The market is down 20. The SFE Futures were down 12 this morning.

The Dow closed down 27 after being down as much as 51 and up 12. European markets were also lower. Chinese and euro zone manufacturing PMI was disappointing. US existing home sales were lower than expected. Fitch cut Greece’s debt rating, saying a default is highly likely (?!). The gold price was up $19 to $1777.50, jumping to a three-month high on talk of another round of quantitative easing (inflationary). The Aussie dollar has fallen to its lowest level in a month at 106.32¢ after the resignation of Kevin Rudd and with a leadership challenge in prospect. Financial stocks were worst, down 1.3% in the US, while energy and utility stocks ended the day slightly higher. Metals were up on the LME. The oil price is flat at $106.28.

Main points:

  • Origin Energy (ORG) – Interim net profit $794m compared to a loss of $136m last year. Underlying profit up 61% to $489m above consensus of $449m on the back of higher oil and gas prices and an absence of impairment charges. ORG is up 1.9% to 1404c.
  • Virgin Aus Holdings (VAH) 1st H profit up 117% to $51.8m. EBIT up 31.9% to $127.5m. Better figures helped by strike action at rival Qantas (QAN). Underlying pre-tax profit rose 34% to $96.1m beating $63.4m consensus. VAH is up 4.7% to 38c.
  • Insurance Australia (IAG) interim net profit down 10.6% to $144m but well above an expected $110m after a lower than expected $396m in claims from natural disasters. IAG confirmed its previous insurance margin guidance. IAG is up 8.2% to 313.5c.
  • Iluka Resources (ILU) FY net profit rose 1,401% to $541.8m after significant increases in product prices. Final dividend of 55c. No guidance given but expects costs to rise and production to fall.  ILU is down 4.3% to 1668c.
  • Ramsay Health Care (RHC) interim net profit up 22.3% to $125.6m below the expected $130m. Core earnings per share up 12.8% to 60.8c in line with consensus. Interim dividend 25.5c. RHC plans to invest $100m per year in brownfields projects. RHC down 0.05%.
  • Toll Holdings (TOL) 1st H profit drops 4% to $158m in line with guidance of $152m. Interim dividend unchanged at 11.5c. Company said retail and industrial sectors remain challenging, but strength in resources activity should drive strong growth. No guidance given. TOL is unchanged on 519c.
  • David Jones (DJS) total sales down 3.1% for 2Q to $598.5m – better than the $557m expected. DJS has launched Australia’s first ever department store – bridal boutique which sells bridal wear. Reaffirmed 1st H profit guidance down 15%-20%. DJS is up 1.5% to 261c.
  • APN News & Media (APN) interim loss of $45.1m compared to a $93.7m profit last year after a $159m impairment charge plus costs associated with restructuring. Underlying profit was $78m in line with guidance. Final dividend of 5c partly franked.  APN is up 2.4% to 84c.

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