AGM season kicks off with Telstra today, with job cuts and share prices to defend.
The market isup 13 points.Dow Jones closed up 64 points to 15,301 — US stocks recovered from early falls to end higher on signs a deal can be reached on the budget crisis before the debt ceiling is breached on October 17. The US government remains in partial shutdown with hundreds of thousands of employees on unpaid leave.
The S&P 500 closed up 7 to 1710, less that 1% from its highs.
US bond markets were closed due to Columbus Day holiday.
Gold recovered slightly, up US$3.90 to US$1272.10 per ounce as the debt ceiling deadline approached.
VIX volatility index was up 2.23% to 16.07, but remains well below the high of 21 reached last Wednesday.
European industrial productionrose 1.0% in August, above expectations and the strongest gain in more than two years.
European bonds were flat — with the exception ofGreek 10 year yields which fell a further 19 basis points to 8.67%.
No US economic data but markets reacting to last week’s Chinese trade data and decline in exports.
The US$ was little changed against major currencies.
The Aussie dollarrose, reaching a high of US95.05 before falling to US94.89c.
Oil prices rose — up slightly on strong Chinese import data which shower higher oil imports.
Base metal prices were mixed — Lead was up 1.32% but Aluminium fell after recent strength.
RESULTS & STORIES
Telstra AGM today (TLS) — All pretty upbeat but not very specific — “It is an exciting time for Telstra, and we see a brilliant connected future for the company.” It has actively defended its job cuts saying productivity remains its main focus, while the public sector union protested outside against jobs being sent overseas. CEO David Thodey says it intends to capitalise on the massive opportunities for quality goods and services brought about by the rise of Asia’s middle class. Moving onto the NBN, he said the new Federal Government intends to modify the design of the NBN, using a variety of technologies to deliver the FTTN. The move could result in the renegotiation of some aspects of the Definitive Agreements. There was no mention of Telstra $11 billion payment. Dividend — 8c per share which represents a 91% earnings payout. Outlook — Telstra is forecasting low single digit income and EBITDA growth, with free cash-flow between $4.6 billion and $5.1 billion. Capex to be around 15% of sales.
Tabcorp (TAH) — Revenue for the September quarter was up more than 3% to $503.9 million, despite tough trading conditions. Total wagering revenue was up 5.4%. The company’s previous year comparison was affected by the reduction (from 75% to 50%) in Tabcorp’s share of its HJV with the VRI, which came into effect on August 16, 2012.
Cochlear (COH) — AGM — Has forecast profit to remain flat this year. Net profit in the year to June is expected to be around the same level as $132.6 million last year. It expects lower foreign exchange hedge revenues in financial year 2014 but will keep interim and final dividends at 127c a share.
OZ Minerals shares closed down 9.32% yesterday after the miner issued a production downgrade saying it will miss its financial year copper production forecast for the second time this year.
iSelect (ISU) — closed up 8.33% yesterday following the sudden departure of CEO Matt McCann less than four months since listing, supposedly due to disagreements with the board. The company reaffirmed earnings forecasts of $30 million.
Rio Tinto (RIO) — Third quarter production numbers out today — UBS is expecting RIO’s iron ore sales to exceed production after an inventory build up in the second quarter. RIO said that iron ore shipments in August 2013 were 22.8Mt or at a rate of 269Mtpa. The miner is looking to ramp up to 290 million tonnes per annum of production.