The market is up 37. Dow Jones was up 175 overnight. SFE Futures were up 41 this morning. The Dow was down 20 at worst and up 205 at best on the lightest volume since Feb 14. Six of the 10 Dow Jones sectors were up over 1.0%.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke concluded his bi-annual, two-day testimony before Congress. Bernanke reiterated the benefits of the Fed’s asset purchase plan, saying he “does not see much evidence of a bubble in the equity market”.

US durable goods orders were down 5.2% in January, mostly accounted for by a sharp fall in aircraft orders. Excluding transportation, orders were better than expected up 1.9%. Capital goods orders non-defence and excluding aircraft jumped up by 6.3% — the biggest gain since December 2011. US pending home sales were up 4.5% in January.

Best sectors –industrials (+1.8%), basic materials (+1.7%), and financials (+1.6%).

European markets up — UK FTSE up 0.88%, German DAX up 1.04%, France up 1.92%, Spain up 1.95%, Italy up1.77%. Eurozone sentiment surveys all improved further in February.

Australia’s new private capital expenditure numbers were weaker than expected — fell 1.2% in the December quarter the median market forecast was for a rise of 1%.

The HIA New Home Sales report saw new home sales up by 4.2% in January.

  • Woolworths (WOW) — Net profit $1.15 billion up 19% with the underlying profit up 4% and broadly in line with a consensus forecasts. Progress on their cost cutting strategy led to strong profit growth. Interim dividend of 62c. Financial year 2013 underlying profit expected to grow 4%-6% up from previous guidance of 3-6%. Retail sector remains challenging. WOW is up 1.41% to 3446c.
  • Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) — NPAT of $52.3 million up 30.8% and above a forecast $44.3 million. Interim dividend of 6c up 50%. TWE is up 5.51% to 517c.
  • Perpetual (PPT) — Underlying profit of $35.5m up 2% and above an expected $33.7 million. NPAT of $27.3 million up 19%. Interim dividend of 50c unchanged. Guidance for NPAT to be between $38 million to $41 million. PPT is up 4.71% to 4138c.
  • Challenger (CGF) — Underlying NPAT of $151 million was in line with expectations. Normalised NPAT of $149 million up 17%. Interim dividend of 9.5c up 7.5c. Guidance FY13 for retail net book growth of $500 million implying $2.1 billion of sales. CGF is up 0.55% to 364c.
  • Aurora Oil & Gas (AUT) — NPAT of $US59 million up 92%. Revenue of $US295 million up 293%. Production 3.9mmboe up 274%. AUT is up 3.96% to 380.5c.
  • Gindalbie Metals (GBG) — Net loss of $30.8 million. George Jones to retire as chairman. GBG is up 2% to 25.5c.
  • Independence Group NL (IGO) — NPAT of $16.498 million up 111.4% below an expected $20 million. Fully franked dividend of 1c. IGO is down 0.88% to 449c.
  • Blackmores (BKL) – Net profit of $13.56 down 4.8%, which was below expectations. BKL is down 13.09% to 2982c.

Peter Fray

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