The market is down 41 having been up 29 early on. No obvious reason for the pitiful performance — the budget is largely irrelevant, the story is that the prospect of a further fall in the A$ is seeing international equity investors sell to avoid the currency risk. Resources hit the worst with the sector down 2.6% with some headlines about Chinese growth concerns. ASX 200 Futures were up 30 this morning. A profit warning from UGL has flattened the mining services sector (MND down 6.8%, UGL down 14.2% with fears of other warnings in the sector).

Dow Jones finished up 124 overnight. Financial stocks were the strongest performers with the sector up 1.7%. The Dow was down 2 at worst and closed on its highs. The US NFIB business optimism index was 92.1 which was better than a forecast of 89.8 and the previous reading of 89.5.

According to Redbook Research, Year-on-year sales at chain stores (Retail sales) were up 2.8% in the latest week, up from 2.3%. The eurozone industrial production reading was -1.7%, which was better than an expected -2.1% and the previous reading of -3.2%.

Fitch Ratings agency has upgraded its rating for Greece from CCC to B-minus.

  • CBA — Third quarter trading update broadly in line — CBA lifted its third-quarter profit by 12% to $1.9 billion up from $1.75 billion and is on track to beat last year’s financial year cash profit of $7.1 billion. The result was broadly in line with an expected $1.92 billion consensus forecast. The bank was able to increase its net interest margin in part by not passing on rate cuts over the last two years. It said business credit growth remained slow during the quarter and that its margins in that area were largely flat. Total impaired assets were unchanged from the end of 2012 at $4.3 billion . CBA is down 0.18% to 7196c.
  • UGL (UGL) — Has announced another profit warning and expects profit for FY2013 to be between $90 million-$100 million. They have blamed the continued slowdown in capital investment in Australia, cost management initiatives of the major miners and project underperformance. Stock is down 15.88% in early trade. The profit warning comes only two months ago when they gave guidance for FY profit to be between $150 million-$160 million. It gave the market a promise that it was “well positioned to resume growth, they had a record order book, commitment to cost discipline and risk management initiatives. They will resume growth and create long term value”.
  • SP Ausnet (SPN) — Financial year profit above consensus — Has posted a 9.5% rise in profit to $279.1 million above an expected $260 million. Financial year revenue rose 6.8% to $1.64 billion. Final dividend was 4.1c as expected. Revenue growth was underpinned by the electricity unit, where revenue was up 9.1% running ahead of a 7% rise in gas unit revenues. SPN is up 1.56% to 130c.
  • Sims Metal Management (SGM) —  Has given an update on the impact of its UK fraud operations. The company has added further inventory writedowns totaling $115 million of inventory and landfill provisions in the UK. This comes on top of provisions totaling $354 million. SGM is down 4.87% to 1036c.

Peter Fray

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