Morning Australian Share Report Andre DiCioccio
The Australian share market looks to open steady today, having received mixed overseas leads. Wall Street’s key indices closed with little changed as investors considered the political unrest in Egypt against generally encouraging earnings reports, ahead of Friday’s key US jobs data. At home Australians will be waking up to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Yasi, that tore through Queensland overnight.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, closed 2 points up to 12,042, S&P500 eased 4 points to close 1,304 and the NASDAQ lost 1 point to close 2,750.
European stocks were mixed: London’s FTSE up 42 points, Paris down 6 and Frankfurt closed steady.
To Asian markets, stocks were higher: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 426 points, Tokyo was up 183 points and China’s Shanghai Composite was closed.
The Australian share market finished higher on Wednesday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index lifted 44 points to close at 4,797 and on the futures market the SPI is up 2 points.
Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar at 8:50AM was buying $US1.0092, 62.36 Pence Sterling, 82.31 Yen and 73.08 Euro cents.
Economic news: Due out today, the Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Australian Performance of Services Index for January. The Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals and international trade in goods and services both for December. And also, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries monthly car sales for January 2011.
Company news: On Wednesday shares in Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) rose 0.72 per cent to close at $2.79. Telstra’s turnaround plan looks set to cost over the projected $1 billion in the current financial year but is expected to result in more customer numbers, according to the Australian Financial Review. The AFR says Telstra’s mobile phone business has benefited from Vodafone Hutchison Australia’s network problems and that the telco plans to make further gains by injecting over $450 million that it had budgeted for promotions and larger handset subsidies. According to the report Telstra is also gearing up to spend $150 million on regaining fixed-line market share, $250 million on redundancies and $100 million on other expenses. In the 2010 financial year, Telstra booked a net profit of $3.9 billion.
Yesterday shares in News Corporation (ASX:NWS) closed 1.69 per cent up at $16.86. News Corporation has reported a 153 per cent jump in second quarter net profit to $637.6 million for the three months to 31 December 2010. In the same period the media company posted EBIT of $1.28 billion, up 81.2 per cent from the same quarter the year before. News Corp chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch says the growth reflects mounting vigour of the company’s global channels business. In the year ended 30 June 2010, News Corp generated a net profit of $3.1 billion.
To ex-dividends: No companies are going ex-dividend today, but coming up tomorrow is Australian Foundation Investment Company with an $0.08 cent fully franked dividend.
To commodities: Gold is down $8.20 to $US1,332 an ounce for the April contract on Comex, silver is down $0.23 to $28.29 for March and copper is steady at $4.54 a pound. Oil is up $0.09 at $90.86 a barrel for March light crude in New York.
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