am: Stocks in the UK underperformed many other European markets after GDP data showed the UK economy shrank in the first quarter as Britain slid into its first double-dip recession since the 1970s.
Gross domestic product fell 0.2 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2011, when it declined 0.3 per cent, the Office for National Statistics said in London. The median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for an increase of 0.1 per cent. A technical recession is defined as two straight quarters of contraction.
9.37am: Apple's blockbuster profit result gave equity markets a boost overnight, with markets in Europe posting gains of 1.7 per cent and US markets adding more than 1 per cent. Wall Street got an added boost from Ben Bernanke, who said:
- We remain entirely prepared to take additional balance sheet actions as necessary to achieve our objectives. Those tools remained very much on the table and we would not hesitate to use them should the economy require that additional support.
9.33am: Local stocks are looking toward a positive early start after offshore markets gained on Apple's huge profit result and reassurances from the US Federal Reserve about its readiness to support the US recovery. For a full wrap of this morning's news, check today's need2know and the business press digest. Here are this morning's key markets links:
- SPI futures are 17 points higher at 4405
- The $A is higher at $US1.036
- In the US, the S&P500 rose 1.36% to 1390.69
- In Europe, the FTSE100 gained 0.16% to 5718.89
- Gold gained $1.90 to $US1645.70 an ounce
- WTI crude oil rose 57 cents to $US104.12 a barrel
- The Reuters Jefferies CRB Index rose 0.26% to 302.08
9.30am: Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Markets Live blog for Thursday. Hope you all had a relaxing day off.
This blog is not intended as investment advice
Contributors: Thomas Hunter, Peter Litras, Jens Meyer
BusinessDay with agencies