The market is down 18. The SFE Futures were down 43 this morning.

The Dow closed down 78 and was down as much as 107 on weak economic data out of Europe and China. The S&P 500 closed down 0.7%. European markets were down. Metals were down on the LME. The Aussie dollar dropped to 103.89¢ and reached its lowest level in over 2 months. The gold price was down $7.80 to $1642.50. Utility and Consumer Staple stocks ended the day higher but all other S&P sectors were down. Energy stocks were worst, down 2.26% as the oil price fell $1.92 to $105.35.

Main points:

  • Premier Investments (PMV) delivered an interim profit of $38.5m down 2.4% due to a tough retail environment. The result was roughly in line with an expected $39m. EBIT of $51.3m down 2.3%. Interim dividend of 18c. They reaffirmed full year guidance at the bottom end of $80m-$95m.
  • Woodside Petroleum’s (WPL) Pluto project in WA is finally up and running and first production of LNG is expected within weeks. WPL has said the project has reached ‘ready for start up’ status and the first gas entered the LNG processing train yesterday.
  • QRN National (QRN) has issued a profit warning and says it may miss its full year earnings guidance by as much as 6.6% after strike action at mines and bad weather. Earnings are expected to be between $540m-$580m compared to previous guidance of $578m.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) has let go of its 20-year audit relationship with KPMG who charged $3.5m per year in audit fees. LEI is believe to have replaced KPMG with Deloitte after a late disclosure of write downs in last year’s results saw LEI fined $300,000 last weekend by ASIC. They say KPMG should have made the company disclose financial problems earlier.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) will be prevented from grounding its fleet in future without consulting the government under new regulations recommended by the government. The government is also considering financial penalties and tougher restrictions on the airline.
  • AGL Energy (AGK) has acquired the development rights for the Silverton Wind Farm in NSW through the purchase of 100% of the shares in the company. Silverton wind farm has development approval for 282 wind turbines in Stage 1 and for a further 316 wind turbines. The company has said the transaction demonstrates their ongoing commitment to developing Australia’s leading privately owned portfolio of renewable energy assets.

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