How to boost your share price while announcing a 20% fall in profit and having to borrow money to cover the dividend payment: promise bright lights at the end of the tunnel after letting the market think it could have been worse.

That certainly worked for Telstra this morning. The ordinary shares ran as high $4.50 while the T3s touched a heady $3.06 and were holding above the $3 mark on our deadline.

As the Shaw Stockbroking coverage noted early, Telstra says the 20 per cent profit fall to $1.7 billion for the December half was affected by “transformation” costs and other one-off factors that would be more than made up in the second half.

CEO Trujillo reckons positive earnings growth would recommence in the second half, lifting his EBIT growth guidance to between 37 and 40 per cent and full-year revenue growth by 100 basis points to between 2.5 and 3 per cent.

The action by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) could see members of the company’s previous board of directors, including current chairman Meredith Hellicar, banned from managing listed companies.

Just when James Hardie thought it might have put the worst of the asbestos behind it…

Liz Knight canvassed the issues neatly in the Smage yesterday – ASIC boss Jeff Lucy left it to the last minute to file his action.

You don’t think he was just being cruel, do you?

Peter Fray

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