The ASX200 has closed above 4400 points for the first time since early May, led up by strong gains in the miners after commodity prices rose, while industrials, telcos and retailers are lower.

5.25pm: That's all for today. Thanks for reading this blog and posting your comments.

Here's our evening wrap of today's session.

5.10pm: The Australian dollar is holding not far from six-month highs against the US dollar today, benefiting from improved global sentiment in the wake of the US Federal Reserve's aggressive stimulus plan launched last week.

The dollar is trading at $US1.0533, consolidating recent hefty gains. It soared to $US1.0625 on Friday in offshore trade, its highest in almost six months before it ran into heavy resistance.

The local currency has climbed an impressive four cents in the seven sessions to Friday, leading some analysts to say the rally has probably ran its course.

"We've seen the top for the Aussie," says Alvin Pontoh, a macro strategist at TD Securities in Singapore, marking the local dollar at $US1.0400 by the end of the year.

"The sugar-hit following the Fed won't last very long ... Within a month, the Aussie appreciation will disappear."

4.43pm: Fortescue shares remained in a trading halt today despite some speculation the miner would update the market this morning on how its talks with lenders to restructure its debt are going. Stay tuned for an update early tomorrow.

Fortescue slammed the brakes on $9 billion of expansion, slashed jobs and sold a power station to shore up funding due to weak iron ore prices.

4.40pm:  Miners provided the main lift to the market as the recent recovery in commodities prices and a flurry of central bank stimulus fuelled hopes for stronger global growth and demand, analysts say.

"Materials are so strong they are dragging the market up, stimulus is always good for the riskier assets," says Macquarie Equities division director Lucinda Chan.

Analysts see long-term benefits for commodities markets and local miners, saying the materials sector has broken out of a downtrend on the back of aggressive stimulus plans from the US Federal Reserve last week.

4.35pm: Here's how the biggest stocks performed today:

  • BHP: +2.5%
  • Rio: +1.6%
  • ANZ: +0.7%
  • CBA: flat
  • NAB: +0.3%
  • Westpac: +1.3%
  • Woolies: -1%
  • Wesfarmers: -0.1%
  • Telstra: -0.8%

4.18pm: Among the major sectors, materials jumped 1.9 per cent, financials gained 0.4 per cent and energy stocks rose 0.2 per cent.

Consumer staples and discretionary fell 0.6 and 0.4 per cent respectively, while industrials lost 0.6 per cent.

4.12pm: The ASX200 has closed above 4400 points for the first time since early May, but with fairly low volumes indicating a lack of commitment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 12.5 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4402.5, while the broader All Ords gained 11.6 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4421.8.

4.07pm: European shares are set to retreat today after hitting 14-month highs in the previous session on the back of a stimulus move by the US Federal Reserve, with "overbought" trading conditions seen triggering a sell-off in equities.

Futures for Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC are down 0.3 to 0.4 per cent.

meanwhile, Dow and S&P500 futures are down between 0.2 and 0.3 per cent.

3.48pm: Some more on the violent anti-Japan protests that erupted in China over the weekend: the protests may cause more damage to Japanese automakers in the world’s largest vehicle market than natural disasters last year, according to the state-backed dealership group.

Many dealerships in China that sell Japanese cars have shut for now after some outlets were attacked and vandalised, according to Luo Lei, deputy secretary general of the China Automobile Dealers Association.

Besides those boycotting Japanese goods, most Chinese citizens won’t dare to buy Japanese-brand cars due to concerns over safety, Luo said.

‘‘The impact caused by natural disasters can be fixed quickly, while it takes a longer time and efforts to make hostile sentiment against Japanese cars go away,’’ Luo told Bloomberg today, declining to quantify the damage as losses are still being tallied. ‘‘I have worked at the association for 10 years and this round of losses suffered by Japanese car dealers is the worst I’ve seen.’’

3.32pm: The fallout from anti-Japanese protests in China is growing: electronics giant Panasonic has suspended production at two electronics components factories in China and closed another, telling workers to stay at home after the facilities were attacked by anti-Japan protesters.

The factories where production was suspended will be reopened after assessing the damage.

Atsushi Hinoki, a Tokyo-based Panasonic spokesman, said another plant in China has been closed after several workers "sabotaged" operations in the factory. The plant will also remain closed until Tuesday.

Earlier, Canon said it is set to suspend operations at three of its four plants in China today and Tuesday following huge anti-Japanese protests in China.

Canon will halt production lines at its laser printer factory in Guangdong, a digital camera factory in Guangdong, and a copier plant in Jiangsu, Japanese media reported.

3.29pm: The banks involved in Australia’s most expensive and longest-running court case are seeking to take their battle to the High Court.

The consortium of 20 banks including Westpac and Lloyd’s TSB Bank last month lost an appeal in Western Australia’s Supreme Court against a 2008 ruling that ordered them to pay about $1.58 billion to the liquidators of Bell Group, once controlled by fallen tycoon Alan Bond.

They had agreed in 1990 to extend Bell Group’s loans to allow it to restructure and remain afloat, and in exchange were given guarantees and security over Bell Group’s publishing assets, shares in Bell Resources and other minor assets.

Bell Group was at the time on the brink of insolvency, and the banks were found by Justice Neville Owen to be liable as knowing recipients of the company’s trust property.

3.21pm: Australian regulators should consider banning high-frequency trading in the equities market, according to Industry Super Network, an organisation promoting the country’s $1.3 trillion pension funds industry, Bloomberg reports.

High-frequency trading, in which computer algorithms are used to buy and sell stocks in fractions of a second, can exacerbate slumps in the stock market and undermine investor confidence, the group on its website. ISN represents Australian pension funds that have about 5 million individual members, according to its website.

“There is a compelling need for a moratorium on HFT and careful consideration of market structure reform to promote fairness and efficiency,” Zachary May, head of regulatory policy at ISN, says in a submission to the regulator. “Unlike other jurisdictions where high-frequency trading is prevalent, Australia still has time to get ahead of this issue.”

3.05pm: Pathology and radiology provider Sonic Healthcare has dumped its proposed acquisition of the Healthscope pathology businesses in NSW and the ACT because it is taking too long to complete the deal.

Healthscope announced in May that it would sell its pathology businesses in Queensland, NSW, the ACT and Western Australia to Sonic, subject to regulatory approval from the consumer watchdog, for $100 million.

Shares in Sonic are down 44 cents, or 3.3 per cent, to $12.80. 

2.58pm: The RBA says the country's currency is held by as many as 23 central banks from Brasilia to Moscow, documents show.

The central banks of Brazil, Russia, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland are among 15 economies that hold the Australian currency, according to a spreadsheet created in July and other papers released today under a Freedom of Information Act request by Bloomberg News. Among the eight possible holders are Iceland, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia and Singapore.

The so-called Aussie remains up for the year even as Australia's No. 1 customer, China, sees a deepening slowdown and as falling prices for iron ore and coking coal erode the nation's terms of trade - a measure of windfall gains from exports that reached a 140-year high last year. RBA Governor Glenn Stevens last month called the currency's level "a bit on the high side."

2.39pm: Sales at South Korea's top department stores fell for a third consecutive month in August, underlining the impact of an economic slowdown on domestic consumer demand.

The sales at stores run by the country's three major operators - Lotte, Shinsegae and Hyundai - were down 6.9 per cent in August compared with the same month last year, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

It followed a 1.3 per cent drop in July and marked the third monthly sales decline in a row on a year-on-year basis.

Sales at discount stores declined 3.3 per cent in August from a year earlier, marking the fifth straight monthly fall.

2.30pm: Australia has to keep the cost of delivering mining projects in check for the planned mining investment pipeline to become a reality, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says.

A Minerals Council of Australia report has found that Australia’s cost position is declining, with labour costs growing more quickly than the national average and now ranking among the highest in the world.

Rising capital costs, along with increased energy and transport costs, were also weighing and the report called for more skilled migrants and changes to the Fair Work Act to boost productivity.

2.21pm: Gold is holding near an almost seven-month high, as the US Federal Reserve's latest stimulus move to spur the economy led to a rush for bullion - a traditional hedge against inflation.

Gold, which has risen for the last four weeks, could breach this year's peak around $US1790 an ounce as the United States prints more money to buy assets, driving up the outlook for
inflation and weighing on the US dollar. 

Gold has added $5.33 an ounce to $US1774.79 after rising as high as $US1777.51 on Friday, its highest since late February when it hit this year's peak.

"Gold is still pretty bullish this week. I think gold prices will remain firm and probably test the high set in February,"Lynette Tan, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore tells Reuters.

"Buyers are still buying gold, but it seems that profit taking may occur later."

2.13pm: Stocks, meanwhile, continue to trade in positive territory - but off their session highs. The ASX200 index is now up 7.5 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 4397.5. The dollar is lower at $US1.0535.

1.59pm: Japanese electronics maker Canon is set to suspend operations at three of its four plants in China for the next 48 hours following huge anti-Japanese protests, Japanese media report.

Canon will halt production lines at its laser printer factory in Guangdong, a digital camera factory in Guangdong, and a copier plant in Jiangsu.

1.51pm: More on Rip Curl... the surfwear company says it has received unsolicited approaches from several international companies looking to invest in the privately held firm.

Rip Curl says it has appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise on exploring these opportunities and assess the merits of introducing an investor to the group.

Earlier, a source told Reuters that Rip Curl, founded in 1969, could fetch up to $480 million in a full sale.

1.45pm: CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian says firmer commodities prices during Friday night’s offshore session - when futures contract prices for key commodities such as oil, gold and copper settled firmer - are behind the lift in resources stocks.

‘‘That’s why we are seeing the miners doing particularly well,’’ Mr Daghlian says.

‘‘It really is the mining sector at the moment, and the financials, holding the rest of the market up.’’

1.39pm: Oil prices are higher as dealers welcome the US Federal Reserve's plan to kickstart the economy, while tensions in the Middle East also provide support, analysts say.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October gained two cents to $US99.02 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for November has added nine cents to $US116.75.

IG markets says crude prices are still basking in the glow of the Fed's announcement that it will start a third round of bond buying to stimulate the economy, known as quantitative easing (QE3).

"The big question is how long this Fed-inspired rally will continue as QE3 was the last bazooka to be used in the central bank's arsenal," the report states.

"For the time being, it has given a powerful shot in the arm for global markets."

1.30pm: Qantas has won approval from regulators for its code-share alliance with South African Airways on flights between Australia and Johannesburg to be extended for another two years, Matt O’Sullivan reports.

However, the ruling from the International Air Services Commission falls short of Qantas’ request for the alliance with South Africa’s flag carrier to be approved until March 2016.

As part of the conditions of the approval, the two airlines will have to operate at least 13 flights a week between Australia and South Africa.

Shares in Qantas are up 0.75 cents to $1.2475.

More here.

1.20pm: Gas and electricity supplier AGL Energy says the carbon tax isn’t totally to blame for higher electricity prices, as it calls for the deregulation of what consumers are charged.

AGL says the tax does contribute but the main driver of higher energy costs is the lack of state government spending on energy infrastructure, along with changed consumption patterns.

The company says electricity prices should be fully deregulated, so consumers could be charged according to the time of the day or night at which they use power.

1.12pm: Easy Forex senior dealer Francisco Solar says once the Australian dollar rose a six-month high of $US1.0625, investors started selling. It's now at $US1.0523.

‘‘So, there’s definitely going to be a level on the top side where people may be looking to take profits, unless there is some further push higher,’’ he says.

On Friday, credit-research firm Egan Jones cut its rating for US government debt to AA minus from AA.

‘‘It will be interesting to see how the market absorbs that news,’’ Mr Solar says.

‘‘I’m not sure if that is the reason behind this pull-back in the Aussie dollar, but I wouldn’t be surprised that, at the start of the week, markets are just booking profits, taking a little bit of risk off the table and seeing what transpires.’’

12.56pm: Casinos operator Echo Entertainment's gross revenue for the group in the first 10 weeks of the 2013 financial year has risen 11.1 per cent compared to the same time one year ago, driven by high rollers.

Echo said total revenue at the company’s biggest asset, The Star casino in Sydney, was up 26.7 per cent as new facilities at the refurbished venue were opened. Revenue excluding the international rebate business (high-rolling VIP gamblers) at The Star was up 16.7 per cent.

Echo said the casino was experiencing ‘‘good activation’’ of improved VIP gaming facilities.

12.45pm: The global boom in commodity prices is over and Australia must improve productivity in order to remain competitive, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says.

‘‘The easy earnings we get out of high prices are now gone,’’ Ferguson told Bloomberg Television today. ‘‘We have to accept that here on in it’s going to be a lot of hard work to actually expand capacity rather than rely on increases in prices."

12.29pm: The irony (or anti-cyclicality) of markets, nicely summed up in this tweet:

Israel mulling, China cracking, Muslims attacking, EU stagnating, Brazil reversing, QE3 inflating, oil spiking... Equity markets rising!

- GS Elevator Gossip (@GSElevator)

12.21pm: Here's how the rest of the region is doing today:

  • Japan (Nikkei): closed
  • Hong Kong: +0.3%
  • Shanghai: -0.4%
  • Taiwan: +0.4%
  • Korea: -0.2%
  • Singapore: +0.4%
  • New Zealand: +0.8%

12.18pm: Shares are hanging onto their modest gains, kept afloat by strong gains in the materials sector, up 1.7 per cent after commodity prices rose late last week. Financials are 0.4 per cent higher.

Stronger gains are being held back by a drop in consumer staples, down 1 per cent, consumer discretionary, down 0.7 per cent, and industrials, which have lost 0.5 per cent.

11.59am: Meanwhile, the market is still seeing a 44 per cent chance of a rate cut when the RBA next meets early October, down from a 60 per cent chance last week, according to Credit Suisse interest rate futures.

And investors are 100 per cent certain that there will be at least one cut before the year ends.

11.57am: Citi is sticking to its outsider’s call of saying the RBA won’t cut interest rates this year, despite lowering its growth outlook for 2013 to 3.2 per cent:

  • We retain our out of consensus call for no RBA interest rate cut for the remainder of 2012.
  • We have pushed out the start of the RBA’s next hiking cycle from Q3 2013 to Q1 2014 reflecting a slightly lower underlying profile at the end of 2013.
  • Making this change is also consistent with the outlook of Citi’s global economists that expect sub-trend growth across most developed markets while formally acknowledging the risks that China’s growth moderation persists for longer.

11.48am: Sales of new motor vehicles jumped by the most in five months in August to reach their highest on record, a sign consumers have the confidence to splash out on big ticket items.

Government figures show new vehicle sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 3.6 per cent in August to 93,379, following a revised 1.1 per cent decline in July. Sales were up 6.4 per cent compared to August last year.

Sales of sports utility vehicles extended their meteoric run with an increase of 4.3 per cent to a fresh all-time high of 26,452. Sales of passenger vehicles rose 4.7 per cent, while sales of other vehicles, including trucks, edged up 0.4 per cent after a very strong result in July.

The robust vehicle numbers contrast with softness seen in retail sales for July and suggest consumer spending is not as weak as some fear.

11.43am: While markets have shown signs of a rebound, latest semi-annual figures by S&P Indices show at least 65 per cent of active retail equity funds underperformed their respective benchmarks over a three-year or five-year period.

The only exception was the Australian equity small-cap category, which outperformed the respective index.

Over a longer term five-year timeframe, approximately 69 per cent of active retail Australian equity general funds failed to beat the S&P/ASX 200 Index, according to Standard & Poor's Indices Versus Active funds scorecard.

11.40am: The number of homes being built in Sydney is far below official state government targets, adding further upward pressure on the cost of buying and renting property, a new report reveals.

In the first three months of 2012, only 3017 new dwellings were completed in Sydney, according to public policy think tank the McKell Institute.

That’s well short of the of 5825 new homes needed each quarter to meet targets set out in the Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036.

11.38am: Optus is preparing to sell its new 4G network to wholesale customers with iiNet the first to announce a deal.

iiNet and its subsidiaries Westnet, Netspace and Internode can get access to Optus’ fledgling 4G network, which is currently available in Sydney, Newcastle, Perth and Melbourne. iiNet will start with a wireless 4G USB modem and mobile WiFi device.

Product details and network coverage will be available soon.

11.29am: Victims of the Storm Financial collapse have labelled the Commonwealth Bank’s recent resolution with ASIC as a ‘‘cop-out’’.

Edwina Lawrence, 76, was one of several investors at the Federal Court in Brisbane today for the first day of a five-month trial involving three banks, ASIC and hundreds of investors.

Ms Lawrence, who was a client with the CBA, said she lost ‘‘a lot’’ when the Townsville-based financial services company folded. She said she and other victims were angry the bank had struck a deal with ASIC late on Friday.

‘‘We’re furious ... (but) what recourse do we have?’’ she said. ‘‘It’s a cop-out.’’

Here's the full story

11.14am: The ASX200, meanwhile, is now 0.3 per cent higher and back above 4400 - 4403.1 to be precise.

11.10am: Thanks to commenter Allan for pointing out the performance of the TEN share price today - down a further 2.8 per cent to 35.5 cents. That's the lowest since the shares listed in March 1998.

As Fairfax TV critic Michael Idato notes today: "On a single-channel basis, Ten is on track to lose to ABC1 for a sixth consecutive week. It has also lost more than 25 consecutive ratings days. Ten has slipped to fourth place on the ratings ladder and shows no signs of immediate recovery."

11.07am: The retailers are all down, particularly David Jones which is due to report full year profits on Wednesday:

  • Woolworths: -0.83%
  • Wesfarmers: -0.78%
  • Harvey Norman: -1.01%
  • DJs: -2.17%
  • Myer: -0.81%

11.03am: The big banks are enjoying a generally positive start to the week:

  • CBA is 0.25% higher to $55.42
  • ANZ is 0.37% higher to $24.32
  • NAB is 0.43% higher to $25.52
  • Westpac is 0.5% higher to $24.23

10.59am: With Fortescue still in a trading halt, the other big miners are firmly higher:

  • BHP is 2.37% higher to $34.10
  • Rio is 1.73% higher to $57.56

10.52am: Stocks are now fighting back after a softish start to be 0.2 per cent higher. Lonsec senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said the local market had not followed through from a positive set of offshore leads.

‘‘You would have expected our market to show a bit more finesse than what it has so far,’’ Mr Heffernan said.

10.49am: A bit more here on Macmahon Holdings. The earnings update comes just a month after Macmahon forecast 20 per cent profit growth in fiscal 2013 amid strong orders and a robust tender pipeline. The company, which is 20 per cent owned by Leighton Holdings, reported a 45 per cent rise in full year net profit to $56.1 million for the 12 months to June 30. Macmahon’s shares closed at 53 cents on Friday.

10.45am: Now for the early sliders on the ASX200:

  • Energy World Corp: -6.52%
  • Flight Centre: -4.96% (ex div)
  • Primary Health Care: -3.73% (ex div)
  • Whitehaven: -2.85%
  • Ten Network: -2.78%
  • Brambles: -2.7% (ex div)

10.40am: Leighton shares are now 3.3 per cent higher on news that the Victoria desalination is operating at 33 per cent capacity. Here's the story.

10.34am: Here are the major early gainers on the ASX200:

  • Mirabela Nickel: +13.64%
  • Iluka Resources: +5.44%
  • Aquarius Platinum: +4.90%
  • Beadell Resources: +3.87%
  • Oceanagold: +3.79%

10.29am: The shares of Macmahon Holdings have been placed in a trading halt pending the release of an update to earnings guidance "as a result of deteriorating financial performance in the construction business and increased uncertainty for new construction work".

The company said the trading halt would stay in place until the market opens on Wednesday or the time the update is given. Macmahon is a contract mining and construction company.

10.25am: Shares in Leighton are higher after the first large-scale production of drinking water started at Leighton Holdings’ troubled Victorian desalination plant.

The construction giant said the plant had successfully produced drinking water over the past seven days, during the first phase of its testing process. The desalination plant and the company’s Brisbane Airport Link toll road were the main reasons the company in March downgraded its profit forecast by $256 million.

Its shares added 2.73 per cent in early trade to $16.20.

10.20am: The mining sector is holding the market in positive territory. The materials sub index is 1.6 per cent higher, and the only other sub index trading in positive territory is financials with a gain of 0.16 per cent. The rest are lower:

  • Health: -1.42
  • Utilities: -1.27%
  • Consumer staples: -0.77%
  • Consumer disc.: -0.65%
  • Info tech: -0.43%

10.14am: The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 4.3 points, or 0.10 per cent, at 4394.3, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 3.6 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 4413.8.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was up one point at 4393, with 16,856 contracts traded.

10.12am: A much weaker open than many were expecting. Most of the optimism about the Fed's announcement of QE3 late last week could have picked up on Friday.

10.09am: As expected the big miners are strongly higher - BHP has added 2.5 per cent and Rio is up 2.8 per cent. The big banks are higher too, with NAB, CBA and ANZ gaining about 0.2 per cent and Wesptac up 1.3 per cent. Telstra has added 0.8 per cent and Wesfarmers is 1.6 per cent.

10.06am: Early take - Shares up 0.3 per cent as the market opens.

10.02am: Fortescue Metals Group, on a trading halt since Friday, is due to update the market by tomorrow on talks with lenders to restructure its debt, after it slammed the brakes on $9 billion expansion, slashed jobs and sold a power station to shore up funding due to weak iron ore prices.

Here's the latest from this morning's newspaper by Paddy Manning, the company could be forced to sell assets including two more power stations, three airports, 11,000 accommodation units and $2.5 billion worth of mining equipment.

9.58am: Where is the ASX200 headed today? Add you vote to this morning's poll. And drop any thoughts or observations into the comments field. Play nice.

9.55am: And now for a few words from Warren Buffett:

“Today I had my 44th and last day of radiation. I’ll be feeling the side-effects for a few weeks yet, but I am so glad to say that’s over,” the billionaire investor told newspaper executives, according to a report on the Omaha World-Herald’s website yesterday.

Mr Buffett said in April that he was diagnosed with stage one prostate cancer and that he would begin a two-month treatment of daily radiation in July that would limit his travel. He said at the Berkshire annual meeting in May that the diagnosis is a “minor event” and that he feels “terrific’’.

“What I have is not that serious, it has the word ‘cancer’ in it and that tends to alarm people,” Mr Buffett told Bloomberg Television on May 5.

9.51am: Commonwealth Securities chief analyst Craig James said it would be disappointing if the Australian market opened only 20 points higher given its strong overseas leads and he predicted gains of around 30 to 40 points.

"I think the futures expectations is underestimating the gains that we may see," he said.

"The economic data in the US was more mixed than anything but generally its been pretty encouraging. Commodity prices have been higher and there's not much to focus on this week. 

9.47am: Here's a note from Suncorp's Daryl Conroy on the dollar and the price of iron ore, which managed to edge back above $US100 on Friday.

Even though the price of key commodities have fallen sharply (iron ore below) the Aussie dollar manages to hold-on and even made a near six month high last week on the euphoria surrounding quantitative easing.  A couple of observations.

Firstly, the Aussie dollar has risen sharply from its lows of May, but remains in a downtrend since the July 2011 peak.  Secondly, the iron ore price has seen a much needed recovery to be a smidge above the US$100 per tonne, which greatly improves the break-even for miners like Fortescue.

9.43am: In economics news today, we've got new motor vehicle sales from the ABS at 11.30am. Making news this week:

  • Tuesday: RBA board minutes for September monetary policy meeting
  • Wednesday: Westpac leading index for July. David Jones full-year result - expected to report a profit slump of as much as 40 per cent
  • Friday: Conference Board leading index for July

9.39am: In company news this week, David Jones reports full-year profits on Wednesday and is expected to report a profit slump of as much as 40 per cent. Analysts will be watching for information on a turnaround strategy for the troubled department store chain.

9.37am: UBS interest rate strategist Matthew Johnson said bond markets in Australia and the US were weakening on the back of the Fed’s announcement, early Friday morning (AEST).

‘‘Bonds are toast,’’ he said.

‘‘We are in the grip of a sell-off that has a fair bit of momentum. Much the same happened after QE1 and QE2. Those sell-offs were over 100 basis points in the US 10-year Treasury bonds and perhaps we’re halfway through one of those at the moment.’’

At 8.30 AEST, the September 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.675 (implying a yield of 3.325 per cent), down from 96.805 (3.195 per cent) on Friday. The September three-year bond futures contract was at 97.175 (2.825 per cent), down from 97.300 (2.700 per cent).

9.35am: The Australian Financial Review is this morning reporting that surfwear company Rip Curl is up for sale. The AFR says Rip Curl is considering a partial or full sale of the business "which is understood to have suffered a decline in profits similar to Billabong International".

9.32am: Offshore markets closed out last week in bullish mood, with Wall Street about 0.5 per cent higher and European markets more than 2 per cent higher. Australian shares are expected to follow.

For a comprehensive look at this morning’s business news, check today’s need2know. Here are this morning’s key market links:

9.30am: Good morning everyone. Hope you had a great weekend. Welcome to the Markets Live blog for Monday.

Contributors: Thomas Hunter, Peter Litras, Jens Meyer

This blog is not intended as investment advice

BusinessDay with agencies