Tag Archives: Gains

Fairfax profit rises on one-off gains

Updated February 21, 2013 15:32:33

Media group Fairfax has reported a huge surge in its half-year profit, but says weak demand in the advertising market is still restricting its earnings.

For the six months to the end of December, Fairfax has made $386.3 million.

That was up almost 300 per cent compared to its profit for the same period the year before.

However, the vast bulk of the profit ($312 million of it) came from discontinued operations, making much of it a one-off gain.

In fact, excluding significant one-off gains and losses, the company’s underlying profit fell from $136 million to $83 million.

Revenue was down from $1.18 billion to $1.1 billion, however the publisher’s expenses also fell by around $80 million as it slashed staff and moved to close major printing presses.

The company says its restructure and slimming down of the business contributed to its profit result, with a 10 per cent reduction in staff and a sell-off of some businesses which reduced debt from a around a billion dollars to $200 million.

Fairfax’s chief executive Greg Hywood says the company now has the strongest balance sheet in the industry, but there are more cost savings to be made.

“We are finding smarter ways to work that deliver us better outcomes and save us money,” he said.

“We are taking a fresh look at territories long considered sacred cows and smashing silos that long seemed untouchable. We are pursuing additional structural initiatives and cost savings beyond those currently envisaged.”

The company has cut its fully-franked interim dividend to 1 cent per share from 2 cents per share.

Fairfax shares were down 2.75 per cent to 53 cents by 10:25am (AEDT).

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, media, australia

First posted February 21, 2013 10:29:55

Miners hold back gains on Australian market

Posted February 20, 2013 12:12:49

The share market is pushing higher, lifted by bank and healthcare stocks and despite a fall in major mining companies.

The All Ordinaries index had added 0.3 per cent, to 5,115 shortly before 12:00pm (AEDT), and the ASX 200 has gained the same amount, to 5,098.

Shares in BHP Billiton were down 1.1 per cent after the company announced half-year profits had halved, and the resignation of its chief executive Marius Kloppers.

Rival Rio Tinto had dropped more, down 1.3 per cent, and Fortescue Metals was down nearly 2 per cent.

Woodside Petroleum, which also reported results this morning, rose more than 3 per cent to $39.10.

Seven West Media’s results disappointed investors, with a $109 million net loss due to $260 million in write-downs of its magazine and Yahoo!7 businesses (including Spreets), as well as redundancy and restructure costs.

Excluding those one-off costs, Seven West made a $142.3 million profit, but its shares were down more than 7 per cent to $2.34.

The dollar was also easing, buying 103.39 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Strong bank gains help drive up local market


The Australian share market has resumed its recent winning run, with strong gains for most of the banks and some positive profit reports driving the major indices higher.


The All Ordinaries gained just over 0.5 per cent to 5,083 points, while the ASX 200 closed 29 points up at 5,063.


Regional lender Bendigo and Adelaide Bank climbed 3.25 per cent after more than trebling its profit to $189 million.


The bank’s boss, Mike Hirst, told investors funding costs were starting to fall, putting downward pressure on deposit interest rates and boosting profit margins.


That news helped push most other banks higher; National Australia Bank was up 2.2 per cent, ANZ 2.6 per cent and Westpac closed more than 3.5 per cent higher at $30.20 – it’s highest level since 2007.


Commonwealth Bank shares fell almost 2 per cent, but that was entirely due to it trading without rights to its latest dividend from today onwards.


Telstra also went ex-dividend today, losing six cents to $4.57.


Several companies pleased investors with their first-half profits; none more so than BlueScope Steel, which surged more than 15 per cent to $4.35 after posting a $12 million loss, well down from a loss of over $500m in the same period a year ago.


Clothing, footwear and linen company Pacific Brands also had a huge turnaround; it returned to profitability with a half-year result of $39 million, up from a loss of more than $360 million a year ago.


The owner of brands such as Bonds and King Gee, the company saw its shares climb almost 3.5 per cent on the result.


However, a 39 per cent profit increase was not good enough for Lend Lease shareholders who sold out of the property developer, pushing it 2.5 per cent lower to $10.42.


About 5pm (AEDT) the Australian dollar was a little down compared with the end of last week at 103 US cents. It was also worth 77.15 euro cents and 96.7 Japanese yen.


Spot gold was trading lower at $US1,615 an ounce, West Texas crude was worth just under $US96 a barrel and Tapis was at $US124.

Topics: stockmarket, markets, business-economics-and-finance, australia

First posted February 18, 2013 18:46:27

Shares swing to modest gains

By finance reporter Justine ParkerPosted February 19, 2013 13:10:53

The share market has edged into positive territory, helped by strength in energy and mining stocks.

The All Ordinaries was 0.2 per cent higher at 5,094, and the ASX 200 index has gained a similar amount to reach 5,074 shortly before 1:00pm (AEDT).

BHP Billiton was up 0.6 per cent ahead of its half-year profit report to be released at 9:00am (AEDT) tomorrow.

Oil and gas companies Woodside and Santos are both around 1.5 per cent higher.

However, the mining and steel company Arrium has lost 1.2 per cent after recording a near half-billion dollar loss.

The dollar has risen modestly since the latest minutes from the Reserve Bank were released, it was buying 103.29 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Share gains held back by retail slide


Falls among retail stocks, inspired by David Jones’s disappointing sales result, are holding back the broader share market.


The All Ordinaries index was down 1 point to 5,023 shortly before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 was 2 points lower at 5,001.


Shares in David Jones fell 2.2 per cent after the company reported a fall in its second quarter sales.


Its main rival, Myer was also down 1.5 per cent.


The major supermarket and discount department store groups, Woolworths and Wesfarmers, were also a little lower.


Shares in the engineering services firm, Downer EDI surged more than 12 per cent, after it reported a rise in its half-year profit.


Rio Tinto was up 1.5 per cent ahead of its half-year results, which will be released late this afternoon after the market closes.


BHP Billiton was just around 0.8 per cent higher.


Amongst the banks, NAB was down 1 per cent, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank shares were 0.5 per cent lower, while Westpac was up 0.2 per cent.


The Australian dollar was buying 103.51 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Local market poised for gains despite overseas weakness


The euro has strengthened amid debate about whether the European Central Bank should step in to weaken the single currency.


Jens Weidmann, a top German official at the ECB, has spoken out against calls from European leaders including French President Francois Hollande to weaken the single currency.


Mr Weidmann says the commentary about whether the euro is overvalued is being used by some governments to divert attention from their own economic problems.


On equity markets, stocks in the United States and Europe mostly eased a touch.


Markets are closed in many Asian countries including Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore for public holidays.


It was a relatively quiet session on Wall Street as the major indices hold just below five-year highs, with little economic or market news to prompt investors to trade.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2 per cent to 13,971, the S&P 500 index eased just 1 point to 1,517, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 2 points to 3,192.


In Europe, stock markets were mixed before European finance ministers meet in Brussels tonight to hold talks about disbursing more aid to Greece and Cyprus.


In London, the FTSE 100 gained 0.2 per cent to 6,277, but in Germany the DAX lost 0.25 per cent, and the CAC 40 in France rose just 1 point to 3,651.


Futures trade in Australia is suggesting a positive start to the domestic session despite the weak leads from overseas – the ASX SPI 200 index was 17 points higher at 4,936.


In commodity trade, the spot price of gold has dropped to $US1,650 an ounce and West Texas crude oil has risen to $US97 a barrel.


In currency trade, the Australian dollar was down against the greenback and the stronger euro.


At 8:25am (AEDT), it was buying 102.7 US cents, 76.6 euro cents, 96.7 Japanese yen, 65.5 British pence and just under $NZ1.23.

Topics: markets, currency, futures, stockmarket, australia

Scottish economy ‘gains momentum’

 Growth in the economy remained centred on the services sector, according to the survey The Scottish economy gained momentum at the start of the year, according to a survey of purchasing managers.


The Bank of Scotland PMI report suggested the highest level of business activity for seven months.


It also indicated that output and new work picked up for businesses last month.


The report said improved business conditions and extra pressure on operating capacity led firms to create more jobs in January.


This latest expansion of Scotland’s private sector economy was broadly in line with the rate of growth seen at the UK level.


Growth remained centred on the services sector, according to the survey.


Scottish manufacturing output contracted modestly in January, marking the seventh consecutive monthly fall in production levels in the sector.


Input price inflation continued to ease, although remained sufficiently strong for businesses to raise output charges.


The report said much of the improvement in business activity reflected an accelerated increase in new work placed with firms during January.


Intakes of new business rose for the second month in row, and at the fastest pace since March 2012.

Job creation

Firms continued to add to their payroll numbers during January, raising employment levels for the seventh time in the past eight months.


However, the report said the overall rate of net job creation was still modest and slower than the UK average.


Respondents also suggested that cost burdens rose again in Scotland as a result of higher fuel, labour and raw materials costs.


However, the rate of inflation in operating costs eased to its slowest pace in seven months.


Output prices, meanwhile, increased on average.


Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae said the Scottish economy had “gained momentum” in January.


“Both the level of new business and employment rose in the month but were concentrated in the service sector,” he commented.


“The rate of decline in manufacturing output was modest and has eased since the previous month but export demand remains weak.


“This result suggests the Scottish economy not only started the year in growth mode but has maintained moderate growth throughout January 2013.”

Share market flat despite industrial gains


The share market closed flat after touching a new 20-month high during the session, with the strongest gains in utility and industrial stocks.


The All Ordinaries index rose by one point to 4,803 and the ASX 200 gained two points, to 4,779.


The big four banks were mixed; the Commonwealth Bank rose 0.6 per cent, Westpac managed a gain of just one cent, while ANZ Bank slipped three cents.


But NAB lost 1 per cent to close at $26.59 after Spanish bank Santander rejected claims it was trying to buy NAB’s troubled UK assets.


NAB’s shares spiked yesterday after British media reported Santander was interested in NAB’s Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank units.


Shares in Downer EDI closed up 1 per cent at $4.42; the engineering firm has won a $90 million rail contract from Transport NSW.


The works are expected to be complete by 2015.


Several ports used by Australia’s major iron ore miners were closed as a tropical storm gathered pace off the West Australian coast.


Port Hedland, which is used by BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Atlas Iron, was closed.


Rio Tinto, meanwhile, said its ports at Dampier and Cape Lambert would also halt operations.


BHP Billiton rose 0.1 per cent, Rio Tinto gained 0.6 per cent and Fortescue Metals jumped 2.4 per cent.


Shares in shopping centre owner Centro fell 1.3 per cent to $2.25 after shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve a name change for the company to Federation Centres.


The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s latest quarterly survey of investor confidence found several indicators had dropped to 15-year lows.


That was despite falling interest rates and a recovery in commodity prices.


In currency trade, the Australian dollar jumped against the greenback but was lower against the yen.


That was after the Bank of Japan announced it would double its inflation target to 2 per cent and unveiled open-ended monetary stimulus.


About 5pm (AEDT) it was buying 105.5 US cents, 79.1 euro cents, 94.2 Japanese yen and 66.6 British pence.


Spot gold was higher at $US1,694 an ounce, West Texas crude oil rose to $US95.60 a barrel and Tapis crude climbed to $US118.40 a barrel.

Topics: markets, business-economics-and-finance, banking, economic-trends, australia

First posted January 22, 2013 19:03:35

Shares post solid gains on retail surge

Posted January 25, 2013 14:25:23

The Australian share market is trading near a 21-month, high with healthcare, banking and retail stocks driving gains.

The All Ordinaries index was up 19 points to 4,852, and the ASX 200 index was also 0.4 per cent stronger at 4,829 around 2:00pm (AEDT).

Shares in Westpac were leading the big four banks higher, up 1.2 per cent.

The small retailer Specialty Fashion Group has rallied 37 per cent to 96 cents after saying it will treble its profit in the first half.

That positive news for one clothing retailer has helped drive others higher, particularly the comments on lower cotton prices and a higher Australian dollar helping to drive down purchase costs from suppliers.

The owner of Bonds, Pacific Brands, was up 5.6 per cent to 66 cents.

Premier Investments, which owns the Just clothing group, was up 2.1 per cent, David Jones was 2.7 per cent higher and Myer was ahead 1.6 per cent to $2.48.

Resmed, which makes products to treat sleep disorders, has jumped 6.1 per cent after reporting its quarterly profit rose by a quarter.

However, many miners were a little weaker: BHP Billiton was down 0.4 per cent; Rio Tinto was flat at $66.29; and Fortescue was off 1.1 per cent to $4.58.

Telstra was up 0.7 per cent to $4.59.

The Australian dollar had lost around a cent against the greenback since this time yesterday, and was buying 104.45 US cents.

Topics: markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Market makes solid gains but dollar slides


The Australian dollar has continued its slide against the greenback today, as the local share market posted solid gains on the back of confidence on overseas markets.


The Australian dollar has now fallen nearly one cent from where it was trading before the Reserve Bank announced it was keeping the official interest rate on hold yesterday.


The All Ordinaries index finished today’s session 38 points higher, or 0.8 per cent, at 4,941.


The ASX 200 index also gained 38 points to close at 4,921.


Retailers surprisingly posted solid gains, despite official figures revealing that retail trade unexpectedly fell 0.2 per cent in December.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the “other retailing” category, including books, fell the most and food retailers, restaurants and cafes also went backwards.


Woolworths rose 2.75 per cent while the owner of rival Coles, Wesfarmers, gained 1 per cent.


JB Hi-Fi closed 5 per cent higher, David Jones picked up 3.7 per cent and department store Myer rose 1.6 per cent.


The big four banks all gained ground, led by a 1.5 per cent rise for ANZ.


Rio Tinto closed 1.1 per cent higher and mining rival BHP Billiton went up by 0.9 per cent.


Seven West Media rose 8.5 per cent but the Ten Network fell 3.1 per cent.


Telstra slipped 0.9 per cent and hearing implant company Cochlear dropped 4 per cent.


Local airlines gained ground, led by a 4.7 per cent rise for Virgin Australia.


Qantas closed 0.7 per cent higher as the airline’s boss Alan Joyce told a tourism lunch in Sydney the continuing high Australian dollar should not be used as an excuse for not attracting overseas visitors.


In commodities, spot gold had weakened to $US1,674 an ounce.


West Texas intermediate crude oil was up slightly to $US96.64 a barrel, but Tapis crude in Singapore slipped to $US122.36 a barrel.


At 5:30pm AEDT, the Australian dollar was buying around $US103.54, 76.34 euro cents, 66.14 British pence, 97.08 Japanese yen and 122.65 New Zealand cents.

Topics: markets, business-economics-and-finance, currency, stockmarket, futures, australia

First posted February 06, 2013 17:57:59

US housing recovery gains steam

US home for sale Despite the healthy rebound, US house prices still remain 30% below their pre-crisis peak The US housing market rebound gained steam in November, new data suggests.


House prices were 5.5% up on a year ago, according to the widely-watched Case-Shiller index, the fastest rise since the market crash began in 2006.


However, separate data suggested US consumer confidence took an unexpected knock in January, as rises in income and payroll taxes came into effect.


The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell sharply to 58.6 in the month, from 66.7 in February.


It was the lowest reading in more than a year. Analysts had been expecting a level of about 64.


“Consumers are probably pretty unhappy to notice that their payroll taxes have gone up,” said David Sloan, an economist at New York-based researchers 4Cast.


The tax increases were part of a package agreed between Republicans and Democrats in Congress on the eve of the “fiscal cliff” – a far more draconian set of tax rises and spending cuts that had been due to take effect on 1 January, had no deal been reached.


Besides their diminishing take-home pay, the data suggested that US citizens were also worried that jobs were becoming harder to find.


Wall Street took the disappointing consumer confidence data in its stride on Tuesday. Stocks have enjoyed one of their most buoyant starts to a year – with the S&P 500 Index up 7% since the end of December – in large measure because of optimism about the housing market.


The Case-Shiller data adds to evidence that the market has turned the corner. Other data has shown sales of already occupied homes on the rise, while the inventory of unsold homes is back at pre-crisis lows.


Of the 20 cities tracked by the Case-Shiller index, only New York saw a moderate fall in house prices since a year earlier, down 1.2%.


Phoenix in Arizona saw a 23% jump in prices, while San Francisco and Detroit also experienced rises in excess of 10%.


However, the market is still far from fully recovered. Prices remain 30% below their 2006 peak, according to Case-Shiller, while home sales and house-building activity both remain heavily depressed compared with a decade ago.

Samsung gains tablet market share

Apple iPad and Galaxy Tab Apple and Samsung are also involved in various legal battles over claims of patent infringement Samsung doubled its share of the tablet PC market in the last three months of 2012, research firm IDC has said.


Samsung, which makes the Galaxy range of tablets, sold 7.9 million units, up from 2.2 million a year ago, taking its market share to 15.1%.


Market-leader and iPad-maker Apple saw its share slide to 43.6% from 51.7%, despite also seeing a jump in sales.


The two have been competing to get a greater share of the tablet PC market, seen as key to their overall growth.


Global shipments of tablet PCs surged 75% in the final quarter of 2012 to a record 52.5 million units.


“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli, research director of tablets at IDC.


“New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season.”


The numbers are in sharp contrast with the traditional personal computer market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.

Growing competition The tablet PC market is expected to grow further in the coming years.


A number of firms have launched tablets in an attempt to cash in on the booming sector.


Among the latest entrants has been Microsoft, which launched its Surface tablets, powered by the Windows 8 system, late last year.


However, IDC said that the response to the firm’s tablets was “muted at best”. Microsoft shipped nearly 900,000 unit in the three months to end of December.


IDC said that higher prices of its products had hurt Microsoft’s sales.


However, it added that the firm was likely be a key player in the sector in the long term.


“There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul,” said Ryan Reith, program manager of Mobile Device Trackers at IDC.

Share market falling after 10 days of gains


The Australian share market has lost ground, with traders unnerved by the surprise news that the US economy shrank during the final three months of last year.


After 10 consecutive days of gains, the All Ordinaries index was down 17 points at 4,902 around midday (AEDT).


The ASX 200 index had also fallen 17 points to 4,880.


The losses have been broadly shared.


Rio Tinto had fallen 0.9 per cent, while its rival BHP Billiton had slipped 0.5 per cent.


Fortescue Metals Group also lost around 0.7 per cent.


The major banks were mostly weaker, led by a 1 per cent fall for the NAB.


The airlines fared better, with Qantas up 0.8 per cent.


Virgin Australia gained 0.5 per cent after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave approval for its proposed takeover of regional airline Skywest.


Telstra shares were up 1 cent at $4.60.


The Australian dollar firmed a little against the greenback this morning – it was buying around 104.2 US cents.

Topics: markets, stockmarket, business-economics-and-finance, currency, australia

Australian market edges higher on US gains


After a sluggish start, the local share market is trading higher, pushing stocks beyond yesterday’s 21-month high.


The All Ordinaries Index was 9 points higher at 4,920, and the ASX 200 index has gained 8 points to 4,897 around 11:00am (AEDT).


The major miners are driving today’s gains, with BHP Billiton up 0.9 per cent, Rio Tinto up 1.2 per cent and Fortescue 1.3 per cent higher at $4.75.


More defensive stocks, such as Telstra, have gone backwards, with the nation’s biggest telco losing 0.6 per cent.


Wesfarmers shares have fallen 1.8 per cent, despite the company reporting sales growth for its key Coles and Bunnings brands during the December quarter.


However, major rival Woolworths was also down 0.8 per cent to $31.62.


Most discretionary retailers are higher, with Harvey Norman up 1.3 per cent, JB Hi-Fi up 1 per cent and David Jones 1 cent higher at $2.55.


However, Myer has given up some of its recent gains, falling 2 cents to $2.60.


The Australian dollar was buying around 104.66 US cents.

Topics: markets, currency, stockmarket, business-economics-and-finance, australia

First posted January 30, 2013 11:20:03

Market’s run of gains comes to an end


The share market has reversed after its longest run of gains in nine years.


A surprise contraction in US economic growth spooked investors on Wall Street, and Australian investors followed suit.


The All Ordinaries index lost 0.4 per cent to close at 4,901 while the ASX 200 lost the same amount, to 4,879.


The retail sector was in retreat as investors absorbed the latest quarterly sales from the supermarket chains.


Food and liquor sales at Woolworths supermarkets reached $10.3 billion in the final three months of last year, with sales up 2.5 per cent excluding those at new stores.


Its shares fell 1.3 per cent to $31.24.


Competitor Wesfarmers, which owns Coles, fell 1.4 per cent.


The major banks declined from their multi-year highs; NAB lost 1 per cent to $27.36, while ANZ fared the best, closing unchanged at $26.58.


Mining stocks also lost ground; Rio Tinto fell 1.1 per cent and BHP Billiton lost 0.4 per cent.


Whitehaven Coal shares tumbled 5.5 per cent to $3.28 after the miner warned its full-year earnings could shrink to less than $20 million.


That is less than half the previous guidance of around $50 million.


The company blames the strong Australian dollar and weak coal prices for the earnings downgrade.


Shares in Australia’s biggest cattle producer fell 2.8 per cent to $1.22.


The Australian Agricultural Company posted a full-year loss of $8.4 million last year, blaming the ongoing fallout from the suspension of live cattle exports in 2011.


In economic news, figures from the Housing Industry Association showed new home sales rose by more than 6 per cent in December but remain weak overall.


And Reserve Bank data showed demand for home loans continued to slow in the same month, up just 4.5 per cent for the year and remaining at more than 30-year lows.


About 5pm (AEDT), the Australian dollar was declining against most of its major counterparts.


It was buying 104 US cents, 76.6 euro cents, 94.6 Japanese yen and 65.7 British pence.


Spot gold jumped to $US1,680 an ounce, West Texas crude oil edged up to $US98 a barrel and Tapis crude was also slightly higher at $US121.10 a barrel.

Topics: markets, currency, stockmarket, company-news, australia

Local stocks set for gains on upbeat US data


Stocks on Wall Street had a mixed finish, with some good economic data and corporate earnings offset by a slump in Apple shares.


Official figures show applications for unemployment benefits in the United States fell unexpectedly last week to their lowest level in five years.


Xerox and the world’s biggest online-video service, Netflix, also posted better-than-expected earnings.


However, Apple reported its slowest profit growth since 2003, sending its shares as much as 12 per cent lower.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 46 points to 13,825.


The S&P 500 finished steady at 1,495, but the Nasdaq fell 23 points to 3,130.


Shares in Britain have built on their best start to the year since 1989.


Vodafone rose more than 3 per cent, on rumours that the mobile phone company is considering selling its stake in Verizon Wireless.


By the close, London’s FTSE 100 was up 67 points to 6,265.


Australian shares are expected to open higher – in futures trading, the Share Price Index 200 was up 16 points to 4,797.


The Australian dollar was weaker – around 8:30am (AEDT) it was buying 104.57 US cents.


West Texas crude oil had edged up to $US95.48 a barrel, Tapis was worth $US119.12, and spot gold had fallen to $US1,668 an ounce.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, futures, stockmarket, united-kingdom, united-states, australia

Shares post solid gains on retail surge


The Australian share market is trading near a 21-month, high with healthcare, banking and retail stocks driving gains.


The All Ordinaries index was up 19 points to 4,852, and the ASX 200 index was also 0.4 per cent stronger at 4,829 around 2:00pm (AEDT).


Shares in Westpac were leading the big four banks higher, up 1.2 per cent.


The small retailer Specialty Fashion Group has rallied 37 per cent to 96 cents after saying it will treble its profit in the first half.


That positive news for one clothing retailer has helped drive others higher, particularly the comments on lower cotton prices and a higher Australian dollar helping to drive down purchase costs from suppliers.


The owner of Bonds, Pacific Brands, was up 5.6 per cent to 66 cents.


Premier Investments, which owns the Just clothing group, was up 2.1 per cent, David Jones was 2.7 per cent higher and Myer was ahead 1.6 per cent to $2.48.


Resmed, which makes products to treat sleep disorders, has jumped 6.1 per cent after reporting its quarterly profit rose by a quarter.


However, many miners were a little weaker: BHP Billiton was down 0.4 per cent; Rio Tinto was flat at $66.29; and Fortescue was off 1.1 per cent to $4.58.


Telstra was up 0.7 per cent to $4.59.


The Australian dollar had lost around a cent against the greenback since this time yesterday, and was buying 104.45 US cents.

Topics: markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Share market flat despite industrial gains


The share market closed flat after touching a new 20-month high during the session, with the strongest gains in utility and industrial stocks.


The All Ordinaries index rose by one point to 4,803 and the ASX 200 gained two points, to 4,779.


The big four banks were mixed; the Commonwealth Bank rose 0.6 per cent, Westpac managed a gain of just one cent, while ANZ Bank slipped three cents.


But NAB lost 1 per cent to close at $26.59 after Spanish bank Santander rejected claims it was trying to buy NAB’s troubled UK assets.


NAB’s shares spiked yesterday after British media reported Santander was interested in NAB’s Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank units.


Shares in Downer EDI closed up 1 per cent at $4.42; the engineering firm has won a $90 million rail contract from Transport NSW.


The works are expected to be complete by 2015.


Several ports used by Australia’s major iron ore miners were closed as a tropical storm gathered pace off the West Australian coast.


Port Hedland, which is used by BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Atlas Iron, was closed.


Rio Tinto, meanwhile, said its ports at Dampier and Cape Lambert would also halt operations.


BHP Billiton rose 0.1 per cent, Rio Tinto gained 0.6 per cent and Fortescue Metals jumped 2.4 per cent.


Shares in shopping centre owner Centro fell 1.3 per cent to $2.25 after shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve a name change for the company to Federation Centres.


The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s latest quarterly survey of investor confidence found several indicators had dropped to 15-year lows.


That was despite falling interest rates and a recovery in commodity prices.


In currency trade, the Australian dollar jumped against the greenback but was lower against the yen.


That was after the Bank of Japan announced it would double its inflation target to 2 per cent and unveiled open-ended monetary stimulus.


About 5pm (AEDT) it was buying 105.5 US cents, 79.1 euro cents, 94.2 Japanese yen and 66.6 British pence.


Spot gold was higher at $US1,694 an ounce, West Texas crude oil rose to $US95.60 a barrel and Tapis crude climbed to $US118.40 a barrel.

Topics: markets, business-economics-and-finance, banking, economic-trends, australia

First posted January 22, 2013 19:03:35

Early gains expected on share market

By finance reporter Rebecca HyamPosted January 21, 2013 08:53:47

It is expected to be a good start to the trading week, with Australian shares tipped to capitalise on Wall Street’s gains from last Friday.

News that US Republicans might agree to raise the debt ceiling helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 53 points to 13,649.

The S&P 500 gained 5 points to 1,486.

Those are the highest closing levels for each index since late 2007.

Poor earnings from Intel weighed on the Nasdaq, which closed down 1 point to 3,134.

In local futures trading, the Share Price Index 200 was up 17 points, indicating gains of about 0.4 per cent when the Australian market opens.

The Australian dollar was reasonably steady at 105.12 US cents by 8:50am (AEDT).

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, futures, stockmarket, australia

JGB gains as steepening trade unwound ahead of BOJ

jgb--TOKYO: Long-dated Japanese government bond prices gained on Monday, ahead of the Bank of Japan’s policy announcement, as players took profits on their bets the yield curve would steepen.

Traders said some market players seem to be worried the BOJ may not live up to unusually big market expectations for its two-day policy meeting ending on Tuesday, an outcome that is likely to hurt share prices and benefit low-return bonds.

“Looking at price actions, it seems like the bond market is betting that there will be some disappointment in the stock market tomorrow,” said a bond trader at a Japanese brokerage.

The 10-year JGB futures contract rose 0.16 point to 144.41, moving toward Thursday’s intraday high of 144.50, which was its highest since Dec. 13.

In the cash bond market, longest maturities such as 30-year bonds, outperformed shorter peers, in a move driven by the swap market, where some players took profits from steepening bets.

As the 30-year swap rate fell sharply, the 30-year bond yield fell 3.0 basis point to 1.970 percent while the 10-year yield fell just 1.5 basis point to 0.735 percent .

Japan’s Nikkei share average slipped more than 1.5 percent on Monday, also on profit-taking ahead of the BOJ’s decision. On Friday, it had reached a 32-month high after its biggest one-day gain in nearly two years.

Investors expect the BOJ to set a 2 percent inflation target and increase its asset purchases and make an open-ended commitment to them. Some think the BOJ could cut interest rates on excess reserves or expand the target of its asset purchase.

“The market has partially priced in the chance of cutting rates. So if the BOJ doesn’t, short-term bonds may stumble a bit,” said Toru Yamamoto, chief fixed income strategist at Daiwa Securities.

The two-year JGB yield hit a 7 1/2-year low of 0.070 percent on Friday on growing expectations the BOJ might cut or scrap its 0.10 percent interest payment on excess reserves. The two-year notes were untraded on Monday.

But Yamamoto said that losses will be limited because the market will think the BOJ will take such a step after a new governor takes over from current chief Masaaki Shirakawa, whose term ends in April.

Also on Tuesday, the Ministry of Finance will hold some of its regular periodic meetings with primary JGB dealers.

“I think the main topic should be fiscal year ’13 budget formation and JGB issuance schedule,” said Naomi Muguruma, senior strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “The timing is not related to the BOJ meeting, it’s that the government at the end of last week is mostly done with fiscal year ’13 budget blueprint.”

Copyright Reuters, 2013

Share market ekes out early gains

By finance reporter Rebecca HyamPosted January 21, 2013 11:37:32

Local shares edged higher in early trading, after Wall Street hit a five-year closing high last Friday and commodity prices strengthened.

The All Ordinaries index was up just 6 points to 4,801 shortly before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 was just over 0.1 per cent higher at 4,776.

Shares in NAB had jumped 1.75 per cent to $26.81, after reports of a Spanish bid for the bank’s troubled UK business.

By contrast, Commonwealth Bank shares were down almost 1 per cent and Westpac was 0.2 per cent lower.

Rio Tinto was up 11 cents to $66.46, but BHP Billiton had fallen 3 cents to $36.47.

Department store operator Myer was up 1.5 per cent.

The Australian dollar has been swinging between marginal gains and losses, and was buying 105.04 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Share market gains on mining rise


A rally in resources stocks and a strong lead from Wall Street are helping the Australian share market to gains of about 0.3 per cent.


The All Ordinaries Index was up 17 points to 4,796 just before 1:00pm (AEDT), and the ASX 200 was 16 points higher at 4,773.


Rio Tinto was up 3 per cent to $66.60, after its iron ore boss Sam Walsh was named as Tom Albanese’s successor for the chief executive role.


Shares in Fortescue Metals were 3.2 per cent higher.


The gold miner, St Barbara, had jumped 5 per cent to $1.45.


NAB was 20 cents higher at $26.24 and Commonwealth Bank shares were up 9 cents to $62.55.


Shares in JB Hi-Fi were down more than 0.8 per cent.


The Australian dollar was buying 105.33 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Local market set to follow solid overseas gains


Some strong housing and employment figures in the United States have driven Wall Street to gains of more than half a per cent overnight.


A US Labour Department report shows applications for jobless benefits fell last week to their lowest level in five years.


Separate government figures show housing starts climbed just over 12 per cent in December to an annual rate of 954,000.


That is a much stronger result than analysts had expected, and the best growth since June 2008.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 85 points to 13,596.


The S&P 500 finished the session 8 points higher at 1,481, and the Nasdaq gained 18 points to 3,136.


That solid economic data from the United States helped to boost markets across the Atlantic.


However, gains on the London index were limited by falls for the mining giant, Rio Tinto, after the company announced the sudden departure of its chief executive, Tom Albanese.


By the close, the FTSE 100 Index was up 28 points, or almost 0.5 per cent to 6,132.


The Australian share market is expected to follow its international counterparts higher – in local futures trading, the Share Price Index 200 was up 34 points to 4,755.


The Australian dollar was buying 105.43 US cents.


West Texas crude oil had edged up to $US95.61 a barrel, Tapis was worth $US116.20, and spot gold was higher at $US1,690.86 an ounce.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, futures, stockmarket, australia

Share market quickly gives up early gains

Posted January 10, 2013 11:19:29

The Australian share market has turned negative after a positive start.

The All Ordinaries index was 5 points lower at 4,726 by 11:12am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index was also off 5 points to 4,703.

The major miners are weaker despite a continued rise in the iron ore spot price.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were down around 0.5 per cent each.

The big banks are mixed – National Australian Bank had shed 0.2 per cent.

Telstra was trading flat at $4.48.

The Australian dollar was worth close to 105.02 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Share market gains in very light trade

By finance reporter Rebecca Hyam and staffPosted December 24, 2012 15:12:48

The local share market enjoyed some reasonable gains today, shrugging off a poor lead from international markets at the end of last week.

The deadlock over budget negotiations in the United States sent Wall Street down about 1 per cent last Friday.

US politicians have just one week left to agree on measures that will prevent billions of dollars in tax increases and spending cuts, which are due to start from January 1.

Investors around the world are hoping a deal can be reached to avoid the so-call fiscal cliff.

However, the local market has managed to look beyond those concerns and, in a shortened session that finished at 2:10pm (AEDT) before the two-day Christmas break, the All Ordinaries Index closed up 10 points at 4,645, while the ASX 200 added 0.25 per cent to 4,635.

However, trade was only around a quarter of the levels generally seen on a typical full trading day.

Retailers performed well, with investors betting on a last-minute Christmas shopping splurge.

Shares in department store Myer gained 1 per cent to $2.07, while major rival David Jones closed 1 cent higher at $2.34.

Furniture and electrical retailer Harvey Norman closed up 0.8 per cent and JB Hi-Fi added 8 cents to $10.23.

Mining stocks have benefited from stronger base metal prices – Rio Tinto closed up 10 cents at $64.84 and BHP Billiton gained almost 0.5 per cent to $36.86.

It has been a mixed bag for the major banks: Commonwealth Bank led the way with a 0.5 per cent gain; ANZ closed up 2 cents to $24.97; Westpac closed unchanged at $26.17; but NAB edged down 6 cents to $24.88.

Telstra gained 3 cents to $4.37.

On currency markets, the Australian dollar has been fighting back from earlier losses – around 2:30pm (AEDT) it was buying 104.04 US cents, 87.76 Japanese yen, 78.9 euro cents, 64.34 British pence and $NZ1.2645.

West Texas crude oil was worth $US88.15 a barrel, and Tapis eased slightly to $US114.88 a barrel.

Spot gold was fetching $US1,656.36 an ounce.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Iron ore set to hold onto price gains

Posted January 03, 2013 13:56:15

Many commodity analysts are predicting a positive year for mining companies with the price of iron ore set to stabilise at relatively high levels.

The price of the steel making ingredient is currently around $US145 a tonne.

That may be well down on the $US190 it traded for almost two years ago, but it is much better than the $US87 a tonne it plunged to in September.

ANZ’s head of commodities Mark Pervan says the price has risen as a recovery takes hold in the Chinese economy.

He expects are fairly buoyant year for iron ore producers as that momentum continues.

“If it can sustain these gains, what it does is allow investors to think about more sustainability around expansion plans and profit growth,” he observed.

“So, at these levels, the margin ability in the iron ore industry is going to be very, very strong, so it will be a good outlook for the iron ore and bulk producers.”

Mr Pervan says the price of iron ore is unlikely to plunge back to the levels it hit last September now that there is more optimism about China’s economy, and should continue trading near current prices.

“China was manufacturing a slow down and of course they had the leadership change over. All of those sort of factors are passing so the leadership change over I think brings in a little more optimism,” he added.

“I think they’ll look to reignite a bit of growth next year, albeit it’ll be a steady outlook.

“On balance, the global market will be more encouraging than it was last year, so fundamentally better conditions this year than there were last year.”

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, economic-trends, iron-ore, australia, wa

Unnerved investors halt share market gains

Posted January 04, 2013 18:01:23

The Australian share market has reversed two days of strong gains, after minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee put investors on notice that it may start to wind back its stimulus measurers this year.

At the December meeting of the US Federal Reserve, a number of senior figures wanted to stop or slow down the central bank’s bond-buying program “well before the end of 2013″.

Their concerns are said to focus on the risk of higher inflation.

That unnerved local investors, and by the close the All Ordinaries index had given back 19 points to 4,743.

The ASX 200 index lost 16 points or 0.4 per cent to 4,724.

Mining stocks led declines despite the Chinese spot iron ore price hitting a 15-month high overnight of almost $US150 a tonne.

BHP Billiton shed two-thirds of a per cent to $37.91. Rio Tinto lost 1 per cent.

Fortescue Metals slipped 3.5 per cent and smaller rival Atlas Iron lost 3.2 per cent. The gold miner Newcrest was off 3.6 per cent.

Carsales.com was one of the best performers up 2.6 per cent after figures showed December was a record month for car sales in Australia.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reported almost 95,500 new cars were sold in December – a record for the month and up 15.7 per cent on a year ago.

The Commonwealth Bank ended flat at $63.25 after reaching an all-time high yesterday.

Media stocks did well; Fairfax lifted 1.9 per cent and APN News and media jumped 3.9 per cent.

Market heavyweight Telstra ended around a four-and-a-half-year high of $4.48.

A key services industry report shows activity in Australia’s services sector remained in the doldrums in December, despite an interest rate cut and the busy Christmas shopping period.

The Performance of Services Index by the Australian Industry Group and the Commonwealth Bank fell 3.9 points to 43.2 last month.

That is below the key 50 level which indicates expansion.

The Australian dollar gave back just some of it gains against the greenback and about 5pm (AEDT) was buying 104.41 US cents.

On the cross rates it was buying 80.09 euro cents, 91.67 Japanese yen, 64.96 British pence and $NZ1.26.

West Texas intermediate crude eased a little to $US92.97 a barrel and spot gold prices were also lower at $US1,649 an ounce.

Topics: stockmarket, banking, business-economics-and-finance, currency, australia, united-states

Australian shares continue gains on cliff deal

Updated January 03, 2013 11:25:25

The Australian share market is trading at a fresh 19-month high, after commodity prices were boosted by the US budget deal.

The All Ordinaries index was up 22 points to 4,745 just before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index was up 20 points to 4,726.

Fortescue Metals was up 1.8 per cent and Rio Tinto had jumped 1.3 per cent.

Smaller miner Aquarius Platinum was trading 15 per cent stronger.

Shares in Qantas had risen 3.5 per cent.

Fairfax was also up sharply, by close to 4 per cent to 53.5 cents.

The major banks have added between 0.2 and 0.4 per cent each.

The Australian dollar has come off its overnight high against the greenback and was buying 104.89 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

First posted January 03, 2013 11:24:12

Market holds gains despite weak economic data


The Australian share market held onto gains today despite the release of weak economic data on the domestic economy.


Readings on the ANZ’s job advertisements report in December and housing finance for owner occupiers in November both fell, and analysts say investors are waiting for leads from the United States company reporting season which resumes tonight.


By the close the All Ordinaries index added 12 points to 4,746 while the ASX 200 index gained 10 points to 4,720.


Mining stocks continued to pull back after commodity prices for the likes of copper and iron ore fell over the weekend, with BHP Billiton off 0.3 per cent.


Bluescope Steel also slipped 0.3 per cent after the company announced 170 jobs were set to its Western Port operations on the Mornington Peninsula in a bid to remain competitive.


The company’s rival Arrium, once known as OneSteel, added 3 per cent while Rio Tinto had a 0.1 per cent gain to $65.86.


The US terms of trade data was positive for Australian retailers, having showed demand for consumer goods which rose to record levels in November.


JB Hi-Fi jumped 2 per cent and David Jones was 0.4 per cent stronger.


Aluminium producer Alumina continued to rise, up 3.2 per cent on the back of a positive earnings numbers from its US partner Alcoa last week.


In the financial sector, investors moved out of Westpac after the stock rose 10 per cent in the past two months.


Money instead flowed into NAB and the Commonwealth Bank, both up between 0.4 and 0.6 per cent.


Defensive stocks outperformed the market for much of the day; by the close, Telstra added 0.2 of a per cent to $4.59.


The Ten Network jumped 6.5 per cent among the top performers in the ASX 200, while construction company UGL was among the worst, off 3.4 per cent.


In currency trade, the Australian advanced against the greenback and was buying 105.56 US cents about 5pm (AEDT).


It was also buying 78.84 euro cents, 65.2 British pence and $NZ1.255.


West Texas crude oil was $US93.60 a barrel and the spot gold price was at $US1,665.50 cents an ounce.

Topics: stockmarket, markets, currency, australia

Shares post modest early gains


The share market is edging higher early on, helped by gains in healthcare stocks.


The All Ordinaries index had risen by 0.2 per cent to 4,754 just before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index had added the same amount to be at 4,729.


Billabong shares jumped when they started trading at 11:00am, 10 minutes later they were at 96 cents, up 13.6 per cent.


Rio Tinto was down 0.6 per cent ahead of the release of its latest quarterly review at 3:00pm (AEDT) today.


The big four banks were mostly higher, only Westpac was lower by 0.2 per cent.


The Australian dollar was buying 105.65 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

First posted January 15, 2013 11:27:21

Share market gains in early trade


The Australian share market is gaining ground early, with banks leading the way in the first hour of trading.


The All Ordinaries Index was up 16 points to 4,750, and the ASX 200 was also 0.3 per cent higher at 4,725 shortly before 11:00am (AEDT).


Commonwealth Bank shares were up around 0.7 per cent to $61.82, while NAB was up 16 cents to $25.73.


Westpac was the exception – it was down 4 cents to $26.54.


The big miners were losing value, after base metal prices weakened.


B-H-P Billiton was down 0.6 per cent and Rio Tinto was 0.2 per cent lower.


Telstra was up more than 0.5 per cent and retailers were also enjoying some solid gains.


The Australian dollar was giving up some of this morning’s gains and was worth 105.32 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Melbourne home price slide offsets gains elsewhere

Updated December 03, 2012 13:38:36

Melbourne has dragged down the nation’s home price performance in November, leaving the national market flat overall.

RP Data – Rismark’s Home Value Index was unchanged for November, with a 1 per cent fall in Melbourne values offsetting modest to strong gains in the other capital cities.

Canberra (1.3 per cent), Darwin (1.1 per cent) and Perth (1 per cent) recorded the best gains, with Brisbane and Adelaide also up 0.5 per cent.

Sydney recorded a tepid 0.1 per cent gain which, combined with the steep fall in the nation’s second biggest housing market, left the index flat overall.

Hobart home prices also rose just 0.1 per cent, to be down 7 per cent over the past year.

While the national capital city home price index is down 0.1 per cent over the year to November, that has been driven mostly by a 2.5 per cent fall in Melbourne, and even steeper declines in Adelaide and Hobart.

RP Data’s senior research analyst Cameron Kusher says it looks like some markets have hit the bottom of their price cycles.

“Melbourne perhaps hasn’t bottomed, but markets which have been under-performing for a long period of time, like Sydney, like Brisbane, like Perth, certainly do appear to have reached the bottom and each of those cities has actually seen values now increase over the last 12 months,” he said.

“So, broadly speaking, I think we’re pretty close or at the bottom of the housing market.”

He says it is those cities that performed best during 2009 and 2010, particularly Melbourne, that are likely to show continued weakness, even as other markets pick up.

“Home values in Brisbane and Perth remain below where they were five years ago, whereas the other mainland cities have all increased over this period,” he noted in the report.

“This has meant that, relative to the other capital cities, Brisbane and Perth have experienced affordability improvements and subsequently we may see them become more popular from both an owner-occupation and investment perspective.”

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, economic-trends, housing-industry, money-and-monetary-policy, australia, vic

First posted December 03, 2012 11:05:23

Ford, Chrysler extend strong gains in US auto sales

CHICAGO: Ford and Chrysler posted solid gains Monday as an overall improving economic outlook and high demand for replacement vehicles following the devastating Hurricane Sandy boosted US auto sales in November. Automotive website TrueCar.com forecast that total US auto sales will rise 13 percent in November and the sales pace will reach an adjusted, annualized rate of 15.2 million vehicles.


“November was a strong month for new car sales and the impact from hurricane Sandy helped to boost auto sales to its highest since February 2008,” said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for TrueCar.com. “Import automakers got the biggest lift due to some increased incentive spending building momentum heading into next year. We don’t expect any major impact on auto sales from the ongoing fiscal cliff discussions.”


Ford posted its best November since 2005, as sales rose six percent to 177,673 vehicles. The results were drive by strong demand for its small cars, which posted their best November in 12 years.


“November represented a strong month for the industry, and Ford sales performed well across the board,” said Ken Czubay, head of Ford sales. “We saw sharp increases in demand for Ford’s fuel-efficient small cars, our best-ever month for electrified vehicles and growing demand for our fuel-efficient and capable F-Series pickups.”


Chrysler’s sales grew by 14 percent to 122,565 vehicles for the best November performance since 2007. It has now posted 32 consecutive months of sales gains and its sales are up 22 percent for the year to date. “Even with all the talk of a looming fiscal cliff, Chrysler Group is well positioned for a strong sales finish to the year,” said sales chief Reid Bigland. “We are expecting a strong December as the industry continues to recover from the East Coast hurricane and consumers continue to respond to our popular year-end Big Finish event.”


More results were expected later Monday.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Brazil central bank calls currency swap auction, currency gains

SAO PAULO: Brazil’s central bank offered to sell $2 billion in currency swaps on Monday, strengthening the country’s currency, the real, from around the weakest levels in over 3-1/2 years.


The auction will take place between 9:40 a.m. (1140 GMT) and 9:50 a.m. and its results will be announced at 10:00 a.m., the central bank said in a statement. All swap contracts offered expire on Jan. 2.


Brazil’s currency, the real, gained shortly after the announcement and was trading 0.72 percent stronger at 2.1147 reais per US dollar. It slumped on Friday after weaker-than-expected economic growth data suggested the government would let the currency depreciate to prop up the economy.

Copyright Reuters, 2012

Share post strong gains on positive US news

By finance reporter Elysse MorganPosted November 22, 2012 12:05:17

The share market is making strong gains, bettering more modest rises on US and European markets overnight.

The All Ordinaries was more than 1 per cent higher at 4,440, and the ASX 200 was up 52 points at 4,422, with strong gains across the board.

The resources sector is leading the rise, up around 1.3 per cent, and the major banks are generally seeing gains above 1 per cent.

Breads and spreads maker Goodman Fielder was up 3 per cent after suggesting to investors that it may resume paying dividends again soon.

The Australian dollar was buying 103.8 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Euro gains in Asia on Greece hopes

TOKYO: The euro gained ground in Asia Thursday on optimism a long-sought bailout deal for Greece will be found, while the yen was mixed amid speculation of further easing measures from the Bank of Japan.

In Tokyo the European single currency fetched $1.2846, up from $1.2826 in New York late Wednesday, while it bought 105.96 yen against 105.84 yen.

The dollar retreated from gains in early Asian trade to buy 82.48 yen against 82.51 yen.

The euro has won support after European leaders insisted Wednesday that their third attempt in as many weeks to unblock bailout funds for debt-stricken Greece will likely succeed, as Athens warned that eurozone stability depended on it.

The yen, meanwhile, has been under pressure since Japan’s main opposition leader Shinzo Abe, widely tipped to become prime minister after elections next month, said he would press the Bank of Japan for aggressive monetary easing to boost the economy.

Abe’s comments have heaped further pressure for action by the BoJ, which held steady on launching fresh easing measures after a policy meeting this week.

But the bank’s remarks about Japan’s weakening economy and a string of poor economic data has sparked speculation it will launch new stimulus after its December meeting. Easing tends to weigh on the currency.

Traders also reacted to a mixed bag of US economic data, while awaiting a deal in Washington on avoiding the fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes that come into effect on January 1 and will likely tip the economy into recession.

Market makes second day of strong gains

Posted November 20, 2012 19:17:37

A rally in mining stocks has led the share market to its second straight day of strong gains.

The All Ordinaries closed up 25 points at 4,408, and the ASX 200 matched that gain adding just over 0.5 per cent to 4,386.

The market got off to a positive start after Wall Street closed firmer, following upbeat housing data and the belief legislators would reach an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Major miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto added more than 1 per cent, while some smaller operators saw gains of over 5 per cent during trade.

Rare earths miner Lynas ended 4 per cent higher after the company told shareholders it expects to start its processing plant in Malaysia next month, as environmentalists held campaigns outside its AGM against the plant.

Shares in uranium miner Paladin leapt 9 per cent.

The banking sector was a drag on the market.

Fortunes were mixed among the big four, with Westpac and NAB rising more than 1 per cent but ANZ and Commonwealth both falling close to 0.5 per cent.

The Reserve Bank released the minutes from its November board meeting, and most commentary was a repeat of the statement of monetary policy the bank released last week.

But one key line, that “further easing may be appropriate in the period ahead”, has many economists saying the cash rate will be cut in December.

The market is now pricing a 60 per cent chance of a cut.

The Australian dollar could be set to join the big league, with the IMF considering classifying the Australian dollar as an official reserve currency.

The move is a sign of the dollar’s rising importance and demand for it from foreign banks.

The Australian dollar had dipped following the release of the RBA’s minutes but had since recovered.

Just before 5:30pm AEDT it was buying 104.05 US cents, 81.3 euro cents, 65.4 British pence and 84.6 Japanese yen.

West Texas crude continued to climb to $US89, while Tapis was up $3 a barrel to $US116. Spot gold climbed to $US1,733 an ounce.

Topics: markets, business-economics-and-finance, australia

Share market gains wane as day wears on

By finance reporter Elysse Morgan and staffPosted November 19, 2012 13:21:14

The local share market continues to trim earlier gains, made following positive comments from US political leaders about avoiding the fiscal cliff.

The All Ordinaries was just a 0.2 per cent higher at 4,367, and the ASX 200 had made a similar modest gain, up 8 points to 4,345 by 1:10pm (AEDT).

The major bank stocks are weighing on the market, with NAB the only one of the big four remaining in positive territory, the rest seeing losses of at least 0.3 per cent.

Rio Tinto was also giving back morning gains, falling 0.6 per cent as investor confidence faded.

However, BHP Billiton was up 0.9 per cent.

The Australian dollar was gaining against the greenback, buying 103.7 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Share market falls despite retail gains

By finance reporter Elysse Morgan and staffPosted November 15, 2012 12:11:28

Retailers and Qantas have defied a generally negative trend that has seen the share market slip 0.8 per cent overall.

Shares in Qantas had jumped more than 4 per cent by 12:00pm (AEDT) to just over $1.28 after announcing a share buy-back and early debt repayments.

Myer was up 5.5 per cent at $2.11 after its sales beat low expectations, and its positive result helped drag David Jones 4.7 per cent higher and JB Hi-Fi more than 2 per cent up.

However, the rest of the market is on the slide.

The All Ordinaries index was down 0.8 per cent to 4,375, and the ASX was matching that fall, down 34 points to 4,354.

Resource stocks were sharply lower, with BHP Billiton off 1.5 per cent and Rio Tinto falling 2 per cent.

The major banks were all in negative territory, with CBA leading the decline with a 1 per cent fall.

The Australian dollar was sharply down against the greenback – it has been trading around a cent lower than this time yesterday, as traders avoid risk currencies.

It was worth 103.5 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Market watch: Market rounds off week adding moderate gains

Benchm­ark KSE-100 index climbs 55 points.  The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.81 billion. Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs159.46 million.


KARACHI: The stock market rounded off the week with moderate gains on the last trading day, led higher by increased investor optimism for the textile, oil, cement and banking sectors.


“Consolidation continued amid hopes for a further cut in the State Bank’s policy rate on falling consumer price index inflation, and expected resumption of gas for the fertiliser sector,” reported Ahsan Mehanti, analyst at Arif Habib Corp. “Renewed institutional support on rising local cement prices and expectations for an easing security situation in the city played a catalyst role in bullish sentiments,” he added.


The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index gained 0.34% or 54.67 points to end at the 16,197.74 points level. Trade volumes, however, were lower at 165 million shares, compared with Thursday’s tally of 236 million shares. Equity dealer Samar Iqbal, from Topline Securities, said that investors chose to remain at the sidelines over security concerns in the city.


The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.81 billion. Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs159.46 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.


Shares of 361 companies were traded on Friday. At the end of the day 212 stocks closed higher, 109 declined while 40 remained unchanged. Analysts reported that most activity was confined to small and mid-cap stocks.


Fauji Cement was the volume leader with 17.62 million shares losing Rs0.09 to finish at Rs6.74. It was followed by Byco Petroleum with 17.06 million shares losing Rs0.11 to close at Rs9.59 and Jahangir Siddiqui & Company with 16.63 million shares gaining Rs0.39 to close at Rs16.96.


“Second and third [tier] cement [stocks] continue to churn higher volumes as retailers dominated volumes [sic],” reported Elixir Securities analyst Sibtain Mustafa. “Banks traded higher as year-end results, along with [the] possibility of a healthy payout, kept activity on the higher side.”

Economic data prompts share market gains

Posted November 05, 2012 18:27:57

The share market clawed back earlier losses after a raft of economic data was released midway through the session.

The All Ordinaries ended a quarter of a per cent higher at 4,494 while the ASX 200 added 14 points to 4,474 after being down as much as 0.4 per cent in early trade.

The Bureau of Statistics today revealed better-than-expected retail sales and international trade figures.

Retail turnover rose half a per cent in September, which is slightly above forecasts.

Other data shows Australia’s trade deficit also came in above expectations, shrinking 22 per cent from August to September to $1.5 billion.

However there are some clouds on the horizon with ANZ monthly job ads report showing 4.6 per cent last month, the seventh straight month of declines.

And the leading private inflation gauge by TD Securities shows consumer prices rose in October to sit in the middle of the Reserve Bank’s target band.

The market ended mostly higher with retail stocks dragging.

Myer dropped 1.5 per cent, while David Jones slumped just over 4 per cent.

The two bright spots were food retailers Woolworths and Wesfarmers which both rose close to half a per cent after the retail sales data revealed the biggest rise in September was in food.

Westpac was the last of the big four to reveal its full-year profit today, reporting a 15 per cent slide to just under $6 billion.

Last week ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank both showed a rise in profits, while NAB’s earnings plunged 22 per cent.

Today bank stocks were mixed; Westpac put on 1.5 per cent while CBA and NAB ended down.

The major miners gained ground, Rio Tinto leading gains up 2.6 per cent.

The Australian dollar rose following the release of today’s swathe of data and about 5pm (AEDT) was buying 103.6 US cents.

On the cross rates it was buying 80.7 euro cents, 64.5 British pence and 83.3 Japanese yen.

West Texas crude was down to just below $US85 a barrel, Tapis was down to $US111 and spot gold was worth $US1,679 an ounce.

Topics: stockmarket, retail, banking, australia

Dubai markets gains, Abu Dhabi down marginally

Abu Dhabi: The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) index rose marginally on Wednesday in the absence of local catalysts remained and international market sentiments deterred investors from any major risk taking.

Yesterday, the investors booked profits in real estate major Emaar, which capped the market’s upside potential. The investors are fearing greater downside risks in view of the fast approaching fiscal cliff in the US and uncertainty surrounding policymakers in world’s largest economy.

The DFM index closed yesterday at 1,616.81, up 0.12 per cent. Around 126.72 million shares, cumulatively worth about Dh126.48 million were traded on the Dubai stock market yesterday. Emaar’s shares cumulatively valued at around Dh26.8 million were traded, its stock closing 0.55 per cent lower at Dh3.62. Construction major Arabtec’s shares also fell, by 0.41 per cent, closing at Dh2.40.

Of the 27 company stocks traded yesterday, only 13 rose, while 10 fell and 4 closed unchanged. The day’s top gainer was NCC, its stock rising 8.97 per cent to close at Dh2.55. Shuaa Capital was the day’s main loser, its shares fell 5.59 per cent to close at Dh0.557. The shares of Ajman Bank were the most traded by value and volume.

Article continues below

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) general index fell yesterday, although only fractionally, but the volume of trade was lacklustre amid lack of catalysts.

However, experts say the upside potential of the market remains intact as the market continues to trade just below the 2,700 mark, which is seen as a long-term bullish signal.

Strong performance from the banking sector in the fiscal third quarter have bolstered the hopes of investors for a sustained market rally, should the global macro-economic indicators not take a turn for the worse. As well, the market is being supported by the still high global crude oil prices which are trading well above $100 a barrel.

The stock market index closed yesterday at 2,691.34, down 0.13 per cent. The overall value of share transactions, however, remained well below Dh74 million. The investors sold banking shares, but bought real estate and energy shares which pared the index’s decline.

Around 59.59 million shares, cumulatively valued at about Dh73.17 million were traded yesterday. Of the 31 company stocks which traded, 14 advanced, while 9 fell and 8 closed unchanged.

The stock of Abu Dhabi’s real estate major Aldar Properties closed unchanged at Dh1.28. About 4.92 million shares of Aldar, cumulatively worth about Dh6.36 million changed hands on the market. Sorouh Real Estate’s shares also remained unchanged, closing at Dh1.29.

The top gainer on the Abu Dhabi market yesterday was Eshraq, its shares closing 8.11 per cent higher at Dh0.40. National Bank of Umm al Qaiwain was the day’s top loser, its stock falling 5.26 per cent to close at Dh1.80. The shares of telecommunications major etisalat were the most traded in terms of value while energy company Dana Gas’ stock was the most traded by volume.

Bund erase gains after euro zone data

Thursday, 15 November 2012 17:22 Posted by Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui

LONDON: German Bund futures fell to a session low on Thursday, wiping out earlier gains as traders cited relief that eurozone economic output data was not as bad as some in the market had positioned for.


“The data was more or less in line with consensus and as such there’s probably a little bit of relief that it isn’t worse,” a trader said.


The Bund future fell as low as 143.08, down 6 ticks on the day, having earlier risen as high as 143.37.

Copyright Reuters, 2012

KSE index likely to consolidate gains


KARACHI: The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-index is expected to consolidate in the positive zone next week with ranged-bound trading and low volumes, said dealers on Saturday.


“The KSE is seen ending the next week on a positive note,” said Khurram Schehzad, vice president of research at Arif Habib Limited.


“The reelection of Obama as the US president should be taken positive for Pakistan’s economy amid capital markets.”


In the week ended on Thursday, the KSE-100 index gained 141.72 points, or 0.88 percent, to close at an all-time high of 16,243.07 points.


The KSE-30 index improved by 122.21 points, or 0.92 percent, to 13,331.46 points.


Schehzad said that Obama’s election meant continuity in the US policies, particularly the economic ones, towards Pakistan.


“Reportedly, the US may reimburse around $400 million to Pakistan in November-December that it had spent on the war on terror. Besides, it may also release some funds under the Kerry Lugar Act.”


He, however, said that expected gains next week will not be the significant one. “The index will face resistance before approaching the 16,500 points level.”


Faisal Shaji, head of research at Standard Capital Securities, however, foresaw the index to cross 16,500 points for the first time next week. “The index will face resistance somewhere around 16,800 points-level.”


The oil and bank stocks would continue to take the index up.


“The ringing oil prices in the world markets and consistent capital gains by banks would keep the two sectors attractive.”


He, however, did not rule out the chances of profit-selling, as well, saying that repayments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in November-December may further depreciate the rupee value against the dollar and result in foreign outflow from the capital markets.


An analyst at KASB Securities said that the market will likely to require new drivers to sustain or possibly build on the gains after excitement related to corporate earnings came to an end.


“For telecoms, verdict of the International Clearing House is likely to be announced on November 14, which could cast a make or break spell. Another key event worthy of tracking is the MSCI Review on the November 14.”


He also suggested keeping a close eye on the exchange rate as looming repayments to the IMF ($600 million) in November is likely to translate into higher volatility on this front.


The average daily turnover trimmed by three percent to 146 million shares in the outgoing week against 150 million shares traded in the previous week.


Market capitalisation surged by Rs36 billion to the record high of Rs4,049 billion. Foreigners bought net stocks worth $14.9 million during the week.


Naveed Tehsin, an analyst at JS Global, said that the KSE maintained upward trend during the week.


However, weekly gains were trimmed by a mid-week market correction as investors were unnerved by a statement made by the Chief of the Army staff, saying that various institutions are overstepping their roles and impacting the credibility of the armed forces.


Highlights of the week included cement sales figures released for October, which showed decline of 5.9 percent on year-on-year basis to 2.8 million tons led by weak exports, government plans regarding gas allocation to the fertiliser plants, and cotton arrivals witnessed an increase of 2.2 percent in the current fiscal year.


An analyst of KASB said that investors focused on brewing developments over national (Asghar Khan case, Swiss letter) and international (US elections) political landscape.

Posco Q3 profit triples on cost cuts, currency gains

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 13:12 Posted by Imaduddin

SEOUL: South Korean steel giant Posco said Tuesday its third-quarter net profit more than tripled from a year earlier on aggressive cost-cutting efforts and currency gains.


Consolidated net profit in the July-September period rose to 723 billion won ($656 million) from 229 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a statement.


But sales fell 7.2 percent year-on-year to 15.74 trillion won and operating profit dropped 17.6 percent to 1.06 trillion won.


The world’s third-largest steelmaker by output has streamlined its business lineup and boosted sales of high-end products to cope with oversupply of steel and slowing demand.


Posco said the won’s appreciation also helped drive down its dollar-denominated debts in the period. The South Korean unit, which hit a 13-month high against the greenback on Tuesday, has been boosted by foreign inflows as dealers look to Asia for better investment returns.


By the end of September, it had achieved 90 percent of this year’s cost-reduction target of 1.1 trillion won, the statement said.


Posco has targetted 67.2 trillion won in total sales this year, down from 68.94 trillion won last year. It also cut this year’s spending by 5.6 percent to 8.4 trillion won.


On Monday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded its credit rating on Posco by one notch to “BBB+” from “A-”, citing weak demand. POSCO shares fell 2.1 percent Tuesday to 348,000 won.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Malaysias Astro sees soft gains on market return


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s biggest pay-TV firm Astro rose 3.3 percent from its IPO price Friday, below expectations for its return to the bourse in Southeast Asia’s third-largest share sale this year.


Astro shares opened just one percent higher at 3.03 ringgit ($1.00) on the Kuala Lumpur exchange, only slightly higher than the 3.00 ringgit offer price set for the $1.5 billion flotation. But two hours into trading it edged up to 3.10 ringgit.


However, analysts, who had forecast the stock to open up to 10 percent above its offer price, said they expected it to gain throughout the day with traders initially staying on the sidelines.


“I think it will catch up,” Ooi Chin Hock, a dealer with Malaysia’s M & A Securities, told AFP.


Astro dominates the nation’s pay-to-view television market, reaching almost half the country’s 6.6 million households and offering more than 150 different channels.


The share offer was launched despite a volatile global economy that has forced the delay of other major IPOs in Asia, including a planned $2.5 billion Formula One listing in Singapore.


Astro chief executive officer Rohana Rozhan said the company was confident of growth over the next five years.


“We are operating against a backdrop of an increasingly affluent and young demographic… That’s where our growth story is going to come from,” she told reporters.


Astro said it will use some of the money from the share sale for capital expenditures, such as upgrading the equipment it offers, and debt repayment.


Astro, controlled by Malaysia’s second richest man Ananda Krishnan and state investment firm Khazanah Nasional, was delisted from the Malaysian stock exchange following a 2010 buyout by its owners.


The move was aimed at “re-energising” the company’s growth, such as expanding its ventures in China and India and investing in its new Internet Protocol TV projects.


At that time, Astro said a re-listing would “certainly be considered when (it) achieves a more stable earnings profile”. When the company was taken private it was valued at $2.6 billion.


The offer had seen demand for the institutional portion — 1.26 billion shares — outstrip supply by more than 30 times, with 16 so-called cornerstone investors.


Demand for the remaining 259.9 million shares made available to the public was also high, underscoring appetite for new listings in Malaysia despite a broad weakening in the global IPO market this year.


Palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures Holdings raised $3 billion on the Kuala Lumpur exchange in June, followed by the $2 billion dual listing of IHH, Asia’s biggest hospital operator, in Malaysia and neighbouring Singapore.


Global accountancy firm Ernst and Young said Bursa Malaysia was the third-biggest in terms of funds raised in IPOs in the second quarter of 2012, following the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange.


Analysts credit the divestment push and government efforts to encourage IPOs and boost the economy as elections approach, but say the Malaysian exchange is unlikely to supplant Asian IPO capitals like Hong Kong and Singapore.

Gold extends gains


SINGAPORE: Gold inched up on Wednesday, rising for a second day with the support of a stronger euro as concerns about the bloc’s debt crisis eased after Moody’s affirmed Spain’s rating and German business sentiment improved.


The euro hit a one-month high and the dollar index dropped to its lowest in nearly two weeks, reflecting a pick-up in risk appetite after Moody’s Investors Service affirmed Spain’s investment grade. A weaker greenback makes dollar-priced commodities more attractive for buyers holding other currencies. In the United States, the latest data showed the world’s largest economy still faces challenges, suggesting to investors that economic growth was not strong enough for the Federal Reserve to curtail its stimulus measures.


“Things are improving a little bit, but we are heading towards significant headwinds in the global economy,” said Jeremy Friesen, commodity strategist at Societe Generale in HK.

Share market rises following overseas gains

Posted October 17, 2012 13:21:37

The Australian dollar has jumped back above 103 US cents, while the local share market has also made solid gains.

The All Ordinaries index had risen 32 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 4,546 just before 1:00pm (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index was up 31 points to 4,523.

The share market gains have been broadly spread.

The major banks are all trading higher: NAB and ANZ were 0.9 per cent higher, while Westpac and the Commonwealth were up 0.2 per cent.

Qantas shares have risen 0.4 per cent while rival Virgin Australia is up 0.5 per cent.

Construction firm Leighton Holdings is up 4 per cent after confirming a joint venture in the Middle East has been awarded a contract to build a large healthcare facility.

The Ten Network has been one of the biggest losers of the day, falling nearly 7.5 per cent after the company confirmed that a deal to sell its outdoor advertising business had fallen through.

Ten says it remains in discussions to negotiate an amended sale agreement.

Fairfax has slipped 1.3 per cent, but Seven Group is up 1 per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying around 103.13 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

KSE 100-share gains 48 points

KARACHI: The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended 0.31 percent, or 48.54 points, higher at 15,756.90 on total volume of 81.796 million shares.

Stocks closed slightly higher on Monday but investors were mostly waiting for upcoming earnings announcements, traders said.

“The market recovered slightly today but overall the volume was down because the market are waiting for some positive earnings figures,” said a dealer at Topline Securities.

“There was some activity in cement stocks.”

In the currency market, the Pakistani rupee ended slightly stronger at 95.34/95.38 compared to Friday’s close of 95.48/95.68 to the dollar.

Overnight rates in the money market closed at 8.00 percent compared to Friday’s 7.00 percent. (REUTERS)

Banks lead way on gains for local market

Posted October 16, 2012 17:58:19

The Australian share market opened strongly riding on optimism from Europe and the US, but lost most of those gains during the day to finish slightly higher.

The All Ordinaries index ended up eight points on finish on 4,514 while the ASX 200 also gained eight points to reach 4,492.

The finance sector posted some of the strongest gains, with Macquarie group ending 1.1 per cent higher.

The major banks all finished in positive territory, led by a 1.1 per cent gain for NAB.

The Commonwealth Bank rose 0.3 per cent, and ANZ and Westpac each ended up 0.1 per cent.

Retailers also fared well on the market.

JB Hi-Fi gained 1.7 per cent, Myer rose 1.6 per cent and Harvey Norman closed 1 per cent higher.

The exception was Billabong. The surfwear retailer slipped 4.5 per cent to under 75 cents per share.

The local airlines both posted gains. Virgin Australia rose 2.4 per cent and Qantas finished 0.4 per cent higher.

But the market was dragged down by the mining sector.

Rio Tinto lost 1.25 per cent, despite reporting a solid rise in production, while its main rival, BHP Billiton, fell 0.8 per cent.

Other iron ore miners also suffered, with Mount Gibson falling 2.2 per cent and Atlas losing 1 per cent.

But Fortescue Metals Group bucked the trend. The company was trading higher and rose further after confirming it will push ahead with an expansion of iron ore production.

Fortescue finished the day up nearly 3.5 per cent.

The Reserve Bank released the minutes of its October board meeting, revealing its reasons for a 25-basis-points cut to the official cash rate.

The RBA noted international and domestic factors behind its decision, including a likely slowdown to the mining sector.

About 5pm (AEDT) West Texas crude oil was worth about $US92 a barrel, Tapis crude oil was fetching around $ US117 a barrel, while spot gold was trading at $US1,738 an ounce.

The Australian dollar was buying around 102.76 US cents, 79.11 euro cents, 81.1 Japanese yen, 63.89 British pence and 125.71 New Zealand cents.

Topics: markets, business-economics-and-finance, stockmarket, futures, currency, australia

Share market gains on mining

Posted October 12, 2012 12:11:05

The local share market has posted small gains overall, despite a slump in the shares of surfwear retailer Billabong.

The All Ordinaries index was up 10 points to 4,515 around midday (AEDT), and the ASX 200 had also gained 10 points to 4,493.

Billabong’s share price has fallen by around 16 per cent after private equity firm TPG withdrew its bid of $1.45 a share.

After this morning’s losses, the surfwear company’s has been trading under 85 cents a share.

The local airlines have enjoyed some of the biggest gains on the market, as rival British Airways assured customers it has no plans to withdraw from the Australian market.

Qantas has risen by 2.3 per cent, while Virgin Australia was up 1.7 per cent.

The mining sector was also trading higher.

Rio Tinto was up 1.6 per cent, while its rival BHP Billiton has gained 0.75 per cent.

The major banks have made more modest gains, led by a rise of 0.6 per cent for ANZ ahead of its interest rates announcement this afternoon.

The Australian dollar was steady against the greenback, buying about 102.73 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Modest gains at end of volatile week

Posted October 12, 2012 17:39:02

A volatile week on the Australian share market has ended with the market rising slightly on Friday, following on from modest gains in the US and Europe.

The All Ordinaries index closed up five points to 4,510 while the ASX 200 finished up three points at 4,486.

The day’s biggest mover was Billabong, which was hammered by investors after private equity firm TPG withdrew its takeover bid for the surfwear retailer.

Billabong crashed nearly 17 per cent to a near low of 84 cents a share, and analysts believe the price could slip further.

It was a poor day for the retail sector in general.

Department stores David Jones and Myer fell 1.2 and a quarter of a per cent respectively.

Woolworths ended the day down 0.9 per cent, while JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman lost 1 per cent each.

The local airlines had a better day after British Airways was forced to reaffirm its commitment to the Australian market.

British Airways’ longstanding alliance with Qantas will finish at the end of March.

Qantas stocks rose 0.4 per cent, while Virgin Australia jumped 2.4 per cent.

There were mixed fortunes, however, for the major banks.

ANZ ended the day up 0.2 per cent but had traded higher before confirming it would cut its standard variable home loan rate by 20 basis points.

The bank’s decision came 10 days after the Reserve Bank cut the official rate by 25 basis points.

The Commonwealth rose 0.2 per cent but Westpac fell 0.4 per cent and the NAB dropped 0.2 per cent.

The miners were also a mixed bag, though the big players fared well;
Rio Tinto finished up 1.8 per cent and BHP Billiton rose 0.9 per cent.

Mount Gibson Iron was among the losers as it shed 2.1 per cent.

The Australian dollar rose slightly against the greenback during the day and around 5pm (AEDT) was buying around 102.81 US cents.

It was also worth 79.45 euro cents, 80.58 Japanese yen and 64.09 British pence.

Spot gold rose slightly to $US1,770 an ounce, West Texas crude oil was worth about $US92 a barrel and Tapis crude oil was fetching around $US117 a barrel.

Topics: markets, business-economics-and-finance, australia

Arrium leads gains on local market

Posted October 01, 2012 18:19:45

Shares in the mining and steel-making company Arrium led gains on the Australian share market today

Shares closed up 25 per cent after the company rejected a $1 billion takeover approach from a consortium called Steel Makers Australia, led by Singapore’s Noble Group and South Korean steelmaker POSCO.

Arrium says the unsolicited bid of 75 cents undervalues the company.

Bluescope Steel received a boost from the offer. It closed 2.4 per cent higher.

The broader market ended flat after global markets slipped on Friday and as much of the country enjoyed a public holiday.

Shares in Fairfax hit a new low of 40.5 cents. Qantas shares recorded a fall of 2.5 per cent.

Among the market heavyweights, Telstra lost 1 per cent to end at $3.88.

Miner BHP Billiton added 0.25 per cent with less than five million shares being exchanged.

Westpac was the best performing major bank, up 0.4 per cent.

In economic news, a key industry survey has just five out of 28 economists surveyed tipping an interest rate cut when the Reserve Bank meets tomorrow.

A benign private reading on inflation for September adds to the case that rates will remain on hold at 3.5 per cent.

The monthly TD Securities – Melbourne Institute inflation gauge rose by 0.2 per cent in the month, keeping the annual inflation rate well within the Reserve Bank’s target range.

In China, official data shows manufacturing activity rose slightly in September in line with expectations, but the sector as a whole is still contracting.

The Australian dollar headed higher against the greenback in afternoon trade.

About 5:00pm (AEST) it was buying 103.55 US cents, 80.63 euro cents, 64.10 British pence and $NZ1.25.

Spot gold dropped slightly to $US1,766 US an ounce and West Texas crude oil closed at $US92.19 a barrel.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, stockmarket, currency, australia

Small share gains expected following mildly positive lead

By finance reporter Justine ParkerPosted October 04, 2012 08:52:08

Global markets have seen small gains, after positive news on the US economy helped trade on Wall Street, but oil prices dropped amid concerns about global economic growth.

In the United States, a study showed the services sector grew at a faster rate in September.

Figures also showed that job creation by private companies beat expectations.

The Dow Jones was 0.1 per cent higher at 13,495, the S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent to 1,451, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5 per cent to 3,135.

Shares in computer giant Hewlett-Packard dropped to a nine-year low after its chief executive, Meg Whitman, said she expected full-year profit to come in below expectations.

The company is struggling to turn around its weak performance. It has had six chief executives in seven years.

Over in Europe, results were mixed after a survey showed economic conditions worsened in the eurozone last month.

Investors are also still waiting for some clarity on when Spain will request a bailout.

The FTSE 100 in London gained 0.3 per cent to 5,826 and the DAX in Germany rose 0.2 per cent, but the CAC 40 in France fell 0.25 per cent.

In futures trade locally, the ASX SPI 200 index was 12 points higher at 4,447, suggesting a positive start to trade on the Australian market.

In commodity trade, spot gold remains at year highs, worth $US1,778 dollars an ounce.

West Texas crude oil dropped to $US88 a barrel, amid concerns about demand for crude oil and global growth.

In currency trade, the Australian dollar was down further against the greenback after figures yesterday showed Australia’s trade deficit ballooned in August.

It was buying point 102.1 US cents, 79.2 euro cents, 80.2 Japanese yen, 63.5 British pence and nearly $NZ1.25.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, futures, australia

KSE index gains as SC approves Swiss letter draft


KARACHI: The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-index increased by another 66 points on little buying in a couple of expensive stocks after the Supreme Court approved draft of the letter to be sent to the Swiss authorities for resumption of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, said dealers on Wednesday.


“The stocks closed at higher prices after the Supreme Court approved draft of the letter under the NRO implementation case,” said Ahsan Mehanti, an analyst at Arif Habib Corporation, adding that the approval averted the likely ‘contempt of court’ proceedings against the premier.


The KSE-100 index surged by another 65.58 points, or 0.42 percent, to 15,753.82 points. Earlier during the session, the index moved on both sides of the fence by 141.93 points, making the intraday high of 15,830.17 points and the low of 15,688.24 points.


In the previous session, the index improved by approximately 35 points on select buying.


The KSE-30 index lost 91.59 points, or 0.70 percent, to 13,048.31 points. The index fell due to profit-selling in majority of the blue-chips.


Mehanti said that increase in commodity prices in the global markets on the Middle East tension and strong earnings outlook at the KSE for the quarter ended September 30 played an important role in closing the market on a positive note.


Hasnain Asghar Ali, chief operating officer at Escorts Capital, said that the approval of draft letter helped remove nervousness on government-judiciary front and invited fresh buying on selective bank and fertiliser stocks.


“The statement given by an official of the State Bank of Pakistan for a possible increase in the interest rate, if needed, made investors cautious.”


Stocks that played leading role in driving the benchmark index up included Colgate Palmolive and Nestle Pakistan. The two expensive stocks together pushed the index up by 51 points.


Colgate Palmolive closed at Rs1,290 with an increase of Rs59.80 on a thin turnover of 2,750 shares. Nestle Pakistan closed at Rs5,200 with a jump of Rs200 on a turnover of 200 shares.


Other stocks, which supported the upward drive included United Bank Limited, Pakistan Oilfields Limited-XD, Allied Bank Limited-XD and MCB Bank-XD.


Cement and fertiliser stocks also attracted fresh buying but they failed to make a significant contribution in total gains of the index.


Stocks that resisted a larger increase included Hub Power Company-XD and Engro Corporation.


Hub Power Company-XD was the volume leader with a turnover of 14.54 million shares, as it closed at Rs45.47 with a loss of Rs1.23 followed by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited with a turnover of 11.18 million shares, as it closed at Rs19.80, up by three paisas.


Shares turnover rose to 132.83 million from 110.96 million shares traded in the previous session. The turnover in the futures market dropped to 9.04 million shares from 13.32 million shares traded a day earlier.


Market capitalisation enhanced by Rs5 billion to Rs3,963 billion. As many as 332 companies shares were traded, of which 173 declined, 126 advanced and 33 remained unchanged.


Nestle Pak Rs200.00


Closing Rs52.00.00


Colgate Palm Rs57.80


Closing Rs1290.00


Indus Dyeing Rs11.84


Closing Rs439.99


Shezan Int Rs20.10


Closing Rs381.91


Mitchells Fruit Rs19.99


Closing Rs301.01


Attock Refinery Rs8.58


Closing Rs143.64

KSE 100-share index gains 65 points

KARACHI: The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended 0.42 percent, or 65.58 points, higher at 15,753.82 on total volume of 132.83 million shares.

Stocks closed higher on Wednesday with increased buying in major markets, dealers said.

“The market was a bit volatile today. It closed higher because of buying interest in fast moving consumer goods and financials,” said a dealer.

In the currency market, the Pakistani rupee ended stronger at 95.43/95.63 compared to Tuesday’s close of95.50/95.56 to the dollar.

Overnight rates in the money market ended higher at 9.90percent compared to Tuesday’s 50 percent. (REUTERS)

Oil prices rebound in Asia, Europe woes cap gains

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade Thursday on bargain-hunting but escalating turmoil in debt-wracked Greece and Spain limited gains.


New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November was up 39 cents to $90.37 a barrel in morning trade after closing overnight below $90 a barrel for the first time since August 2.


Brent North Sea crude for November delivery gained 29 cents to $110.33.


A general strike in Greece and violent demonstrations in Spain to protest against tough austerity measures in exchange for much-needed financial lifelines hammered sentiment.


“The main focus for investors globally is once again Europe, with Greece and Spain remaining the main concerns,” said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets Singapore.


“Neither seems able to do enough to put its house and mountains of debt in order, and most developments have not appeased markets for long,” he said in a market commentary.


“Despite all that has been promised so far by the ECB (European Central Bank) and the moves forward by politicians, we seem to be as far as ever from the end game for the eurozone crisis.”


Police in Athens on Wednesday clashed with masked demonstrators during a nationwide strike over a new round of austerity cuts introduced in return for vital EU-IMF loans.

Brazil airline Gol gives back gains from merger speculation

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 17:27 Posted by Asad Naeem

Brazil-airline-GolSAO PAULO: Shares of Gol Linhas Aereas , Brazil’s second- biggest airline, fell about 10 percent in early Tuesday trading, giving back gains made ahead of a late Monday press conference at which some traders had expected news of a capital injection.

Gol announced plans to order 60 new jets from Boeing Co after markets closed on Monday. Shares of the airline jumped 10.6 percent on Monday after the airline called the press conference without disclosing the subject.

Gol denied reports last month that management was in takeover talks with fast-growing Qatar Airways.

US auto sales post gains in September

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 21:39 Posted by Asad Naeem

usa-flagCHICAGO: Toyota and Chrysler posted solid gains in US auto sales in September while rivals General Motors and Ford said Tuesday their growth stalled even as the overall industry’s outlook appeared bright.

GM posted its best September since the crash of 2008 as sales grew by a modest 1.5 percent to 210,245 vehicles.

“Auto sales will continue to be a bright spot for the US economy, which is particularly good news for GM as we walk into an even stronger cadence of new products in 2013 and 2014,” Kurt McNeil, head of GM’s US sales, said in a statement.

GM said it has “moved aggressively to replace existing vehicles with better designs, more technology and improved fuel economy” which means 70 percent of its nameplates will be all new or redesigned in 2012 and 2013.

Chrysler also forecast strong sales going forward after September sales rose 12 percent to 142,041 vehicles as car sales jumped 27 percent and truck sales rose six percent.

“Last month marked our 30th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases and our strongest September in five years,” Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s head of US sales, said in a statement.

“Going forward with our current product lineup, record low interest rates and a stable US economy, we remain optimistic about the health of the US new vehicle sales industry and our position in it.”

Toyota said its sales jumped 42 percent to 171,910 vehicles and would announce more details later in the day.

Ford’s sales slipped 0.1 percent in September to 174,976 vehicles as truck sales fell eight percent. But the second largest US automaker hailed the fact that sales of its small cars jumped 73 percent to a decade-high.

“As more buyers look for new vehicles across the country, Ford is ready with our strongest lineup ever of fuel-efficient cars, utilities and full-size pickups,” said Ken Czubay, head of US sales at Ford.

“Fuel economy remains one of the most important features customers want most today, and Ford is answering the call with five vehicles that deliver 40 mpg or better — with another three on the way by year-end.”

Volkswagen extended its gains following an aggressive expansion in the US market as sales rose 34 percent to 36,663 vehicles in September.

Automotive website Edmunds.com forecast that the pace of US auto sales will ease somewhat to a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 14.4 million in September from 14.52 million in August.

US auto sales have been climbing slowly but mostly steadily after struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis and supply shortages caused by last year’s Japanese quake and tsunami.

“There’s a feeling among dealers and automakers that car sales are easing into cruise control, and that’s a good feeling for an industry that’s felt more than its share of bumps in the last few years,” said Edmunds.com analyst Jessica Caldwell.

“This month’s results offer more evidence that car buyers are finding the right signs to jump back into the market.”

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Oil extends gains in Asian trade

SINGAPORE: World oil prices rose in Asian trade Friday, extending gains made in New York, as rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East stoked concerns over crude supply.


Spain’s announcement of an austerity budget also helped lift the market as it eased fears over an escalation of the eurozone crisis, analysts said.


New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November, was up 43 cents at $92.28 a barrel in the morning and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November added 14 cents to $112.15.


“Tensions between Iran and the West reinforced concerns about potential supply disruptions,” Phillip Futures said in a market commentary.


“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew his ‘red line’ for Iran’s nuclear programme in a speech at the United Nations… and voiced confidence the United States shares his view,” it added.


Western powers have been pressuring Iran to halt its nuclear programme but Tehran has insisted its efforts were solely for peaceful purposes.


Madrid unveiled it 2013 budget focussed on spending cuts and featuring structural reforms agreed with the European Union, bringing relief to the crisis-weary eurozone as it pointed to a full bailout of the debt-strapped nation.


IG Markets Singapore said in a commentary the budget is “widely seen as the first step to approaching the EU for a full bailout as it gets its house in order”.

Oil prices rebound in Asia, Europe woes cap gains

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade Thursday on bargain-hunting but escalating turmoil in debt-wracked Greece and Spain limited gains.


New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November was up 39 cents to $90.37 a barrel in morning trade after closing overnight below $90 a barrel for the first time since August 2.


Brent North Sea crude for November delivery gained 29 cents to $110.33.


A general strike in Greece and violent demonstrations in Spain to protest against tough austerity measures in exchange for much-needed financial lifelines hammered sentiment.


“The main focus for investors globally is once again Europe, with Greece and Spain remaining the main concerns,” said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets Singapore.


“Neither seems able to do enough to put its house and mountains of debt in order, and most developments have not appeased markets for long,” he said in a market commentary.


“Despite all that has been promised so far by the ECB (European Central Bank) and the moves forward by politicians, we seem to be as far as ever from the end game for the eurozone crisis.”


Police in Athens on Wednesday clashed with masked demonstrators during a nationwide strike over a new round of austerity cuts introduced in return for vital EU-IMF loans.

Croatia cenbank buys 58mn EUR to curb kuna gains

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 19:14 Posted by Asad Naeem

croatian national bank 400ZAGREB: Croatia’s central bank said on Wednesday it had bought 58.1 million euros from commercial banks in an effort to curb the recent gains of the national kuna currency on the local market amid strong supply of euros.

The average rate at the auction was 7.4062 kuna to the euro.

The intervention had little immediate effect on the rate as the kuna floated a touch below the 7.40 kuna level to the euro, roughly unchanged from before the auction.

“Just today the kuna gained some 300 basis points and the central bank apparently assessed the fluctuation was too strong for a single day,” a dealer at a major local bank said.

Euro gains in Asia before German court ruling

TOKYO: The euro rose in Asian trade on Wednesday ahead of a German court ruling on the eurozone’s bailout fund, while the dollar was mixed on speculation about further easing by the US Federal Reserve.


The common European currency bought $1.2855 and 100.18 yen, compared with $1.2848 and 99.88 yen in New York trade late Tuesday.


The dollar was at 77.88 yen, from 77.73 yen in US trade where the greenback had earlier touched 77.71 yen, its lowest level in about three months.


“Sentiment on the US dollar is negative not only against the yen but against other currencies as well,” Osao Iizuka, head of FX trading at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, told Dow Jones Newswires.


The US Federal Reserve starts a two-day policy meeting later Wednesday as traders look for signs the central bank will launch another round of bond-buying known as quantitative easing to boost the world’s biggest economy.


Such measures tend to weigh on the greenback, which was also sold in US trade on Tuesday after Moody’s said it might strip the United States of its triple-A rating if Congress failed to cut the federal debt burden.


The warning come a year after Standard & Poor’s took away the country’s top-notch mark.


The dollar won some support after new data showed the US trade deficit was virtually unchanged in July from June, an unexpected reading although both imports and exports dropped amid a slowdown in the global economy.


The German court ruling Wednesday on the constitutionality of the eurozone’s rescue fund was expected to clear the way for the bailout mechanism, soothing fiscal turmoil in the 17-nation bloc.


A ruling in favour of the European Stability Mechanism means the currency club will have fresh flexibility to deploy 500 billion euros ($630 billion) to support its weakest members, with immediate attention focused on struggling Spain. (AFP)

Govt amends capital gains tax rules

The issuance of these rules and amendments to Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 were made to remove anomalies identified in the previous CGT regime.. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday issued capital gains tax (CGT) rules on securities trading; removing the last bottleneck in deducting the tax on sales of shares in the equity market.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued a notification vetted by the Law Ministry, according to the tax officials. The issuance of these rules and amendments to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 were made to remove the anomalies identified in the previous CGT regime.

The authorities have inserted three more clauses to the CGT rules. Rule 13N gives detailed procedure for the computation, determination, collection and depositing CGT on securities trading. Rule 13O contains the periodic forms which will be filed to FBR and Rule 13P explains and clarifies provisions regarding the computation of capital gains and tax payable thereon under the eighth schedule of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

Since July 2010, the government had imposed CGT on the stock market. If investors sold their shares before six months of purchase, the tax rate levied was 10% while for selling after six months but before one year the rate was 7.5%.

The government revised the CGT regime in April this year, what is known as amnesty for the stock brokers. Since then the collection of tax had been halted due to ambiguity over the process. The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had stated that the government will initiate collection from April 2012 as they were successful in compiling complete record of transactions carried on the stock market. These rules were earlier issued for public consultation on July 20, 2012.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.

Market watch: Bourse gains on interest rate cut

KSE’s benchm­ark 100-share index jumps 150 points.  KSE’s benchmark 100-share index jumps 150 points.


KARACHI: The stock market started the week on a positive note following the central bank’s decision to slash the discount rate much more than market expectations.


The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index gained 1.02 per cent or 150.48 points to end at 14,911.97 point level.


The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday evening surprised the market and reduced the policy rate by 150 basis points to 10.5%. Trade volumes surged to 193 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of just 36 million shares.


The positive sentiment from the rate cut was further backed by Pakistan Petroleum Limited’s payout along with its earnings, said JS Global Capital analyst Shakir Padela. The oil and gas explorer surged to its upper circuit of 5% to Rs215.34 after it announced a bonus dividend of 25% and final dividend of Rs6.5 per share.


Pakistan Oilfields also ended the day on its upper circuit as investors chose to build positions on the basis of stellar results from other companies in the industry. Oil and Gas Development Company reported 52% increase in net profit to Rs96.9 billion while PPL profits surged 30% to Rs40.9 billion


Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs83 million worth of shares, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.


Shares of 183 companies were traded on Monday. At the end of the day 183 stocks closed higher, 89 declined while 41 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.7 billion.


Karachi Electric Supply Company was the volume leader with 19.6 million shares gaining Re1 to finish at Rs5.27. The company’s share is being heavily accumulated by investors following its announcement of profits after six years. The electric supplier posted net profit of Rs2.62 billion in fiscal 2012 compared with loss of Rs9.4 billion in the same period a year ago.


It was followed by DG Khan Cement with 17.6 million shares firming Rs2.04 to close at Rs49.17 and Bank Alfalah with 14.7 million shares declining Rs0.61 to close at Rs16.99.


Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.

Market watch: Stocks post moderated gains as bulls take to sidelines

Benchm­ark KSE-100 index adds 69 points. Benchmark KSE-100 index adds 69 points.

KARACHI: 

The previous week’s bull-run eased on Monday, as investors seemed more relaxed in a market that seesawed from the red territory in early hours of trading, to mark gains by the end of the closing session.

Analyst Hasnain Asghar Ali said that negativity in the early sessions was attributable to speculation on the political outcomes of the Difa-e-Pakistan rally headed towards Islamabad; and State Bank reports indicating substantial government borrowing. “However cautious accumulation on discounts turned loud in the post-midday session, mainly in anticipation of healthy corporate earnings.”

“Rising value of the Pakistani rupee – in expectation that US dollar inflows will soon materialise after reopening of Nato routes – positively affected local equity prices,” added Topline Securities equity dealer Samar Iqbal.

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index climbed 0.48% or 69.36 points to end at the 14,379.54 points level. Trade volumes dropped marginally to 90 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 94 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.80 billion.

“Positive statements from the US administration regarding the mechanism for disbursement of Coalition Support Funds … supported the index,” informed JS Global analyst Shakir Padela.

Shares of 348 companies were traded on Monday. At the end of the day 137 stocks closed higher, 99 declined while 112 remained unchanged.

“The cement sector ended the day higher, after promising sales figures for last month – coupled with expectations of cash payouts with final results this quarter – kept investors interested,” reported Padela. “The Oil and Gas Development Company ended the day up 1.3% due to expectations of a good full-year result and rumoured local institutional buying in the script.”

“The cement sector remained in the limelight amid expectations that international pledges for Afghanistan will help boost exports from Pakistan,” commented Iqbal.

Jahangir Siddiqui Company was the volume leader with 13.50 million shares gaining Rs0.73 to finish at Rs14.24. It was followed by DG Khan Cement with 12.51 million shares gaining Rs0.74 to close at Rs43.46 and Engro Foods with 9.83 million shares gaining Rs2.85 to close at Rs70.78.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs224.53 million ($2.36 million), according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2012.

Market Watch: Gains pared on last trading day of FY-12

Benchm­ark KSE-100 index sheds 4 points. Benchmark KSE-100 index sheds 4 points.

KARACHI: 

The stock market closed fiscal 2011-12 flat on Friday, but up nearly 26% year-to-date supported by cements and second tier stocks. Fertilisers were in the limelight during the trading session due to mixed news on the grapevine regarding increases in gas prices for the sector.

Additionally, “Oil and Gas Development Company closed up 1.8%, which the majority believes was aimed at window dressing the index close at the half year end,” noted Elixir Securities analyst Sibtain Mustafa. The index closed up 3% month-to-date. “Furthermore, the new index based on free-float methodology is being introduced from Monday, which will run parallel to the current index.”

The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index fell by a marginal 0.03% or 4.01 points to end at the 13,801.41 points level.

“Stocks closed lower amid concerns for global markets,” commented Ahsan Mehanti from Arif Habib Corp. Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs103.57 million, according to data maintained by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

“Thinner trading [was] witnessed pending judicial decisions on NRO implementation. Rising political uncertainty and fall in foreign exchange reserves played a catalyst role in bearish sentiments, despite hopes for improvement in Pak-US ties on resumption of Nato supplies.”

Trade volumes improved to 74 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 63 million shares. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs3.04 billion.

Shares of 446 companies were traded on Friday. At the end of the day 109 stocks closed higher, 146 declined while 191 remained unchanged.

“Fauji Fertilizer traded 11% of overall volumes on reported state fund selling that was supported by foreigner and local banks buying,” reported Mustafa. “MCB Bank weathered broader index dullness and managed to close near recent highs [up 1%] … as investors shopped on cheap valuations over earnings outlook.”

Fauji Fertilizer was the volume leader with 6.33 million shares losing Rs0.89 to finish at Rs111.05. It was followed by Fatima Fertilizer with 5.50 million shares gaining Rs0.11 to close at Rs24.67 and Soneri Bank with 5.17 million shares losing Rs0.10 to close at Rs7.39.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.