The Dow Jones was down 24 pointsat 16,130 — The Dow fell early in the session after weaker than expected economic data and then fluctuated in a 60 point range.
Economic data disappointed. Both the Empire State manufacturing index and housing market index were lower than expected, although weather was again cited as a reason for the weakness. Housing stocks were some of the worst performers. Earnings data was also below expectations, with Coca-Cola which reported disappointing sales.
Oil rose 2.44%toUS$102.74.
Gold rose US$3.50 to US$1322.10 per ounce.
The US$ was loweragainst most major currencies and the Australian dollar rebounded from early weakness and is currently trading at US90.28c.
US treasury markets were stronger — the yield on the 10 year bond fell four basis points to 2.706% after weak economic data.
European shares were mixed — The UK FTSE rose 0.90% following good earnings results and dividend increase from BHP Billiton, the German DAX rose 0.03% but the French CAC fell 0.10%.
European bonds were stronger — the yield on the Euro 10 year bond fell two basis points to 1.667% and the UK 10 year bond yield was four basis point lower at 2.744% after good (low) inflation data..
Base metal prices were mostly stronger — aluminium rose 1.92%, lead rose 0.78%, nickel was up 0.49% and copper was 0.42% higher.
Iron ore was unchanged at US$124.40.
APNNews & Media (APN) — Net profit of $59.3 million up 10% which was above an expected $48 million. Statutory profit of $2.6 million after exceptional items. Strong market share gains and earnings growth in radio. No dividend declared.
TradeMeGroup (TME) — Net profit of $38 million up 2%. Interim dividend of 7.6c. Revenue up 7% to $85.7 million. More than 50% of all visits to Trade Me are now via a mobile device.
AveoGroup (AOG) — Underlying profit of $19.2 million which was slightly below an expected profit of $22.9 million. Statutory profit of $2.2 million. (AOG was FKP previously).
Brambles (BXB) — Underlying profit of US458 million up 10% and above an expected $US351.8 million. Sales revenue of $US2.669 billion up 7%. Interim dividend of 13.5c.
MountGibson (MGX) — Profit from continuing operations before tax was $111.5 million andbelow an expected $125 million. NPAT was up 111% to $78.3 million. MGX considers dividends only on an annual rather than interim basis.
Seek (SEK) — Underlying profit of $87.4 million up 29% and above an expected $80.7 million. Record half year result with strong Revenue, EBITDA and NPAT growth. Key drivers of financial results were SEEK International and SEEK Education.
Suncorp (SUN) — Higher Dividend — Reported a 4.5% fall in first half profit to $548 million which was below an expected $611.8 million. But their interim dividend was upped to 35c up 40%. CEO Patrick Snowball said “there is positive momentum across all lines of business.” Outlook — Meet or beat an underlying ITR of 12% through the cycle. Group growth of 7% to 9% pa through to the 2015 financial year. An ordinary dividend payout ratio of 60% to 80% of cash earnings.
SouthernCrossMedia (SXL) — Underlying profit of $47.2 million up 1.1%, which was below an expected $54.5 million. Revenue was up 1.8%. The company successfully re-financed $650 million debt facility on more favourable terms. Interim dividend of 4.5c.
Toll Holding (TOL) — Underlying profit of $175.9 million up 1.4% which was better than an expected$170.3 million. Interim dividend of 13c. Sales revenue of $4.523 billion down 0.5%. Outlook statement – Assuming no material change in the domestic and international external environment, Toll continues to expect underlying EBIT for fiscal 2014 to be ahead of 2013 with the second half expected to be an improvement on the pcp. EBITA for the FY is expected to be at a similar level to last year.
The Reject Shop (TRS) — Underlying NPAT of $19.4 million which was up 1.6% and was in line with consensus forecasts. Sales were up 17.7% to $385.4 million. Interim dividend of 21.5c. 33 new stores opened during the half. More balanced national store portfolio. Basis for further improved long term profitability.
Woodside Petroleum (WPL) — Underlying profit of $1.70 billion down 17% and below consensus forecast of $1.80 billion. NPAT was $US1.75 billion down 41% but in line. WPL reaffirmed 2014 output guidance.