The market is up 28 points. The Dow Jones was up 63 points at 16,606
-- The market rose on the open and maintained its strength throughout the day. Support came from earnings reports from major retailers GAP (reported after market on Thursday), Foot Locker and Gamestop which all beat expectations and good home sales data. Volume was light ahead of a long weekend for Memorial Day and the market traded in a 69 point range.
US economic data was positive --
new homes sales were above expectations but the median house price fell 1.3% year-on-year, the second year-over-year decline in three months. Prices for new home price have grown faster than existing home prices in recent years, leading to large increase in the new home price premium.
European share markets were mixed
-- The German DAX rose 0.48% and the French CAC rose 0.33%. But the UK FTSE was down 0.37%. European markets quiet ahead of EU parliamentary elections over the weekend.
The Aussie dollar was stronger
and is currently trading at US92.34c.
Gold fell US$3.30
or 0.25% to US$1291.70 an ounce.
Base metals were stronger
-- Aluminium rose 1.05%, copper rose 0.89% and zin rose 0.25% but nickel was down 0.51%.
Iron ore fell
US$1.30 to US$97.50 a tonne.
-- Foot Locker – up 1.56%.
- Santos (STO) -- Has announced its first shipment of LNG from the $US19 billion PNG LNG project. The ship has left carrying cargo bound for Japan. Production from the second train has also started. It’s a successful completion and positive for the company. Santos has a 13.5% interest in the PNG project. Other companies include ExxonMobil (operator) and Oil Search (OSH).
- SAI Global (SAI) -- Has announced that it has received an unsolicited, indicative, conditional and non-binding proposal from Pacific Equity Partners Pty Limited (PEP) to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares in the Company through a recommended scheme of arrangement for an indicative price in the range of 510c-525c. The company has also appointed Andrew Dutton as Executive Chairman.
- Invocare (IVC 1069) -- Closed -0.47% last Friday following its AGM. It provided an update on results since the 2013 year end saying the lower volume trend experience from May 2013 has continued into early 2014 and market share has remained flat since Dec 2013 (but down on PCP). Net debt was $236 million and full year capex is expected to be approximately $20 million.
- Insurance Australia Group (IAG 583c) -- Closed +0.69% last Friday. The company provided an update on the implementation of their new Australian opening model. The new model will create a more customer focused and efficient organisation, with two customer-facing divisions -- Personal Insurance and Commercial Insurance -- supported by a new Enterprise Operations division.