The market is up 22. The SFE Futures were unchanged this morning.

The Dow closed down 45 having been up 20 and was hurt by a last minute selling burst. The S&P 500 held above 1400 and is up 11.6% this Q. Nasdaq managed a small gain — Technology stocks continue to support the market this year (Apple, Google). Home sales numbers in line (last months upgraded). Bond yields fell for a second day — down 2-6bp. UK and German markets up small. The gold price was up $3.30 to $1650.30. Oil was up to $107.27 a barrel. The Aussie dollar was down buying 104.51¢.

Main points:

  • Sigma Pharmaceuticals (SIP) reported a full year profit of $49.2m up 121% from a loss of $235.4m. The result was better than the $45.1m expected. Major reforms to the government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme are expected to dampen sales, but SIP said it will respond with further cost reductions.
  • BlueScope Steel (BSL) has announced it will setup two businesses to focus on growth. Of the divisions, BlueScope Global Building Solutions will include the company’s North American pre-engineered buildings and the other division will be called BlueScope Building Products and will include metal coating, painting and roll-forming businesses in North America.
  • Brickworks (BKW) delivered an interim profit of $54.1m down 54% from $117.1m after challenging market conditions and significant restructuring activities. The result reflected further deterioration of housing activity with approvals down 17%. Interim dividend of 13.5c.
  • David Jones (DJS) after reporting a 20% fall in profit yesterday is trying to turn things around and has plans to hire another 300 staff. A hundred of them in supervisory roles to improve operations, and the remainder will be new and innovative front line roles. DJS has said it is looking to create a more interactive experience for shoppers to entice them into their stores.
  • Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) is considering listing its underdeveloped magnetite assets in Hong Kong or Shanghai. At the moment the company is very well funded and is considering this as a longer term move.
  • Oroton Group (ORL) which reported a 4% increase in profit yesterday, is looking to take advantage of distressed retail brands. The company said it is keen on acquiring a brand that can be rolled out alongside Oroton in Asia over time. One such brand is Mimco, which was previously valued at over $80m. ORL might look to raise funds to preserve balance sheet strength.

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