The market is down 11. The SFE Futures were up 20 this morning.
The Dow Jones closed up 62 on Friday. The S&P 500 closed up 1.1% but had its worst week in 15, down 2.1%. 4th Q GDP was revised downward to 2.8% from 3.2%, while economists had expected growth of 3.3%. The Uni. of Mich. Consumer Sentiment Survey was revised up to 77.5 for February, which is the best reading since January 2008. The oil price gained 60c to $97.88 (peaked at $103 last week), while gold lost $6.50 to $1409.30. The Aussie dollar is at 101.37, up from 100.88c.
Today’s main results…
- QR National (QRN) results beat estimates – H1 net profit of $277.5m, up from a loss of $21.2m in the pcp. Revised post flood guidance for the better. QRN up 4.2%.
- Downer EDI (DOW) – H1 2011 net loss of $104m, in line with estimates. No dividend was declared although widely expected. Downgraded its FY11 guidance largely due the impact of the wet weather. Also announced that it plans to raise $279m on reports of cost blowouts on its $1.9bn Waratah contract. Announced a 1-for-4 renounceable entitlement offer at 325c. In a trading halt, last traded at 392c.
- QBE Insurance (QBE) – Full year profit dropped 17% to $US1.28bn on a “substantial reduction in net investment income due to underperformance of its equity portfolios and lower interest yields”. Company expects an improved profit margin in 2011. QBE will pay a final dividend of 66c, franked at 10%. QBE down 2.1%.
In other news today…
- RBA board member Warwick McKibbin has warned Australia might be caught in an Asian property and commodities markets bubble that could be more damaging than the global financial crisis. The RBA holds its monthly policy meeting tomorrow and is expected to keep the official cash rate on hold at 4.75%.
- Equinox Minerals (EQN) made an unsolicited bid for Canada’s Lundin Mining. EQN in a trading halt – last traded at 622c.
- Fortescue Metals (FMG) has discovered a new billion-ton resource south of its Cloudbreak operation. It increases FMG’s resource base by 11.8% to 9.5bn tons. The company says it plans to develop the deposit “as rapidly as possible” and blend it with its Chichester ores around Cloudbreak. FMG up 1.9%.
- Bloomberg has reported that Centro Properties (CNP) has received 3 bids of $US9bn or more for its US assets. The company this morning requested to be placed in a trading halt. Last traded at 15c.
- Sigma Pharmaceuticals (SIP) has upgraded its 2011 guidance due to “solid trading conditions”. They now expect underlying FY11 EBIT to be at the higher end of the $120-130m range. SIP up 3.4%.
- A few fund managers are rumoured to be pushing for Woodside Petroleum (WPL) to undertake a share buyback of Shell’s remaining 24%, but rival Chevron may look to buy in. WPL up 1%.
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