The market is down 9. The SFE Futures were up 11 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 34 overnight helped by an afternoon rally. Dow up 35 at best and down 36 at worst. Oil price took a breather, down 16c to $71.42 and Gold up $10.90. The Aussie dollar was up again to 84.42c. US market is up 15% in three weeks.

In the news today…

  • AXA Asia Pacific (AXA) results in line with expectations — announced a 1H profit of $270.4m, up 187% from $94.2m last year but said operating earnings fell 13% to $255.5m. The market expected $265m, UBS Warburg $259.9m and GSJB Were $272m. Price up 5.1%. Relief that they didn’t cut the dividend as some brokers expected. Cautious outlook.
  • BHP Billiton has appointed Jac Nasser as its new Chairman. He is renowned for his experience in takeovers and cost cutting measures. He will replace Don Argus. BHP has told the Diggers and Dealers conference this morning that iron ore sales are stable despite uncertainty in the market. BHP up 4 to 3888c.
  • David Jones — 4Q sales numbers — Up 0.6% on year to $512.3m, JP Morgan expected a 2% rise. Like-for-like sale were down 1.2%. Reaffirmed 2H after tax-profit growth of between 20-30% and reiterates a 8-12% rise in FY profit. Price down 7.6%. Patersons query paying 16.5x for the stock.
  • Hills Industries (HIL) announces a 79.9% fall in FY net profit to $9.5m after one off items and not helped by higher steel prices and a rising A$. Revenue increased 2.2% to $1.21bn. It expects a “modest” improvement in operating profit this year. In a trading halt whilst they do a $50m capital raising.
  • Goodman Group (GMG) in a trading halt. It will make an announcement on “capital management initiatives” expected to include a $1.2bn share issue and a $500m pref issue to China Investment Corp. Last traded at 49c.
  • Ten Network (TEN) is out of its trading halt and down 3c to 122.5c. It has received praise from brokers this morning after its placement was heavily oversubscribed. One broker upped it to Neutral from Underweight and upped its target price to 125c from 85c.
  • Macquarie CountryWide Trust (MCW) announced it has completed the first phase of its US portfolio sale process. It achieved a gross value of $921.6m.
  • ANZ Bank (ANZ) — One broker cuts to neutral from Outperform saying it is now expensive relative to its peers.

In other news…

  • GrainCorp (GNC) has hit an 11 month high of 840c and is up 12% since Friday’s close. It announced a profit upgrade on Monday. JP Morgan upped its target price to 880c from 800c.
  • Citi has upped its target price on BlueScope (BSL) to 340c from 300c, OneSteel (OST) to 300c from 200c and Sims Metal (SGM) to 2350c from 1700c.
  • JP Morgan expects WorleyParsons (WOR) to announce a FY normalized net profit of $395.1m, up 15% on last years result.
  • The performance of services index fell 6.1 points in July to 44.1 points as discretionary spending fell.
  • Domino Pizza Enterprises (DMP), G.U.D Holdings (GUD), Tox Free Solutions (TOX) and Navitas (NVT) have all hit a fresh year highs today.

The Dow Futures are down 9 at midday.

MARCUS PADLEY is the Author of the MARCUS TODAY Daily Stockmarket Newsletter.

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