The market is up 7. The SFE Futures were down 9 this morning.

Wall Street closed down 57 on Friday. Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 closed down for the second consecutive week. The S&P 500 is now 12% off its high for the year and the Dow is down 9%. Continued worries about the US economy will be crystallised this Friday when they release the GDP 2nd Q estimate which is forecast to be downgraded from 2.4% to 1.4%. Metals were mostly down, oil price fell 97c to $73.46, Gold fell $6.60 to $1228.80 and the Aussie dollar dropped to 88.73c from 89.21c.

Busy day on the results front…

  • Westpac Bank (WBC) — 3rd QTrading Update — Cash profit up 27% to $1.4bn, up from $1.1bn last year. They increase their Tier 1 capital ratio to 8.9% from 8.6% as of March. The numbers appear to have been helped more by falling bad debt charges rather than higher revenues. WBC underperforming the rest of the banks down 52c or 2.3% to 2213c.
  • Caltex (CTX) — H1 operating profit halved to $149m due to the higher Australian dollar and planned maintenance shutdowns. This was in line with earlier guidance of $130m-$150m. The interim dividend of 30c is above some estimates of 26c.  CTX up 14c to 1036c.
  • Boart Longyear (BLY) — reported H1 net profit of $32.7m, up from last year’s $5.4m loss and above consensus estimates of US$27.9m. Cautious outlook statement. BLY down 13c to 304c.
  • Challenger Financial Services (CGF) up 10.2% to 388c. Reported a full year net profit of $282.5m, up from last year’s $90.7m loss and above the consensus forecast of $271m.
  • Foster’s Group (FGL) up 6% to 616c after the London’s Times newspaper reported SABMiller is eyeing a £7bn bid for FGL’s beer division which could cause the demerger of the Fosters wine and beer divisions sooner rather than later. FGL says they are not aware of any unannounced information.
  • Ansell (ANN) reported a 1.6% drop in full-year net profit, falling to $119.4m, from $121.4m a year earlier but this was above analysts’ expectations of $101m. Declared a final dividend of 17.5c, up from 16c previously and above the 15c forecast by analysts. ANN up 3.45% to 1320c.
  • Murchison Metals (MMX) said their Oakajee Port and Rail JV with Mitsubishi Corp has signed non-binding agreements with three potential founding customers. MMX up 3.1% to 162c.
  • Both Lihir Gold (LGL) and Newcrest Mining (NCM) in a Trading Halt. NCM last traded at 3578c and LGL at 443c. LGL shareholders will vote to approve the NCM takeover today.
  • Talk of private equity groups looking at Primary Health Care (PRY). PRY recently hit a seven year low. PRY up 12c to 320c.
  • Notable stocks going ex-dividend today include Telstra (14c) and Woodside Petroleum (54.6c).

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