The market is up 5; quiet this morning after US markets were closed overnight for the Memorial Day holiday. The Dow Jones was down 0.33% last week and is up 16.78% for the year.
European markets up — UK FTSE closed for the Spring Bank holiday, Germany up 0.94%, France up 0.97%, Spain up 1.20%, Italy up 1.55%. Volumes were 66% lower than the 30-day average.
Banks led the way while Fiat was up 4.4% on speculation that the Italian carmaker could launch a buyout offer for Chrysler.
Japan’s Nikkei finished down 3.22% yesterday on no local economic data. Retail sales are due out today. Metals closed. Spot iron ore was unchanged at $123.20. Gold was up $6.70 to $1393.30. Oil was down 50c to 93.65c.
- Suncorp Group (SUN) held an investor day today. SUN today outlined its market commitments including targeted top-line growth of 7% pa to 9% pa over the next two years and 10% return on equity in the 2015 financial year. Increased simplification benefits of $225 million in FY15 and $265 million in FY16. “Meet or beat” an underlying Insurance Trading Result (ITR) of 12% through the cycle. Maintain a dividend payout ratio of 60%-80% of earnings and return any excess capital to shareholders. SUN is up 1.46% to 1253c.
- New Hope Corp (NHC) — Quarterly Activities report — has scaled back production at their Jeebropilly coal mine. This is the latest sign that the once-booming coal industry is struggling in the face of high costs and weak commodity prices. The mine will now operate five days a week instead of six to reduce costs. Third-quarter coal output fell by 24% to 1.2 million metric tonnes. Coal sales fell by only 2%. NHC is down 2.12% to 370c.
- Virgin Australia (VAH) — Has gained approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for the takeover of Tiger Airways. The FIRB has no objections to Virgin’s proposed purchase of a 60% stake in Tiger Australia. The deal had also been granted approval by ACCC but a few other conditions still need to be met before the deal is finalised. VAH is unchanged on 43.5c.
- Pharmaxis (PXS) — Is down -6.52% after announcing plans to cut jobs.
- GPT Group (GPT) — Has walked away from its proposed $3 billion bid for the office, industrial and development assets of Australand Property Group (ALZ). The offer did not include Australand’s residential arm and was deemed too low. GPT’s directors said that after detailed due diligence and discussions it was apparent that a transaction at a price that GPT was willing to pay was not possible. GPT is down 1.13% to 392c and ALZ is down 5.67% to 333c.
- Oz Minerals (OZL) has its AGM today at 2pm.
- Orica (OZL) ex-dividend 39c today.
- Cabcharge (CAB) down 15% today on no news.