The market is down 43 points. The Dow Jones finished down 105 — the sixth drop on the trot. Volumes were above average for once. It was up 17 at best and down 122 at worst. It is down 4.87% from the high this month or down 761 point in two weeks. The Dow Jones dropped under 15,000 last night.

The S&P 500 closed down 10 to 1642. 1655 has turned from support into resistance.

The bond markets sold off in anticipation of the FOMC Minutes and the selling accelerated after their release. Although they didn’t add much to the rhetoric tapering is becoming inevitable as the minutes broadly supported the previously stated timetable of ending QE by mid next year. The debate now is “How quickly”.

The US 10 year bond yield up eight basis points to 2.895% (recent high 2.9007%). The 10 year bond yield is up 120 basis points (1.2%) since the proposed tapering timetable was first announced in May.

The weekly MBA Mortgage Index fell 4.6% in the US overnight — the thirteenth fall in the last fifteen readings — it fell 4.7% last week. On the flip side July existing home sales rose 6.5% to 5.39m, up from a downwardly revised 5.06m (from 5.08m) in June and now at the highest level since November 2009.

The US$ jumped on the minutes — The A$ is under 90c at 89.80c and down from $92.34c on Monday as US bond yields rise and Australian official rates heads in the other direction. The lowest the A$ has been in recent history is 88.48c on 5th August.

BHP was down 3.26% having fallen 2.05% in the US yesterday post their results after the close on Tuesday which missed expectations. The stock closed in the US down 40c on the closer here last night. RIO down 2.81% in the US.

European markets mostly down. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble says Greece will need another bailout after 2014.

Oil price down 1.2% after a 2% drop yesterday.

The Japanese market was up 0.21% having fallen 15.98% from this year’s high and 10.4% in a month.

The iron ore price fell $1.20 to $$137.80.

Gold price down $2.50 to $1370.

Metals down with Nickel the worst down 2.28% as the US$ rises.

In Europe tonight — flash manufacturing and services PMI from a number of countries

US Economics tonight — initial jobless claims, FHFA Housing price index, leading indicators. Jackson Hole Symposium in Kansas.

 ANNOUNCEMENTS & STORIES

  • Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) — Net Profit of $US1.7 billion up 12% and above a consensus forecast of $US1.2 billion. Bids for their Port and Rail infrastructure was below expectations. Final dividend of 10c. They have cut over $US400 million in costs which was 30% higher than expected. Financial year 2014 Guidance of $127 million – $133 million in iron ore shipments.
  • Pacific Brands (PBG – 82c) — Net profit of $73.8 million up from last years $450.7 million loss and below consensus of $76.5 million. Dividend of 5c.
  • Atlas Iron (AGO – 85c) — Underlying financial year net profit of $14 million which was lower than a broker forecast of $31.6 million. Financial year net loss of $242 million, earnings were lower due to weaker prices and a stronger dollar. The company is in talks with possible partners for Horizon II Expansion. They see financial year 2014 cash costs of $49-$53 per tonne and iron ore shipments of 9.8 million – 10.3 million tonnes. Final dividend 3c.
  • Brambles (BXB – 873c) — financial year profit of $US640.6 million up 11% before significant items. Result was in below consensus forecasts of $US679 million. Dividend of 13.5c. Underlying profit of $US1.06 billion up 5%. They see financial year 2014 underlying profit growth of 4%-8% excluding Recall.
  • Echo Entertainment (EGP – 272c) — normalised NPAT of $126.9 million down 15.5% and slightly below a consensus forecast of $130 million. After significant items $83.5 million up 97.9%. Final dividend of 2c. They see solid profitability growth in financial year 2014 so far.
  • Insurance Australia Group (IAG – 595c) — Cash Net profit of $1.156 billion up 98% and above an expected $1.101 billion. Insurance profit was up 69% to $845 million, Dividend of 17c, Cash ROE 13.3%.
  • NRW Holdings Limited (NWH – 113c) — Net profit of $74.1 million down 24% which was in line with consensus. Final dividend of 5c.
  • Seven West Media (SWM – 228c) — Profit of $225 million down 0.8% but above a consensus forecast of $218.6 million. Revenue came in at $1.86 billion down 3.6%. Total Net loss after significant items of $69.8 million down 130.7%. Dividend of 6c against some expectations of 8c. They say “Our television business continues to lead in both audience share and advertising revenue. Our publishing businesses are out-performing their peers in what is a challenging market, delivering great content, managing their costs and building the framework for their moves into new forms of content delivery and revenue streams”.
  • Toll Holdings (TOL – 522c) — Underlying NPAT of $282 million before non-recurring items. Result was up 3% and below some broker forecasts of $299 million. Final dividend of 14c up 1c. EBITDA was $703 million up 3% and Total Revenue was $8.72 billion.
  • ASX Limited (ASX – 3506c) — Underlying Net profit of $348.2 million up 0.6% and bang in line with an expected $348 million. Final dividend of 82.3 which represents a 90% payout ratio. The company successfully completed a $553 million capital raising during the year. Revenue of $617.4 million up 1.1%.
  • Cabcharge (CAB – 422c) — Net profit of $60.6 million up 1.04% which was below a broker consensus of $63.9 million. Revenue of $196.6 million up 2.21%. Final dividend of 12c. No guidance as usual. “Cautiously confident”. Victorian taxi legislation changes remain an uncertainty.
  • Emeco Holdings (EHL – 19.5c) — Net profit of $6 million down 91.4%.
  • Origin Energy (ORG – ) — financial year underlying profit of $760 million down 15% but above broker forecast of $748.9 million.  Net Profit was $378 million down 61%. Final dividend of 25c. The company has executed a $7.4 billion syndicated loan facility.
  • RCR Tomlinson (RCR – 276c) — Net profit of $37.3 million up 37%. Interim dividend of 2.50c.
  • SYD Airport (SYD) — Net profit of $24 million down 73%. Total revenue of $554.9 million. Interim Dividend of 11c. They have reiterated financial year distribution guidance of 22.5c.
  • Treasury Wine Estate (TWE) — Underlying Net profit of $139.9m up 22.4% and above an expected $136m. Financial year net profit was $42.3m down 53%. Final Dividend of 7c. They expect financial year 2014 EBIT of $230 million – $250 million.
  • Alumina (AWC) — Their share of profit was US$15.3 million versus consensus for a $5-10 million loss. The loss included significant items of $US43 million. Underlying loss of $7.2 million. No dividend. Revenue below expectations at $2.965 billion against forecasts over $3 billion.
  • Fairfax (FXJ) — Net loss of $16.4 million an improvement on the $2.73 billion loss previously. Underlying Net profit of $143.5 million which was down 37% but above an expected $102.9 million. They expect financial year 2014 Costs of $1.6 billion. Revenue down 8% in first 6 Weeks of financial year 2014. Financial year impairment charge of $444 million. Final dividend 1c.
  • PanAust (PNA) — 1H Net Profit $US38.9 million down 38% and below an expected $US44.3 million. Operating earnings were $US130.5 million down 5%. Interim dividend of 3c. The company says they continue to evaluate possible acquisitions. Financial year output of 62,000-65,000 tonnes of copper. Financial year 2014 gold output likely to be at top end of guidance. They expect financial year EBITDA of $US260 million -$300 million.
  • St Barbara (SBM) — Underlying NPAT of $29 million down 76% from $121 million last year. Revenue was up 32% to $519 million.

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