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The Australian sharemarket is bouncing back from Thursday’s decline, with the ASX 200 up 0.8 per cent to 6,819.5. Local stocks are improving for the fourth time in five days and are up ~3.3 per cent this week (best week in close to two months).

With the exception of losses from mining stocks and utilities, all other sectors are improving at lunch.

South32 (S32) is down 3.3 per cent after having its plans to expand a major coal mine near Wollongong in NSW rejected due to risks to greater Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

Crown (CWN) is up 1 per cent after planning to reopen its hotel, food and beverage facilities (with certain restrictions in place) on 6 February in Perth. CWN said it will keep the Perth casino operations closed through to 14 February.

The profit reporting season continues, with both REA Group (REA) and News Corp (NWS) posting earnings.

REA Group (REA) is up 3 per cent with property listings jumping by 13 per cent over the first half thanks to a stronger property market. REA’s net profit jumped by 17 per cent to $173.4m while the company behind www.realestate.com.au has raised its dividend by 7 per cent to 59c.

News Corp (NWS) is the best improver, lifting by ~12.5 per cent after pleasing the market with its latest quarterly results. Digital advertising dollars improved strongly, book publishing revenue rose by 23 per cent, while it experienced double digit revenue growth for its digital property segment.

Magellan (MFG) is up 7.3 per cent after recording a $223m lift in Funds Under Management in January.

On the economic front, retail trade fell by 4.1 per cent in December (survey: -4.2 per cent). The RBA Governor, Phillip Lowe reiterated comments made in a speech on Wednesday and RBA Board meeting on Tuesday. The RBA will continue to take action to help boost economic activity, lift wages and inflation which it hopes will assist in creating jobs.

4.1bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $2.7bn. 766 stocks are up, 544 down and 349 are slipping.

Published by CommSec