The market is up 25 having been up 40 first thing. Dow Jones was up 116 overnight. SFE Futures were up 29 this morning.
The Dow was up 134 at best on above average volume. Main drivers were good economic data, a testimony from the Fed chairman and the hung election in Italy. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has said that he expects the quantitative easing asset purchase program to continue as indicated — that offset a European sell-off on uncertainty about the inconclusive Italian election result. The Italian MIB index was down 4.89%. Good US economic numbers — US consumer confidence was up from 58.4 to a three-month high of 69.6 in February. The Case-Shiller home price index was up 0.9% in December, while the FHFA home price measure was up 0.6%. Best sectors: basic materials (+1.1%), energy (+0.9%), consumer services (+0.8%) and telecoms (+0.8%).
European markets down — UK FTSE down 1.34%, German DAX down 2.27%, France down 2.67%, Spain down 3.2%, Italy down 4.89%.
- Westfield Group (WDC) — Net profit of $1.72 billion, up 18%. Funds from operations $1.47 billion, up 0.3% and in line with expectations. Final dividend of 24.75c. WDC is up 0.59% to 1114.5c.
- Wesfield Retail Trust (WRT) — Delivered earnings inline with estimates — $572.6 million v $572.7 million. Final distribution of 9.5cps. WRT is up 1.11% to 317.5c.
- Wotif.com Holdings (WTF) — Net profit of $27.5 million, down 5% and below a consensus forecast of $29.6 million. Group accommodation revenue margin was 12%. Fully franked dividend of 11.5c – unchanged. There were 1.89 million accommodation bookings, compared to 1.91 million last year. Total revenue of $73.2 million down 1%. WTF down 8.05%.
- AGL Energy (AGK) — Net profit of $364.7 million. Underlying net profit of $279.4 million, up 20% and above an expected $272 million. Dividend of 30c. Financial year underlying profit guidance of $590 million to $640 million. AGK is up 3.85% to 1577.5c.
- James Hardie (JHX) — Reported after market Wednesday. Net operating profit of $US31.5 million in the third quarter, up from a loss of $US4.8 million. Downgraded earnings guidance. JHX is up 1.5% to 949c.
- Sydney Airport (SYD) — Net profit of $179.2 million. Final distribution of 10cps. SYD is up 1.27% to 318c.
- UGL – Underlying net profit of $51 million below an expected $76.6 million. Reported NPAT $26 million down 53%.Dividend of 34c. Underlying NPAT of $150–160 million expected in FY2013. UGL is down 3.03% to 1057c.
- BC Iron (BCI) — Net profit of $7.7 million, up 40%. Interim dividend 5c. JV Iron ore sales to double to 2.3m tonnes. Company expects stronger 2H earnings on iron ore bounce. BCI is down 2.75% to 389c.
- Slater & Gordon (SGH) – NPAT of $15.6 million up 61.3%. EBITDA of $26.4 million up 60.3%. Dividend of 2.75c. SGH is up 2.12% to 241c.
- Finbar Group (FRI) – Net profit of $14.07 million. On track to exceed 2012 financial year $28.3 million net profit