The market is down 38. Dow Jones was down 216 overnight. SFE Futures were down 54 this morning.

The Dow was down 217 at worst and up 81 at best as attention shifted to an inconclusive election in the Italy — the eurozone’s third largest economy, in which Silvio  Berlusconi put in a better showing than expected. The financial markets are hoping for a Luigi Bersani government that would continue the Mario Monti reforms. It looks like Italians will have to go to the polls again in a few weeks. A hung parliament is a recipe for policy inertia.

While Democratic Party candidate Pier Luigi Bersani was the winner in the Chamber of Deputies vote, Berlusconi looks to have achieved a blocking minority in the Senate. This is important because in Italy both houses of parliament have equal powers.

Worst sectors — Financials (-2.7%), energy (-2.5%), basic materials (-2.4%) and industrials (-2.0%).

European market up — UK FTSE up 0.31%, German DAX up 1.45%, France up 0.41%, Spain up 0.8%, Italy up 0.73%.

Metals mixed — Copper down 0.75%, nickel up 2.08%, zinc down 0.9% aluminium down 1.45%. Spot iron ore is down $2.60 to $153.60.

  • QBE Insurance Group (QBE) — NPAT up 8% to $US761 million, below a forecast of $US820 million. Insurance profit margin 8%. Final dividend cut to 10c. Guidance lowered and dividend payout ratio lowered threatening its attractions as an income stock. QBE is down 2.84% to 1266c.
  • Ramsay Health Care (RHC) — Net profit of $148 million, up 10.1% and in line with a forecast $149 million. Interim dividend of 29c. Financial year guidance for core net profit growth upgraded to 13%-15% from 10%-12%. RHC is down 0.75% to 3035c.
  • Atlas Iron (AGO) — Underlying net loss of $1 million above an expected loss of $6 million. Statutory net loss of $256 million. The company booked a non cash impairment charge of $258 million. Interim dividend of 3c. AGO is down 4.38% to 153c.
  • Flight Centre (FLT) — NPAT up 13% to $91.8 million but below an expected $103 million. Income margin steady at 13.9%. Fully franked dividend of 46c. EBIT up 10.8% to $124.8 million. FLT is down 3.9% to 3103c.
  • Seven Group Holdings (SVW) — Interim dividend up 2c to 20c. Underlying net profit of $235.1 million up 39% above an expected $208.7 million. The company says group underlying NPAT for 2013 financial year will be up 10%-20% on the pcp. SVW is up 2.39% to 1030c.
  • Oil Search (OSH) — Financial year net profit of $US175.8 million, down 13% but above an expected $US170.7 million. Final dividend US 2c. The 2013 financial year production expected to be in the range 6.2-6.7mboe. OSH is down 0.67% to 738c.
  • Virigin Australia (VAH) — Underlying profit of $61 million, below an expected $65.4 million. NPAT of $23 million down 56%. Expects second-half capacity to rise by 5%-7%. No dividend. VAH is down 4.02% to 41.75c.
  • Whitehaven Coal (WHC) — Net loss of $47 million compared with the $19.88 million profit in the pcp. WHC is down 2.17% to 293.5c.

Peter Fray

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