The futures are suggesting a positive start for Aussie shares, having received strong offshore leads. Wall St closed Wednesday’s session with all three major indexes at multi-year highs, with concerns over Europe’s sovereign debt easing following a healthy bond auction in Portugal. At home corporate Australia is starting to tally the cost of damage from Queensland’s flooding crisis, construction and retail companies adding their operations to the list impacted by devastating weather conditions.
In US economic news: The Federal Reserve released its latest Beige Book, which is out eight times a year and provides an indication of economic conditions. The Fed reported moderate growth for the economy, lifted by the manufacturing, retail, and non financial services sectors but pulled down by the country’s real estate market. While employment conditions delivered some optimism the Fed declaring the labor market appears to be firming somewhat. The Department of Treasury showed the US government ran a deficit of $80 billion in December, down from $91.4 billion the month before.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, closed 84 points stronger to 11,755. S&P500 grew 11 points to close 1,286 and the NASDAQ added 21 points to close 2,737.
European stocks were higher: London’s FTSE up 37 points, Paris up 83 and Frankfurt up 127.
To Asian markets, stocks were higher: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 365 points, Tokyo up 2 points and China’s Shanghai Composite up 17 points.
The Australian share market finished stronger on Wednesday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index lifted 14 points to close at 4,724 and on the futures market the SPI is up 26 points.
Turning to currencies and the Aussie Dollar at 8:45AM was buying 99.64 US cents, 63.23 Pence Sterling, 82.7 Yen and 75.91 Euro cents.
Local economic news: Expected out today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for December 2010.
Company news: On Wednesday shares in Woolworths Ltd (ASX:WOW) slipped 0.26 per cent to close at $26.72. Woolworths has warned that the flooding crisis in Queensland will present supply challenges in the next months, some analysts predicting the country’s fruit and vegetable prices could jump by as much as 20 to 30 per cent. In Queensland the supermarket retailer says fresh food shortages are now likely, having closed nine supermarkets, as well as a number of petrol stations and bottle shops in the state. Despite many regional stores receiving sporadic deliveries, Woolworths says daily deliveries are still being made to Brisbane metropolitan stores. Woolworths booked a net profit of $2.03 billion in the year to 27 June 2010.
Yesterday shares in JB Hi-Fi Ltd (ASX:JBH) lost 0.33 per cent to close at $18.25. JB Hi-Fi looks to have sidestepped the flooding crisis, advising the market that it has not been materially affected. The electronics retailer has however closed 12 of its 32 stores in Queensland, it says not due to flooding but rather electricity supply being halted and employees unable to access work safely. JB HiFi says its Ipswich store is still at risk of damage, but the financial impact from damage to the store is likely to be minimal. JB Hi-Fi boosted its fiscal 2010 result by 27 per cent, reporting a net profit of $118.7 million.
To ex-dividends: No companies are going ex-dividend today but coming up tomorrow are Abacus Property Group and Viterra.
To commodities: Gold is up $1.50 to $US1,385 an ounce for the February contract on Comex, silver is up $0.05 to $29.54 for March and copper is up $0.06 to $4.41 a pound. Oil is up $0.75 at $91.86 a barrel for February light crude in New York.
Midday: Aus shares lower after weak leads January 11, 2011 12:43 PM
The Australian share market is 0.3 per cent lower at noon, following weak overseas leads. Local shares have eased on renewed concerns over Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, with speculation Portugal will be the latest to accept a bailout. While Australia-wide, Queensland’s flooding crisis continues to weigh on the miners and insurers.
The S&P/ASX200 index has dropped 12 points and is 4,700 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 16 points lower.
Company news: Beach Energy Ltd (ASX:BPT) has declared its 8.5 cent per share offer price for Impress Energy Ltd (ASX:ITC) as final, but extended the offer until 21 February. The oil and gas producer says it currently holds a 65.25 per cent majority stake in Impress, and has urged Impress shareholders to accept its final offer. Beach Energy’s offer values Impress Energy at around $75.3 million. Shares in Beach Energy have slipped 1.16 per cent and are $0.85 at noon.
Fund manager Perpetual Ltd (ASX:PPT) has appointed Chris Ryan as its new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, replacing David Deverall as CEO. Mr Ryan is set to receive fixed remuneration of $1.23 million per year, a $500,000 sign-on payment, one-off incentive grant of up to $600,000 of shares, in addition to long and short term incentives. Mr Ryan had earlier held positions with of HSBC, Fidelity International and ING Investment Management and his new position will be effective from 14 February. Shares in Perpetual have fallen 0.75 per cent and are $31.58 at noon.
Market indices: The best performing sector is Telco Services with the index rising 9 points to 967. Shares in Telsra have added 1.44 per cent to $2.82. Shares in Hutchison Telecommunications and Telecom of New Zealand have also lifted at noon. The worst performing sector at midday is Industrials, losing 25 points to 3,749. Shares in Boart Longyear have eased 2.47 per cent and are $4.74. Shares in Cabcharge Australia and Qantas have also dropped at midday.
To New Zealand: The NZSX50 is steady. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover, Westpac is at the top of the list with stock 0.62 per cent down at $28.62; followed ANZ, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and Fletcher Building.
To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $US1,375 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is buying 99.11 US cents.
Midday: Aus shares trading in the red January 06, 2011 12:45 PM
The Australian share market is trading in the red, despite Wall St closing higher on upbeat employment data. Local shares are 0.2 per cent down at noon, with concerns mounting over the impact that Queensland’s flooding crisis will have on company earnings. Coca Cola Amatil has become the latest to issue a second half profit downgrade, due to colder summer weather and flooding in Queensland.
The S&P/ASX200 index has dropped 7 points and is 4,708 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 15 points lower.
Economic news: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown Australian building approvals lost 4.2 per cent to 13,158 units in November, seasonally adjusted, from 13,728 units in the month before. Building approvals were 9.9 per cent lower for the year to November. While the Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Australian Performance of Services Index has delivered a steady read, lifting a mere 0.2 in December to 46.4. A read below 50 represents contraction in activity.
Company news: Newcrest Mining Ltd’s (ASX:NCM) Hidden Valley joint venture has denied nuisance claims by landowners in Papua New Guinea. Newcrest and South African company Harmony Gold Mining are equal partners in the Hidden Valley JV that is run by Morobe Mining. In a statement to the exchange Morobe Mining says it will vigorously defend the litigation should it proceed. Shares in Newcrest Mining have fallen 1.58 per cent and are $39.21.
Campbell Brothers Ltd (ASX:CPB) is ramping up its expansion into the US, announcing that its laboratory services business, the ALS Group, has bought Analytical Laboratory Services Inc for around $11 million. Campbell Brothers says the latest acquisition will form the Northern American Environmental Division of ALS. Shares in Campbell Brothers have slipped 0.42 per cent and are $39.86 at noon.
Market indices: The best performing sector is Utilities with the index rising 16 points to 4,405. Shares in APA Group have added 1.25 per cent to $4.06. Shares in SP AusNet and AGL Energy have also lifted at noon. The worst performing sector at midday is Financials Excluding Real Estate Investment Trusts, falling 15 points to 5,008. Shares in ANZ Banking Group have eased 0.86 per cent and are $22.98. Shares in QBE Insurance Group and Commonwealth Bank have also dropped at midday.
To New Zealand: The NZSX50 is 6 points higher. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock 0.46 per cent up at $2.18; followed Fletcher Building, ANZ and The Warehouse Group.
To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $US1,376 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is buying $US1.0009.
Midday: Shares flat at midday after positive start January 04, 2011 12:00 PM
The Australian stock market was trading flat at midday after opening firmer this morning, starting 2011 on a positive note. At midday, however, the share market lost earlier wins with the banks offsetting gains by the major miners such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Insurers and retail banks were all lower at midday.
The S&P/ASX200 index is down 13 points and is 4,733 at noon.
Economic news: A survey from the Australian Industry Group and PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) shows that manufacturing activity softened in December due to weak domestic demand and a stronger Australian dollar. The Performance of Manufacturing Index fell by 1.3 points to 46.3 points in the month as a result of falls in the clothing and footwear, textiles and wood products sub-sectors. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in activity.
Company news: BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX:BHP) is on track to beat its own profit record for corporate Australia in 2011 and anticipates a result for year to June of more than $US20 billion. The forecasted result would represent a 68 per cent improvement on the $US12.7 billion posted for 2010 and would exceed BHP’s previous best of over $US15 billion in 2008. The forecast, which is based on the expectations of seven leading analysts, means that BHP’s earnings capacity comfortably matches the combined profitability of the big four banks. The first taste of BHP’s record 2011 profit will come on February 16 when the company releases its interim profit report. Shares in BHP Billiton are 0.22 per cent higher at $45.35.
Rio Tinto Ltd’s (ASX:RIO) subsidiary Alcan Cable, an aluminium cable manufacturer, plans to set up a new legal entity for its operations in Mexico. Alcan says the move will make expanding and doing business in the local currency easier. Alcan has been struggling with a prolonged slump in demand and announced in August last year that it would shut operations in Roseburg, Oregon, cutting 77 jobs. Shares in Rio Tinto are 0.27 per cent higher at $85.70.
Turning to market indices, and the best performing sector is Materials with the index advancing 74 points to 14,154. Shares in Lynas Corporation have risen 12.62 per cent to $2.32. Shares in and Alumina Limited and BHP Billiton have also gained at noon. The worst sector at midday is Real Estate Investment Trust, down 9 points to 832. Shares in Australand Property Group have fallen 2.06 per cent and are $2.85. Shares in Stockland and Westfield were also down at midday.
To New Zealand: The NZSX50 has dropped 25 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover, SmartTENZ is at the top of the list with stock steady at $0.88; followed by SmartMOZY, BRM Warrants and SmartFONZ.
To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $US1,415 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is buying $US1.159.
Aussie shares are expected to start the day weaker, following news in the US of a FBI investigation into insider trading and continuing concerns about European indebtedness, with Ireland’s government overnight accepting a 95 billion euro bailout from the European Union & the IMF.
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 25 points lower at 11,179. The S&P 500 Index fell 2 points to close at 1,198 and the NASDAQ closed 14 points stronger at 2,532.
European stocks were lower: London’s FTSE down 52 points, Paris is down 41 and Frankfurt down 22.
To Asian markets, stocks were mixed: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 82 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei was up 93 points and China’s Shanghai Composite down 4.
The Australian share market finished higher on Monday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 14 points firmer to 4,644 and on the futures market the SPI200 is down 27 points.
Turning to currencies and the Aussie Dollar at 8:30AM was buying 98.9 US cents, 61.98 Pence Sterling, 82.39 Yen and 72.61 Euro cents.
In economic news: Due out today the Australian Bureau of Statistics construction work data for the September quarter.
Company news: Shares in Ten Network Holdings Ltd (ASX:TEN) closed 0.04 per cent up at $1.65 on Monday. The country’s wealthiest woman, Gina Rinehart, has become Ten’s latest shareholder. Following the lead from fellow billionaire James Packer’s share raid last month, Ms Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting Group has scored a 10 per cent stake in the network. The group says it was interested in making an investment towards the media business, and selected Channel 10 given its importance to the nation’s future. Ten Network Holdings rebounded to a profit of $150 million in fiscal 2010.
Yesterday shares in APN News and Media Ltd (ASX:APN) rose 0.01 per cent to close at $1.90. APN says it is on track to deliver earnings in line with market expectations, encouraged by a lift in advertising conditions. Ahead of investor presentations this week, APN has forecast earnings before interest and tax and before exceptional items of $210 million in the year. The media company says national advertising in Australia is showing strong growth and that growth is returning in New Zealand, though less consistently than in Australia. In the first six months of 2010, APN News and Media booked a net profit of $48.96 million.
Ex-dividends: No companies are going ex-dividend today, but coming up tomorrow is Customers and on Thursday, TFS Corporation.
To commodities: The price of gold is up $US5.50 to $US1358 an ounce for the December contract on Comex, silver is up $US0.28 to $27.46 and copper is down $0.082 to $3.75 a pound. The price of oil is down $0.24 to $US81.74 a barrel for December light crude in New York.
The Australian share market is moderately higher at noon, up 0.1 per cent. Following a mixed overseas lead local sectors are trading mainly in the black.
The S&P/ASX200 index is up 6 points at 4,747 and on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 9.
In economic news: The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer confidence fell 5.3 per cent to 110.7 points in November, coming in at a five month low. While the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed housing finance for owner-occupied housing rose 1.3 per cent in September to 48,333.
To company news: Karoon Gas Australia Ltd (ASX:KAR) has put its shares into a trading halt, pending an announcement on its South American business. Last month the oil and gas explorer said it would raise close to $US1 billion as it launched a share offering of its South American assets in Brazil. Karoon has requested the trading halt until this Friday, or until an announcement is released to the market. Karoon Gas last traded at $9.14.
Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co. (ASX:WCB) has confirmed it will raise up to $37 million through a placement to Bega Cheese Ltd and a one for six non renounceable entitlement offer. Bega Cheese’s participation in the placement and entitlement offer will give it a 15 per cent stake in Warrnambool through a $22 million investment. Shares in Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory have climbed 10.37% and are $3.30 at noon.
Turning now to market indices: The best performing sector is Real Estate Investments Trusts, with the index up 9 points to 856. Shares in Westfield are up 2.16% at $12.31. Shares in CFS Retail Property Trust and Charter Hall Office are also higher.
The worst performing sector at midday is Consumer Staples with the index down 29 points to 8,162. Shares in Goodman Group are down 1.28% at $1.54. Shares in Foster’s Group and Woolworths are also lower at midday.
To New Zealand: The NZSX50 is up 19 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Telecom of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock up 3.3% at $2.19 followed by; AMP, Turners Auctions and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare.
Gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $US1399 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is buying $US1.0051
Outlook: Aus shares look to open higher November 08, 2010 08:33 AM
Aussie shares look to open higher this morning, the futures pointing to a positive start, following Wall St lifting on its fifth consecutive day. US stocks responded well to last week’s economic stimulus, midterm elections and a better than expected jobs report.
In US economic news: On Friday, The Labor Department showed that the US created 151,000 jobs in October, much higher than was expected. While the unemployment rate was steady at 9.6 per cent.
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 9 points higher at 11,444. The S&P 500 Index closed 5 points higher at 1,226 and the NASDAQ closed 2 points higher at 2,579.
European stocks were mixed: London’s FTSE up 13 points, Paris is steady and Frankfurt up 20.
To Asian markets, stocks were higher: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 341 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei was up 267 points and China’s Shanghai Composite up 43.
The Australian share market finished higher on Friday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 55 higher to 4,801 and on the futures market the SPI200 is up 18 points.
Turning to currencies and the Aussie Dollar at 7:45AM was buying 1.015 US cents, 62.73 Pence Sterling, 82.56 Yen and 72.4 Euro cents.
In local economic news: Out today, the ANZ job advertisements series for October.
Company News: Shares in Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) closed 0.53% lower at $48.88 on Friday. Amid rising consumer backlash, Commonwealth’s CEO Ralph Norris has defended the bank’s rate rise, hitching its mortgage rates by 45 basis points straight after the RBA’s rise last week. Speaking to The Age Mr Norris says it was a situation the bank had been stalling for many, many weeks, and a move he did not regret. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has responded to the public outcry by issuing her own defence against inaction, foreshadowing a package of measures to be released this week by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that is expected to address unreasonable mortgage exit fees. Commonwealth improved its profit from $4.8 billion last year to $5.7 billion in the 2010 financial year.
Shares in Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX:QAN) slid 1.04% to closed at $2.86 at the end of last week. Following last week’s grounding of the airline’s fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos, Qantas has discovered three more issues with the Rolls-Royce jet engines on its grounded fleet. It is now increasingly unlikely that the issue will be resolved in the 48 hours that CEO Alan Joyce first signalled, according to a Fairfax report. Qantas spokesperson Simon Rushton has not detailed the exact nature of the problems, nor if the engines are being looked at for the same matter. Rather, Mr Rushton has told the paper the issues might apply to different components and that the airline is taking an ultra-conservative approach to the investigation. Qantas posted a $116 million profit in the 2010 fiscal year, falling from a profit of $123 million the year before.
To ex-dividends: There are six companies going ex-dividend today, among them we have Macquarie Group with an 86 cent unfranked dividend and Westpac with a 74 cent fully franked dividend. Coming up tomorrow is CSR with a 3 cent fully franked dividend.
To commodities: and the price of gold is up US$14.60 to US$1397 an ounce for the December contract on Comex, silver is up US$0.71 to $26.75 and copper is up $0.04 at $3.95 a pound. The price of oil is up $0.36 to US$86.85 a barrel for December light crude in New York.
Aussie shares are likely to rise this morning, following a positive offshore lead. US stocks advanced as investors await the results from Fed’s decision on economic stimulus and midterm elections on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 64 points higher at 11,189. The S&P 500 Index closed 9 points higher at 1,194 and the NASDAQ closed 29 points higher at 2,534.
European stocks were higher: London’s FTSE up 63 points, Paris is up 25 and Frankfurt up 49.
To Asian markets, stocks were mixed: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 18 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei was up 5 points and China’s Shanghai Composite down 9.
The Australian share market finished marginally higher on Tuesday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 3 points higher to 4,701 and on the futures market the SPI200 is up 13 points.
Turning to currencies and the Aussie Dollar again yesterday briefly reached parity following the RBA’s interest rate decision, for only the second time since 1983. At 8:40AM this morning the Aussie is buying 99.94 US cents, 62.29 Pence Sterling, 80.61 Yen and 71.2 Euro cents.
In local economic news: Due out today the Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals for September, and the KPMG analysis of Australian major banks’ results.
In company news: Shares in Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd (ASX:CBA) rose 1.78% on Tuesday to close at $50.19. Commonwealth come under fire, following its announcement yesterday that it will increase its mortgage rates by almost double the RBA’s rise. Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has blasted the bank’s move as a cynical cash grab and warned it will face a very substantial backlash. Mr Swan also promised he would soon reveal a set of reforms to target improving competition. After cautioning its margins were being impacted by rising funding costs, Commonwealth will this Friday serve its home loan customers with a rate hike of 0.45 percentage points, which boosts its standard variable rate to 7.81 per cent. Speculation is mounting that Australia’s other major banks are set to follow suit. Commonwealth Bank posted a $5.68 billion profit in the 2010 financial year.
Shares in Westfield Group (ASX:WDC) closed 1.91% stronger at $12.81. Westfield is preparing for a restructure, with reports the group is gearing up to split its Australian and New Zealand retail operations. Speculation comes following news the group will launch a $3.5 billion capital raising to fulfil its plans for expansion. The group yesterday entered into a trading halt, pending a detailed announcement on the transaction. Westfield Group reported a turnaround result in the first half of 2010, earning $965.8 million.
To ex-dividends: While no companies are going ex-dividend today, coming up tomorrow ANZ Bank will be going ex-dividend with a 74 cent fully franked dividend.
To commodities: The price of gold is up US$6.30 to US$1356 an ounce for the December contract on Comex, silver is up US$0.28 to $24.84 and copper is up $0.05 at $3.84 a pound. The price of oil is steady at US$82.95 a barrel for December light crude in New York
Aussie shares have shrugged off a flat lead from Wall St to be 0.8 per cent higher at noon. Benign inflation data out this morning suggesting the RBA is unlikely to raise rates tomorrow.
The S&P/ASX200 index is up 35 points at 4,697 and on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 51.
In economic news: TD Securities-Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge increased by 0.3 per cent in October, up over a 0.1 per cent rise the month before. While the Australia Bureau of Statistics reported the weighted average of eight capital cities increased a modest 0.1 per cent in the September quarter, after a 3.1 per cent increase in the quarter before and the lowest rise since the March quarter last year.
To company news: Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX:MQG) has come under fire from the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Graeme Samuel for the way in which it dealt with small business owners who had been impacted by a finance scam. According to the ABC Macquarie is taking legal action against hundreds of small businesses who have been caught by the scam that mislead customers into signing agreements known as telephony bundling, that teams together telecommunications services with electronic goods and other equipment. The ABC’s Four Corners program is expected to show tonight how Mr Samuel hit a brick wall when he personally asked the investment bank’s CEO Nicholas Moore to be reasonable with the affected small business customers. Shares in Macquarie Group are 0.99% stronger at $36.56.
UGL Ltd (ASX:UGL) has been awarded $250 million in rail fright orders with leading rail operators and resource companies. Among the freight supply and maintenance orders include a five-year locomotive service and support deal with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) in Western Australia. The engineering and construction company says its rail business continues to see clear signs of a recovery in sales enquiries on the back of strengthening resources sector conditions. Looking ahead UGL anticipates a healthy expansion in its rail business in fiscal 2011. Shares in UGL are 0.81% firmer at $14.86.
Turning now to market indices: The best performing sector is Financials Excluding Real Estate Investment Trusts, with the index up 62 points to 5,171. Shares in Challenger Financial Services Group are up 2.17% to $4.70. Shares in Westpac and Macquarie Group are also higher. The worst performing sector at midday is Consumer Staples, with the index down 45 points to 8,046. Shares in Goodman Fielder have fallen 1.01% to $1.47. Shares in Metcash and Woolworths are also lower at midday.
To New Zealand now, the NZSX50 is up 7 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Telecom of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock up 0.98% at $2.07 followed by; Fletcher Building, Westpac and Guinness Peat Group.
To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $1358 US an ounce and the Aussie dollar is trading at 98.5 US cents.
The Australian share market is expected to open weaker this morning after Wall Street stocks finished mixed overnight on investor caution over the upcoming November elections and the likelihood of more stimulus from the US Central Bank.
Earlier in the session, the latest US economic news helped to lift sentiment: The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans filing new jobless claims fell by 21,000 last week to a 3-month low of 434,000.
Checking the scoreboards now and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 12 points at 11,114. The S&P 500 Index rose 1 point to 1,184 and the NASDAQ is up 4 points at 2,507.
European stock markets gained: London’s FTSE up 32 points, Paris rose 19 and Frankfurt added 27 points.
Asian markets were mixed: Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 46, Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 21 and China slipped 4.
The Australian share market rose yesterday, largely due to ANZ’s healthy profit. The S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 37 points to close at 4,685 and on the futures market the SPI200 is down 6 points.
A quick check of currencies at 8.15am the Aussie Dollar gained against the US and was buying 97.92 US cents, but it fell against the other major currencies and was buying 61.43 Pence Sterling, 79.33 Yen and 70.29 Euro cents.
In economic news: ABS releases its International Trade Price Indexes for September.
Briefly in business news this morning: Shares in ASX (ASX:ASX) gained 1.5% to close at $37.86 yesterday. The ASX and the Singapore Exchange Securities appear to be stepping up their efforts to gain political approval for their proposed $8 billion merger. Already a number of independent MPs have publicly rejected the proposed deal. According to the Australian Financial Review, ASX executives will today meet with shadow treasurer Joe Hockey to make their case for the deal. The Australian also reports that the Singapore Exchange has yet to lodge a notification with the Foreign Investment Review Board, suggesting that Singapore is adopting a wait and see approach on the political situation in Australia. In the year to 30 June, 2010, the ASX posted a net profit after tax of $328 million.
Shares in Westfield Group (ASX:WDC) rose 2.38% to close at $12.50 yesterday. Westfield’s Sydney City complex officially opened yesterday and already an analyst from Deutsche Bank believes it could generate a $640 million revaluation gain for the group on completion. After 10 years in the making, the shopping centre is the first that Westfield has built in an Australian CBD and when combined with its adjoining Sydney Central Plaza, is predicted to generate more than $600 million a year in sales. Expectations are that Westfield may also look to sell half or all of its interest in the office tower components of the project and the new Westfield corporate headquarters – which could generate another $500 million-plus. Westfield Group posted a net profit after tax of $965.8 million dollars for the six months to 30 June, 2010.
Among those companies going ex-dividend are FFI Holdings 15 cent fully franked, Foster’s 15.25 cent fully franked and Harvey Norman 7 cent fully franked.
To commodities: The price of gold rose US$19.90 to US $1,342 an ounce for the December contract on Comex, silver is up US$0.47 to $23.88 and copper is up $0.01 at $3.79 a pound.
The price of oil gained $0.24 to US$82.18 a barrel for December light crude in New York.
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