The market is up 21 points. The Dow Jones was up 127 points at 16,154 — the market strengthened early after good European growth data and continued to rise during the day in a 190 point range. Volume was lower than average.

US economic data was mixed, with industrial production falling 0.3%, worse than the 0.3% gain expectedBut the data was again believed to be weather-affected and inconsistent with other reports and regional surveys. Consumer sentiment was unchanged.

The S&P rose 9 points to 1,839.

Oil fell 0.05% to US$100.30.

Gold rose US$18.50 to US$1,318.60 per ounce.

The US$ was mixed against most major currencies. The Australian dollar was stronger and is currently trading at US90.58c.

VIX Volatility index fell 4.03% to 13.57.

US treasury markets were weaker — the yield on the 10 year bond rose two basis point to 2.749%.

European shares were stronger — The UK FTSE rose 0.06%, the French CAC rose 0.63% and the German DAX rose 0.68% after positive eurozone GDP data.

European bonds were weaker — the yield on the Euro 10 year bond rose one basis point to 1.675% and the UK 10 year bond yield largely unchanged at 2.793%.

Base metal prices were stronger — zinc rose 0.99%, lead rose 0.89% and copper was 0.553% higher.

Iron ore rose US$1.20 to US$123.20 a tonne.

STORIES

  • Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) — First half net profit of $180.7 million down 4.6% but was above the consensus forecast of $178.9 million. First half cash earnings up 9.5% at $185.9 million. Interim dividend was 31c.
  • Ardent Leisure (AAD) — Core earnings were up 13.4% to $33.45 million which was in line with guidance. Profit was up 5% to $22.49 million. Interim distribution of 6.8c.
  • Australand Property (ALZ) — Profit of $148 million which was in line with expectations. Distribution of 12.5c in line with guidance. Gearing 27.7%.
  • Ansell (ANN) — Profit was up 15% to $US65.6 million which was broadly in line with market expectations for a $US66.9 million profit. Sales were up 9% to $703.6 million. EBIT was up 20% to $82.7 million. Dividend was US17c. The company overcame setbacks from unfavourable currency swings to the Pentagon’s plans to pull US troops out of Afghanistan.
  • Aurizon Holdings (AZJ) — Underlying profit of $263 million which was down 18% but roughly in line with an expected $266 million. The figure included a one off impairment of $197 million. Net profit was down 39% to $107m. Interim dividend of 8c. Financial year coal haulage guidance lifted to 207-212 million tonnes.
  • Cash Converters (CCV) — Profit of $9.88 million down 46.6%. Interim dividend of 2c. EBITDA down 28.5% to $21.7 million.
  • G8 Education (GEM) — Profit up 62% to $31.07 million. Revenue was up 53% to $275.1 million. 252 owned centres in Australia and Singapore, with a further 48 managed in Singapore. The company also that they will  undertake a second senior unsecured note offering to raise up to $50 million by mid‐March 2014. The offering will diversify G8 Education’s current debt funding sources and provide additional tenure to G8 Education’s debt maturity profile.
  • Imdex (IMD) – Net profit was $15.3 million down 8%. Revenue was down 25% to $101.9 million. Strong balance sheet.
  • UGL — Underlying profit of $49.7 million which in line. First half net profit was up 13.5% to $29.5. No dividend declared. Sees financial year underlying profit at lower end of guidance. They now expect underlying profit of around $120 million. UGL says they have received takeover interest in DTZ Asset and continue to prepare for the planned DTZ Demerger.

Peter Fray

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