The market is up 3.  The SFE Futures were down 16 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 37 overnight. The Dow was up 24 at best and down 123 at worst. It was the third consecutive down session leaving the Dow down 2.6% this week. Initial unemployment claims fell below the 400,000 level for the second time in three weeks and continuing claims fell from 3.935m to 3.790m. New Home sales down 12.6%. Metals were mixed on the LME, oil price hit $103.24but ended the day down 82c to $97.28c. Gold up $1.80 to $1415.80 closing on its peak. The Aussie dollar fell but is still above parity at 100.88c.

Today’s main results…

  • Woolworths (WOW) said 1st half profit was up by 6% to $1.16bn and said FY profit growth is expected to be in the range of 5-8% and EPS is expected to rise between 6-9%. They also announced the acquisition of Cellarmasters from Archer Capital for $340m. WOW up 21c to 2671c.
  • Harvey Norman (HVN) up 3c to 305c despite announcing that earnings fell 17% to $131.7m. Declared an interim dividend of 6c and said the outlook is positive despite current economic and market headwinds.
  • APN News & Media (APN) announced a FY net profit of $93.8m, up 1.2% on last year. Said overall trading conditions were OK. Their publishing business had been affected by the QLD floods. APN up 0.5c to 171.5c.
  • Iluka Resources (ILU) announced a better than expected earnings result. Up 6.6% to 1055c. Final dividend of 8c.
  • GPT Group (GPT) returned to profit in the 1st half of 2011 and beat earnings guidance on higher asset values. Up 3c to 307c.
  • Crown (CWN) reported a 32.9% rise in first half net profit on a “solid” performance from its Australian non-VIP businesses. Result fell short of consensus expectations. Declared an 18c interim dividend. CWN down 15c to 823c.
  • UXC Ltd (UXC) up 8% to 58c on a better than expected profit result.

In other news today…

  • News Corp (NWS) up 2c to 1764c after announcing they have put MySpace up for sale.
  • Fortescue Metals (FMG) in a trading halt pending an announcement about exploration results. FMG last traded at 650c.
  • Stocks going ex dividend Today: Austin Engineering (3c), Emeco Holdings (2c), OneSteel (6c). Ex dividend on Monday — Amcor (17c), AMP Ltd (15c), AXA Asia Pacific (9.25), ASX Ltd (90.2c), Bendigo and Adelaide (30c), BlueScope Steel (2c), Coca-Cola Amatil (28c), Servcorp (5c), UGL Ltd (32c).

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