The Dow Jones closed down 12 overnight. The Dow was up 53 at best and down 74 at worst. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ both closed in positive territory. A quiet session with most company results beating earnings expectations. Microsoft announced an impressive result and was up 3.5% in after hours trade. Advance US GDP for the 3rd Q is released tonight. The US dollar struggled with the $A now at 97.84c, up from 97.21c. Metals were mostly up, oil price put on 24c to $82.18 and Gold was the biggest mover — up $19.90 to $1342.50.

Today’s main points…

  • Macquarie Group (MQG) — Good results and maintained guidance — 1st H profit down 16% to $403m. Management hinted last month that 1st H profit could be down as much as 25% to $360m. They reiterated their FY guidance which was a positive considering analysts’ expected management to downgrade FY earnings by around 11%. MQG up 4.1% to 3596c.
  • Whitehaven Coal (WHC) up 6.4% to 680c after telling shareholders this morning at its AGM it has been in discussions with outside parties regarding a merger.
  • Toll Holdings (TOL) — down 11c to 620c — Held its AGM today and departing CEO Paul Little said trading conditions in Australian remain flat but offshore operations are doing well.
  • Qantas (QAN) — up 1c to 289c — Also held its AGM today. Told shareholders the recovery remains patchy but is flowing through to international business. Challengers remain in UK and US.
  • Origin Energy (ORG) — down 3c to 1621c — Reiterated its underlying profit growth expectations of 15% at its AGM this morning.
  • Crane Group (CRG) told shareholders FY net profit (before significant items) will be up around 5%. 1st sales were up 5%. CRG down 3.5% to 762c.
  • QBE Insurance (QBE) has named John Neal as its new CEO of global underwriting operations. QBE up 7c to 1728c.
  • AWE Ltd (AWE) has appointed ex ROC Oil Chief Bruce Clement as its new CEO. AWE up 2c to 152c.
  • Hills Industries (HIL) — down 3.6% to 211c after announcing an earnings downgrade.
  • Gunns (GNS)down 8% to 67c after they also announced a profit downgrade. Strong $A did most of the damage.
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly highs include: M2 Telecommunication (MTU), Sedgman (SDM).
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly lows include PGA, BSL, CRG and TZN

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