The market is down 3, having been up 32 early on. Our Futures were up 21 this morning as the Dow Jones closed up 56 and hit another intra-day record high. The Dow was up 91 at best on below-average volume. Cyprus’ financial future is being negotiated as we write. Positive comments from Bernanke and the FOMC the main overnight driver. Unlike the last meeting, they are committing to leave quantitative easing and monetary policy where it is.
Cyprus remains in “crisis talks” with the ECB and EU, with potentially Russia coming to the rescue. Everyone is trying to, and doubtless will, avoid a banking collapse in Cyprus, which could tighten credit conditions across the whole of Europe, so expect an announcement as early as today they have successfully kicked this can down the street. The existence of weak debtor nations is subsidising the euro and allowing Germany to sell Mercedes-Benz for 20% (?) less than they would sell for in Deutsche Marks. As an export nation the euro structure is essential to German economic health, and while it might appear to play tough, the truth is it is not going to allow anything precipitous to happen.
European markets mixed — UK FTSE down 0.13%, German DAX up 0.68%, France up 1.43%, Spain up 1.15%, Italy up 2.20%.
Metals mixed — copper up 1.21%, nickel up 1.71%, zinc up 0.40%, tin down 1.13%. Spot iron ore down 30c to $134.10. Gold down $5.40 to $1605.90.
< China — HSBC Flash Manufacturing numbers due out 12.45pm today. The consensus forecast is for a number of 50.9
Brickworks (BKW) — Interim result: NPAT up 13.1% to $55.96 million. Revenue up 14.7% to $311.3 million. Interim dividend 13.5c. The company vowed not to waste any more time reviewing its long-standing cross-shareholding with investment vehicle Washington H Soul Pattinson (SOL). BKW is up 1.35% to 1272c.
Premier Investments (PMV) — NPAT of $46.5 million, up 20.7%. Interim dividend of 19c. The company brushed off the retail gloom. No guidance given. PMV is up 2.47% to 789c.
Washington Soul Pattinson (SOL) — NPAT of $74.3 million, down 25%. The fall was attributable to a reduced contribution from New Hope Corp (NHC) and lower special dividend income, which was partly offset by increased contributions from Brickworks (BKW) and TPG Telecom (TPM). Fully franked dividend of 18c up 5.9%. SOL is up 0.94% to 1401c.
Oroton Group (ORL) — NPAT of $16.4 million, up 2.1%. EBITDA of $28.4 million up 0.3%. Like for like sales growth was up 34.7%. Interim dividend of 22c. Overall group revenue grew 2.4% to $101.5m. No specific guidance given but the company says it is cautious but confident in the year ahead. ORL is down 0.66% to 754c.
Sundance Resources (SDL) — Chairman George Jones will fly to China to try and save Sichuan Hanlong’s $1.3 billion takeover bid following media reports that the Hanlong chairman had been taken into police custody. Companies in business with Liu Han are seeking information about his whereabouts and are struggling to find him. SDL shares in suspension.