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Market higher at noon

Reported by AAP
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Super-rich getting richerThe world's super-rich could actually be wealthier than anyone first thought.

The Australian share market has defied negative offshore leads and a flat opening to post slight gains by noon.

At 1217 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 21.6 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 4,275.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 19.5 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 4,366.5.

On the ASX 24, the June share price index futures contract was pointing to a 25-point rise at 4,289, with 13,617 contracts traded.

US stocks closed mostly lower overnight after a mixed report on existing-home sales showed a rocky but improving recovery in the depressed housing market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.57 points (0.35 per cent), finishing at 13,124.62.

More important data is due out of the US this week, including jobless figures, along with manufacturing data out of China on Thursday.

CMC Markets sales trader Miguel Audencial said that while the US data was worse than expected, seasonal adjustments during the trading day showed the home sales figures were better than first thought.

"The negative reports were over-stated, so, after the market initially opened lower, it recovered quite a bit with bargain hunting," he told AAP.

"Commodity prices are slightly higher as well. Oil is gaining ground from the other day as well.

"The data was not too bad. If you have a look at the big picture there's good employment figures, good consumer sentiment."

In Australia, financial stocks are leading the gains.

Westpac was the strongest performer of the big banks, gaining 22 cents, or 1.05 per cent, to $21.27.

National Australia Bank had found 20 cents to $24.30, ANZ had also improved, by 20 cents to $22.62, and the Commonwealth Bank had climbed 28 cents to $48.91.

Retailer David Jones continued its loss after Wednesday's 11 per cent drop following the announcement its profit had slumped and its release of a new strategy involving increased staff and plans to chase online sales.

The department store chain on Thursday was a further eight cents, or 3.29 per cent, down at $2.35.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals was enjoying a second consecutive bumper day after on Thursday announcing a return to full year profitability due to gains in market share, and that it had paid a special dividend to shareholders as a result.

It was 3.5 cents, or 5.7 per cent, better at 65 cents after a five per cent hike on Wednesday.

Australia's largest brick and tile maker Brickworks said first half net profit had fallen 54 per cent due to challenging market conditions, but it was optimistic about the medium-term outlook.

It was 10 cents lower at $10.45.

Mining giant BHP Billiton had recovered some of its earlier losses to be 13 cents weaker at $34.83.

28/08/2014 15:07Sydney, Australia. 28 August,2014
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