Markets: Stocks to watch at the open

The taper delay and a rising Australian dollar hit QBE, while interest in mining services may be waning.

QBE Insurance Group

The falling US Treasury 10-year bond yield has sent QBE Insurance Group’s share price down in the last six sessions. Overnight the Treasury yield gained 6 basis points to close at 2.75 per cent. 

Also adding to QBE’s woes is a strengthening Australian dollar. Comments from Reserve Bank of Australia’s board member, John Edwards has suggested the currency is too high.

Strengthening bond yields and the prospect of a weaker dollar are favourable to QBE. But there remains risk over the long term and these measures can change quickly, disrupting investor views of the company.

It has lost 5.3 per cent since Wednesday last week, closing at $14.70 yesterday.

Mining services

It has been a mixed week for mining service contractors, suggesting reignited interest across the sector could be fading. NRW Holdings Limited and Transfield Services have lost 6.37 per cent and 7.06 per cent over the last five days of trade respectively.

Confidence over commodity prices and new contract offerings has been supportive to the sector, but interest appears to be fading for some companies.

Companies with only a small exposure to the mining sector are faring much better – these include Lend Lease Group, Downer EDI Limited and Bradken Limited.

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