The market is down 34 points.The Dow Jones was down 32 points to 15,751. The market reversed an initial gain, then drifted upwards, trading in an 85 point range.

It was an uneventful session without much in the way of news or data.

The S&P was down four points.

Oil fell 2.13% to US$93.01.

Gold was down US$15.70to US$1265.40 per ounce.

The US$ rose against most major currencies and the Aussie dollar continued to drift lower, currently trading at US$0.9301.

VIX volatility index rose 2.31% to 12.82.

US treasury markets were weaker — the yield on the 10 year bond rose three basis points to 2.776%. There was a $30 billion auction of three year notes. Wednesday there will be a $24 billion 10 year note auction followed by $16 billion of 30 year bonds on Thursday.

European shares were weaker — The UK FTSE was flat but the German DAX and French CAC fell 0.34% and 0.61% respectively. The Greek market fell 3.1%.

European bonds were weaker. The Euro 10 year bond yield rose three basis points. Greek 10 year yields rose 40 basis points to 8.56%.

Base metal prices were weaker — with nickel down 0.92% and lead falling 0.96%.

Iron ore was unchanged at US$135.90 a tonne.

STORIES

  • Another Cheese bid — Murray Goulburn has upped the ante yet again (!) in the cheese wars by offering 900c for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter topping the 800c bid from Saputo. From our point of view it can only be good for the BGA share price which we hold as a trade.
  • CSR — half year result and upgraded profit guidance — CSR booked a profit of $36.2 million, up 92% on the prior corresponding half year. EBITDA was $100.0 million up 21% reflecting higher earnings across all businesses. The increase in CSR’s earnings was driven by improved pricing and lower operating costs resulting from a number of restructuring initiatives completed over the last few years.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) — Third quarter results and guidance reiterated — Says it is are on track to make a profit of up to $600 million this year but current debt levels are higher than expected. LEI made a profit of $444m in the third quarter up 40%. Underlying profit was up 65% to $389 million.
  • Seven Group Holdings (SVW) — Subsidiary company WesTrac is cutting 630 jobs as the mining investment downturn hits machinery sales. The cuts are to be implemented next month and are part of a restructure plan which will cost $13 million and come in addition to 375 redundancies announced earlier in 2013 year at a cost of $8 million. In August, Seven Group said it expects WesTrac’s full year earnings to fall by more than a third due to the mining slump. It now expects overall full year earnings to be at the lower end of its previous guidance of 30%-40% below the prior year.
  • Computershare (CPU) — AGM — The company said the business environment during 2013 remained very challenging. It says EBITDA margins bottomed in the 2012 second half and that ROE is turning up after a period of compression. It forecasts 5% earnings growth in 2014.
  • DuluxGroup (DLX) — Booked a net profit of $76.92 million down 14% from the previous year. This included a $17.2 million charge relating to non-recurring items, comprising $15.1 million of costs associated with the acquisition and integration of the Alesco businesses, a $10.2 million impairment charge against the DGL Camel joint venture in China and an $8.1 million gain from a site sale in Western Australia. Revenue up 39% to $1.48 billion. Final dividend of 9.5c franked at 30%.
  • Myer (MYR) — Total sales came in at $691 million up 0.44% and better than an expected $679 million. Up 0.44% on the quarter doesn’t look impressive and it continues to be cagey on guidance saying the market is competitive, but Bernie Brookes says the result was “pleasing” considering three of its major stores are undergoing refurbishment. I believe MYR is at some point going to come through the other retailers with its five point plan, its investment in the business and its “last mover” advantage online … but it has yet to appear in the share price. One day. Meanwhile it says, “while trading prior to the federal election was subdued, the trend improved modestly during the quarter and has been less volatile than in the months prior to the election, but continues to be patchy. We are pleased with this sales result which is in line with our expectations and gives us early encouragement that we are well-positioned to make the most of our busiest time of year during the Christmas and stocktake trading period”.
  • Westfield (WDC) — Third quarter update — The group’s global operations continue to perform in line with expectations.
  • Webjet (WEB) — AGM — The company expects EBITDA profit for the 2014 financial year of $21.5 million, unchanged from the previous year. This is after absorbing the development and transformation costs set out in these slides of approximately $3 million. WEB also says the Australian market has been flat for the last year but there are tentative signs of growing consumer confidence and business stability following the election. Its Zuji business is profitable and on track. Lots of hotels ahead of plan it continues to invest for the future.
  • Seven West Media (SWM) — AGM — The company says conditions are very much in line with the guidance provided in August. The market continues to be short across all media so further revenue predictions are difficult. It also said that despite costs being slightly higher in the first half it still anticipates group costs in the 2014 financial year to be similar to the 2013 financial year in absolute terms.

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Peter Fray
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