Tag Archives: shares

Shares in India’s Jet slide on Etihad deal worries

Jet-AirwaysMUMBAI: Shares in Jet Airways plunged nearly six percent Friday on concerns over whether India’s second largest private airline will clinch a stake sale to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.

Shares fell 6.19 percent before recovering slightly to close down 5.81 percent at 527.35 rupees as a media report said “fresh hurdles” had emerged in talks with the Gulf carrier over its plans to buy a stake in Jet.

“Etihad has put a host of conditions, including an option to buy up to 49 percent stake in Jet,” the Business Standard said on Friday, citing an unnamed source.

The Gulf airline also wants operational control and a representation on Jet’s board, the newspaper said. The Indian carrier declined to comment on the report.

Several Indian airlines have been in talks with foreign carriers after the government last year opened up the aviation sector further to allow non-Indian airlines to invest in their counterparts in the country.

Indian carriers need money to fund expansion and cut debt after years of losses caused by intense air-fare battles and rising fuel costs.

The Jet-Etihad development comes after Asia’s biggest low-cost airline, AirAsia, this week announced plans for a no-frills carrier in the country with India’s Tata conglomerate.

The venture awaits government and regulatory approval.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

Shares unlikely to recover yesterday’s losses today

By finance reporter Rebecca HyamUpdated February 22, 2013 09:25:37

The Australian share market looks unlikely to bounce back straight after yesterday’s big fall, with more weak leads from overseas.

Signs of further weakness in Europe and lingering concerns about the latest US Federal Reserve minutes have hurt global share markets overnight.

A report on the euro area’s economy signalled the region is struggling to recover from a recession.

In the US, the Fed minutes released yesterday showed policy makers think the central bank should be ready to vary the pace of its $US85 billion in monthly bond purchases, fuelling concern stimulus will be curtailed.

In official economic news, US data showed jobless claims rose more than forecast, with applications for unemployment benefits rising by 20,000 last week to 362,000.

A separate report revealed Philadelphia-area manufacturing has shrunk unexpectedly.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 47 points to 13,881, the S&P 500 Index fell 0.6 per cent to 1,502, and the Nasdaq gave up 33 points, or just over 1 per cent, to 3,131.

Across the Atlantic, UK insurance firm Aviva recovered some of its losses from the previous session.

However, losses among mining stocks weighed on the broader market and, by the close, London’s FTSE 100 Index had fallen 104 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 6,291.

It is set to be a flat start on the Australian share market after yesterday’s 2.3 per cent slide, and in futures trading the Share Price Index 200 was down 6 points to 4,961.

The Australian dollar was also weak, and was worth 102.4 US cents around 9:00am (AEDT).

West Texas crude oil eased to $US92.85 a barrel, Tapis was also weaker at $US120.06.

However, spot gold was fighting back from recent weakness, trading at $US1,577 an ounce.

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

First posted February 22, 2013 09:24:28

Santos shares rise despite profit dip

Posted February 22, 2013 15:51:05

Rising development costs have dragged down profits for oil and gas producer Santos.

The company has reported a 31 per cent slide in full-year profit to $519 million.

In response, Santos says it is focused on reducing costs and cut its workforce by more than 100 staff over the year.

Santos chief financial officer Andrew Seaton says development costs should start to fall soon.

“The 2012 result was lower than we envisaged due to timing of expenditure across the broader portfolio,” he said.

“Our forecast 2013 spend of circa $4 billion will represent the peak year of capex ahead of the start up of PNG LNG in 2014 and GLNG [Gladstone LNG] in 2015.”

Santos says the New South Wales Government’s legislation against coal seam gas exploration in some areas does not affect its plans.

This week the New South Wales Government announced a two kilometre coal seam gas exclusion zone around current and planned residential areas.

The company’s chief executive David Knox says the changes to exploration rules will not change the company’s plans.

“The area we really want to start developing is in the Pilliga Forest, and that area is unaffected by the two kilometre zone,” he said.

“What we are intending to do is start basically doing an evaluation and appraisal wells into that area.”

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, oil-and-gas, australia, sa

Lend Lease profit rises, shares fall


Property developer Lend Lease has reported a significant rise in its half-year profit, boosted by the Barangaroo development in Sydney’s CBD.


In the six months to the end of December, the company made a net profit of $302.3 million after tax, on revenue of $6.25 billion.


That is up almost 39 per cent compared to its profit during the same period a year earlier.


Lend Lease says the result has been boosted by earnings from the first two commercial towers at Barangaroo South on the western edge of Sydney’s CBD.


The company’s Australian division increased its profit by $97 million to $304 million, with Lend Lease also winning work on the proposed new Sydney Convention Centre and Sunshine Coast University Hospital.


The company’s Asian division posted a $4.5 million fall in profit to $24.3 million, European profits were up $17.5 million to $60.5 million, American profits were up nearly $8 million to $26 million, while the group services division posted a loss of $80 million.


The company says it will pay an unfranked dividend of 22 cents per share on March 27, with an ex-dividend date of March 4.


Lend Lease shares were down 2.7 per cent to $10.40 by 12:59pm (AEDT).

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, building-and-construction, australia, sydney-2000

Seven West shares head south on $109m loss

Updated February 20, 2013 12:56:25

Seven West Media has posted a $109 million loss for the half year to the end of December.

The loss was due to $260 million worth of write-downs to the value of the company’s magazine business, Yahoo!7 stake (including group buying site Spreets), and redundancy and restructuring costs.

Excluding those one-off costs, the media giant made $142 million in profit.

Seven West’s chief executive, Don Voelte, says it will persist in trying to turn-around its Yahoo!7 site, because it is important to the company’s future.

“Yahoo7 had a bit of a bump in the road during the half, but we’re very confident that they’re back on track. They’ve gone through a transition of management,” he said.

“It’s extremely important, that they’re a long-term part of our vision of where we need to go.”

That was not good enough for investors, with Seven West shares falling 7 per cent on the result to $2.34 by 12:18pm (AEDT).

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, media, television-broadcasting, print-media, australia, wa

First posted February 20, 2013 12:25:56

Shares set for quiet start with US markets closed

By finance reporter Justine ParkerPosted February 19, 2013 08:54:46

The yen has resumed its slide after the Group of 20 world’s biggest economies held back on criticising Japan’s aggressive new monetary policy.

As G20 leaders met in Moscow, Japanese officials denied intentionally weakening the yen in an effort to boost the country’s ailing economy.

That sent the currency down further.

The euro has also weakened after the European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said the currency’s recent strength would keep a lid on inflation.

Mr Draghi also cautioned that it was a weak start to the year for the region’s economy.

It has been a quiet session in equity trade, with the US stock market closed for the Presidents’ Day public holiday.

In Europe, gains were muted. There are concerns about economic prospects for the eurozone as elections loom in Italy early next week.

In London, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.2 per cent to 6,318.

In Germany, the DAX gained 0.5 per cent, and the benchmark index in France gained 0.2 per cent.

Domestically, futures trade is suggesting a subdued start to the Australian session – the ASX SPI 200 index was down 4 points at 5,038.

Spot gold was trading flat at $US1,610 an ounce.

Trade in West Texas crude oil is closed for the US public holiday. It closed last week at $US95.55 a barrel.

The Australian dollar was fairly steady against the greenback, but it has been strong against the weakened yen and euro.

At 8:47am (AEDT) it was buying just under 103 US cents, 77.2 euro cents, 96.85 Japanese yen, 66.6 British pence and just under $NZ1.22.

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

Fortescue shares slide on profit numbers

By finance reporter Elysse MorganUpdated February 20, 2013 14:38:15

Profit at Western Australian iron ore company Fortescue Metals almost halved in the first six months of this financial year, as iron prices plummeted.

First half net profit fell 40 per cent to $462 million.

The company says its expansion plans are continuing and increased production helped to offset the record slump in iron ore prices last year.

Chief executive Nev Power also says there has been a better than expected recovery in iron ore prices over the last few months.

“It has recovered more strongly than we anticipated, and I think there are a number of underlying factors in that there is a very increased confidence in the new leadership in China to continue the urbanisation and infrastructure building and that’s translating to a lot of confidence and has restarted a lot of construction activity in China,” he observed.

Investors will not receive an interim dividend, but the company says it will consider a full-year dividend if iron ore prices improve.

Investors are selling down the stock as a result, it was off 3.6 per cent to $4.995 by 2:36pm (AEDT).

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, iron-ore, australia, wa

First posted February 20, 2013 13:05:35

Suncorp shares fall despite profit rise

Posted February 20, 2013 14:07:54

Profit at Suncorp Bank has jumped by almost half, driven by fewer claims in its insurance business.

The bank made $574 million in the first half of its financial year, which is a 48 per cent improvement on its prior result.

Earnings at its insurance business jumped, as fewer natural disasters brought down the number of claims.

However, the banking and insurance company’s shares slipped 2 per cent to $11.44 by 2:05pm (AEDT).

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, banking, insurance, australia, qld

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

Shares keep rising on positive profit news


Local shares are making reasonable gains, with mostly positive earnings reports helping to boost the broader share market.


The All Ordinaries Index was up 26 points to 5,080 shortly before midday (AEDT), and the ASX 200 was 0.5 per cent higher at 5,060.


BlueScope Steel jumped 12.5 per cent to $4.24, after significantly narrowing its loss for the half-year.


Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was up almost 4 per cent to $10.24 after its half-year profit surged by more than 200 per cent.


Pacific Brands was up more than 6 per cent to 77.5 cents after reporting a return to profit after several heavy losses and major restructuring and job losses over the past few years.


Amcor shares were also higher as its profits grew, despite the impact of a high Australian dollar – the company’s shares were up around 3 per cent at $9.19.


However, shares in mining services provider Boart Longyear have fallen 7 per cent after its full-year profit slumped more than 57 per cent.


Telstra was down almost 2 per cent, as it is trading without rights to its latest dividend.


Commonwealth Bank shares were also ex-dividend and have fallen 1.3 per cent.


The Australian dollar was worth 102.92 US cents.

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

First posted February 18, 2013 12:10:17

Bridgestone shares get profit boost

A Toyota showroom in the US A recovery in sales of Japanese carmakers has helped boost profits of tyre-maker Bridgestone Shares of Bridgestone, the world’s biggest tyre-maker, have surged after it reported a 67% jump in net profit.


Its shares were up 9% to 2,791 yen in early trade on Tokyo Stock Exchange.


On Monday, Bridgestone reported a net profit of 171.6bn yen ($1.8bn; £1.2bn) in the year to 31 December 2012, compared with 103bn yen a year earlier.


Its profits have been helped in part by the production boost at Japan’s leading carmakers as they continue to recover from the 2011 natural disasters.


At the same time a recovery in demand from the US car market has also helped boost sales of Japanese carmakers, driving up demand for car parts.


Sales of Toyota, Japan’s biggest carmaker, jumped 22% in 2012 to 9.29 million vehicles.


Meanwhile, Nissan Motor said it sold a record 4.94 million vehicles globally in 2012, up almost 6% from the previous year. Honda Motor also saw a jump of 19% from a year earlier, selling 3.82 million vehicles.


Global carmakers such as Volkswagen and BMW have also reported record annual sales for 2012.


At the same time, a sharp decline in the Japanese currency has also helped lift profits. The Japanese currency has dipped nearly 15% against the US dollar since November.


A weak currency boosts profits of exporters when they repatriate their foreign earnings back home.


Bridgestone said its profits were also lifted by “improving manufacturing productivity, enhancing technology and effectively utilising our management resources”.


The firm also forecast a 37% jump in net profit for the current year, further boosting investor morale.

Gucci owner’s shares at 12-year high

A Bottega Veneta bag Sales at Bottega Veneta rose 32.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012 Shares in the French luxury goods firm, PPR, have risen more than 7% in Paris to their highest level in 12 years.


That follows a better-than-expected jump in earnings at the company, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.


Net income rose 6.3% to 1.4 bn euros while sales jumped 20% to 9.7bn euros, driven in part by sales of its Bottega Veneta handbags.


PPR boss Francois-Henri Pinault said the results were “excellent”.


Mr Pinault added that he was confident of “significantly improving our operating and financial performances in 2013″.


“The results are a clear positive and it confirms that PPR is holding one of the most balanced brand portfolio in luxury, which is currently outperforming peers like LVMH,” one Paris-based trader told Reuters.


The company pointed out that about 40% of its global sales now came from emerging markets.


The company is made up of two main types of business – luxury goods and sports and lifestyle brands. It owns an 82% stake in Germany’s Puma.

Puma trainer PPR has an 82% stake in Puma

In a conference call, the company’s managing director, Jean-Francois Palus, said that Puma’s recent performance was not in line with expectations and that they were working to turn around the business and resume growth. A new chief executive should be announced in the next few weeks.


On Thursday, Puma reported a 70% drop in profit to 70m euros.


Asked about luxury trends in China, Mr Palus said that it was too early to tell whether last year’s slowdown was over, but that initial signs were positive. Sales had picked up in the fourth quarter of 2012. He said the new leadership was likely to put in place measures to boost domestic consumption.


Last year, it bought the Chinese luxury jeweller Qeelin.


PPR is in the process of selling its mail order business Redcats. Having failed to sell its Fnac music and book business, it will now spin the retailer off as a separately listed company.

Downer shares surge on rising profit


Shares in engineering company Downer EDI have surged after a rise in profit and the awarding of a large NBN contract.


Downer revealed a first-half net profit of $94.4 million, up nearly 11 per cent on the same period a year earlier.


The rise in profit came on the back of a near 17.8 per cent rise in revenue to $4.4 billion, or $4.7 billion including joint ventures.


Downer says its infrastructure revenue rose 25.6 per cent in Australia and 16.7 per cent in New Zealand, while mining revenue was up 17.8 per cent, and rail revenue was 27 per cent higher.


The company says it has work in hand worth almost $19 billion.


Downer says it has also recently been awarded a $94 million contract to roll out the National Broadband Network in northern New South Wales.


The company says it will be taking the NBN’s optic fibre to homes and businesses in the region.


Downer has declared a 70 per cent franked interim dividend of 10 cents a share.


The company’s shares had jumped 8.6 per cent to $5.28 by 1:24pm (AEDT).

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

Future Fund buys shares in shamed tobacco company


The Government’s multi-billion-dollar Future Fund has bought shares in a tobacco company that once commissioned a study outlining the economic benefits of premature deaths.


Documents provided to a Senate committee show the fund increased its tobacco-related shareholdings in the lead up to last October’s announcement that it was reviewing its investment strategy.


The details reveal that in May last year the fund bought shares in Philip Morris (Czech).


In 2001, Philip Morris was forced to apologise for a study commissioned by its international affiliate that found the Czech Republic benefited financially from the early deaths of smokers.


Asked whether the purchase of such shares complied with the fund’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy, managing director Mark Burgess told a Senate hearing: “As we’ve said for some time, our ESG policy, we believe, is world’s best practice, but we do review it on a regular basis.”


In October, Mr Burgess raised the prospect of the fund divesting itself of tobacco shareholdings following pressure from health groups and the Greens.


He said the board’s governance committee would consider the fund’s investment in cigarette and tobacco companies, including the cost implications of such a decision.


Greens senator Richard Di Natale says he is extremely disappointed the fund was buying more shares just months before that announcement.


“(These companies) are taking legal action against the Government, companies that are essentially in the business of killing people,” Senator Di Natale told ABC News Online.


“Australians are horrified when they learn that their taxpayer dollars are being invested in companies like Philip Morris (and) British American Tobacco.”


Mr Burgess says it would be wrong to pre-empt the governance committee’s recommendations because it is still considering the fund’s exclusions policy.


“Exclusions is a very clear area that you must determine in a very structured framework and policy because there are many views of that and therefore you must think it through (and) analyse it carefully.


“That’s what our governance committee is currently doing.


“The fund does exclude for example cluster munitions and landmines – it’s a very clear statement in that area.”


The current value of the fund’s shareholding in cigarette and tobacco companies is $221 million, which is down from $231.7 million in October.


It is unclear, however, whether that is due to the sale of shares or a decrease in the number of shares held by the fund.


According to the October figures, the fund was holding $57 million worth of British American Tobacco shares, $48 million in Lorilland shares, almost $46 million in Philip Morris International and $34.6 million worth of Japan Tobacco shares.

Topics: federal-government, business-economics-and-finance, tobacco, smoking

First posted February 12, 2013 12:45:12

Sony shares slump after losses

 Sony shares had rallied in January Shares in Japanese electronics maker Sony have slumped 10% after investors responded to the firm’s results.


It was Sony’s biggest share price fall in years. The company was the second-most traded stock on the Nikkei index.


After the close of market trading on Thursday, the firm had reported losses for the October-December period of 10.8bn yen ($115m; £73m).


The maker of the Playstation and Bravia TV has lost money for the past four years.


The latest quarterly figures brought total losses in the nine months to the end of December to 50.9bn yen, a 75% fall on the previous nine months. Sony made record losses of 557bn yen for the whole of 2011 financial year


Sony’s share price had seen a strong performance in January – rallying 42% – caught up with investor enthusiasm over a weaker yen.


The company is Japan’s largest exporter so it benefits from a weaker currency because that makes its goods cheaper overseas.


“The company’s stock has been bought because of a weakening yen, but unless it can show that its top line is also growing, it does not look very attractive,” said Hajime Nakajima from Iwai Cosmo Securities.

Shares rise, dollar falls after inflation figures

Updated January 23, 2013 13:46:40

The Australian dollar has dropped after weaker than expected inflation numbers were released.

The local currency has slipped against the greenback since its peak this morning to 105.47 US cents.

The Australian share market is making modest gains.

The All Ordinaries index was up 14 points to 4,820, and the ASX 200 was up about 0.3 per cent to 4,795 just before midday (AEDT).

Shares in fertiliser maker Nufarm have dropped by more than 8 per cent after its said trading conditions will negatively impact its results.

BHP Billiton was up 1.2 per cent to $37.04 after releasing its latest quarterly production results this morning.

Rival Rio Tinto had lost 0.2 per cent.

Most of the big four banks are making gains – Westpac was up 0.8 per cent, with NAB and ANZ up by slightly less.

However, the Commonwealth Bank was trading flat around $62.57.

Shares in Telstra were up 0.3 per cent.

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

First posted January 23, 2013 12:28:57

European shares rise, US markets closed


The Australian share market is set to take its lead from a positive finish to European trade, with Wall Street closed for the Martin Luther King Junior public holiday.


Sentiment was lifted by hopes of a resolution to the US debt ceiling debate and as European finance ministers meet for the first time this year to address the region’s debt crisis.


At a meeting in Brussels, euro area ministers are set to clash over how the $US666 billion European Stability Mechanism can bypass governments and provide direct help to banks.


The economic health of Spain, Cyprus and Greece are also likely to be on the agenda.


Earlier, US Republican leaders signalled they would allow the government to raise the debt ceiling to prevent a default without demanding immediate spending cuts from president Barack Obama.


Also increasing demand for shares was speculation the Bank of Japan will increase monetary stimulus at the end of its two-day policy meeting in Tokyo today.


“The market has completely priced in the BOJ increasing its asset purchase program by roughly 10 trillion Japanese yen and increasing the inflation target to 2 per cent, ” said John Noonan, senior foreign exchange strategist at Thomson Reuters.


“The BOJ is also expected to discuss and at least comment on the prospect of making their asset purchase program open-ended.”


By the close of trade London’s FTSE 100 Index hit a four-and-a-half year high adding 27 points to 6,181.


The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added a 0.3 per cent, in fairly low volume trade.


Germany’s DAX added 37 points or 0.6 per cent to 7,749.


In France, the CAC 40 rose 0.6 per cent to 3,763.


At 7:15am (AEDT) on futures markets, the US Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures contract was 0.3 per cent higher.


In Australia, the SPI futures contract was pointing to a loss of 3 points at the start of trade.


Japan’s currency strengthened against the greenback ahead of the BOJ meeting.


The Australian dollar was trading in a tight range against the greenback and worth 105.14 US cents, 78.98 euro cents and 66.46 British pence.


The spot price of gold was up a little at $US1690.05 an ounce.


West Texas intermediate crude oil was worth $US95.56 a barrel.

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

Shares flat on mining production declines

Updated January 24, 2013 11:28:21

The local share market is trading flat despite a positive lead from Wall Street overnight, with miners among the sectors weighing on the market.

The All Ordinaries index was up 2 points to 4,814 shortly before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index had gained 1 point to 4,789.

Rio Tinto was down 0.7 per cent, while rival BHP Billiton had shed 0.2 per cent.

Two gold and copper miners – Oz Minerals and Newcrest – were down after their latest production results.

Oz shares had tumbled more than 6 per cent to $6.85 after it said fourth quarter production fell, and its Prominent Hill mine was approaching its peak output.

Newcrest shares were off 1.6 per cent after it reported a fall in gold production and said its full-year output would come in at the low end of expectations.

However, oil and gas company Linc Energy surged 13 per cent to $2.44 after releasing two geological reports that estimated there could be up to 233 billion barrels of shale oil in the untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy, over the majority of which the company has licences.

Telstra had gained 0.5 per cent, and the big four banks were also in positive territory.

The Australian dollar was buying around 105.37 US cents.

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

First posted January 24, 2013 11:27:01

Shares rise on positive profit results

Posted January 24, 2013 08:42:43

Wall Street made modest gains overnight as investors shrugged off worries about the US fiscal cliff and Euro zone debt crisis and instead focused on profit numbers from technology companies IBM and Google.

IBM and Google’s fourth quarter earnings were released after the previous day’s market close, with both beating analyst expectations.

IBM shares climbed 4.8 per cent, while Google rose even further, by 6.2 per cent.

The internet search company made $US2.9 billion in the final three months of last year, which was a 7 per cent increase and beat expectations.

Investors were left waiting for Apple’s results when the final bell rang, amid worries about waning demand for Apple products.

Shares in Apple have fallen about 20 per cent over the past three months and are worth $US510 dollars today.

Analysts are expecting $US55 billion in revenue

Thomson Reuters data shows, of the 99 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 68 per cent have topped expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 67 points, or 0.5 per cent, higher at 13,779.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended 2 points, or 0.1 per cent, stronger at 1,495.

The Nasdaq Composite Index finished 0.3 per cent higher on 3,154.

There was also positive news out of Washington as the US House of Representatives voted to suspend the country’s debt ceiling until mid-May.

Many Democrats opposed the measure, labelling it a gimmick that sets up a new fiscal cliff.

In Paris, the International Monetary Fund has warned of a weakening global economic recovery despite government efforts to stimulate growth.

The IMF has cut its global growth outlook to 3.5 per cent for 2013, down from its last prediction of 3.6 per cent made back in October.

European markets ended the session mixed.

London’s FTSE 100 index added 0.3 per cent to 6,198, a fresh four-and-a-half-year high.

Germany’s DAX added 11 points to 7,708, while France’s CAC40 fell 0.4 per cent to 3,726.

At 8:15am (AEDT) the ASX SPI 200 futures contract pointed to a gain of 0.2 per cent when trade begins.

The Australian dollar was edging up against the greenback. It was buying 105.45 US cents, 79.21 euro cents and 66.58 British pence.

West Texas intermediate crude oil slipped back to $US95.47 a barrel, and spot gold prices were also down slightly to $US1,684 an ounce.

Topics: markets, currency, stockmarket, futures, australia

Moody’s shares fall amid legal fears

Continue reading the main story Shares in the US credit rating agency Moody’s fell 7.7% in trading in New York on Friday amid fears of legal action surrounding rating agencies.


Moody’s shares have now fallen more than 20% since Monday, when it was revealed rival agency Standard & Poor’s was being sued by the US government.


Moody’s chief executive said he had no knowledge of any impending lawsuits.


The share price fall comes despite Moody’s reporting a 66% jump in net profit for the last quarter of 2012.


Net profit rose to $160.1m for the quarter, from $96.2m a year earlier.


The company also said it expected results to be strong in 2013 despite “ongoing economic uncertainty”.


But the positive news was overshadowed by concerns that the US Department of Justice’s actions against S&P could spread to other agencies.


Three firms – S&P, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings – dominate the credit ratings industry, which involves rating assets by risk for the benefit of investors.


S&P is being sued over ratings it gave to some mortgage-backed assets in the run-up to the global financial crisis in 2007, which subsequently fell dramatically in value.


So far, Moody’s has only faced legal action from private investors, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, over losses related to the financial crisis.


But fears of wider legal action continue to weigh down share prices, investors say.


“If the question has become when, and not if, a lawsuit will be filed against Moody’s, then the shares are simply unbuyable, in our view,” an analyst at US investment firm BTIG, Mark Palmer, told Reuters.


Moody’s chief executive Ray McDaniel told analysts he had no knowledge of “any impending complaint from the Department of Justice raising similar claims against Moody’s [as those against S&P]“.

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

Shares gain on European leads


The Australian share market is trading higher, with investors feeding off gains on European markets and optimism there will be more monetary stimulus in Japan.


The All Ordinaries index had risen 21 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,824 shortly before 11:00am (AEDT).


The ASX 200 index was 22 points higher at 4,800.


The gains have been broadly spread.


Iron ore miner Fortescue was up 2.9 per cent.


Rio Tinto was trading 0.9 per cent higher, while rival BHP Billiton had gained around 0.5 per cent.


Qantas was 0.5 per cent higher.


The Australian dollar was buying around $US105.14 US cents.

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

Shares surge as Specialty Fashion trebles profit

Updated January 25, 2013 19:11:30

Clothing retailer Specialty Fashion has surged 40 per cent after saying its first-half profit will treble.

The retailer – which owns women’s fashion stores Katies, Millers, Crossroads, Autograph and City Chic – says its revenue for the half-year ending December 31 was 1.3 per cent up on the previous corresponding period.

The company says it has leveraged this small improvement in sales to a much larger rise in profit, with first-half pre-tax earnings expected to be between $37-38 million, compared to $21.9 million the year before.

Speciality Fashion’s net profit after tax is expected to grow even more, almost trebling from $6.2 million to $17-18 million.

The company’s chief executive Gary Perlstein says the surge in profit was largely driven by a focus on cutting costs.

“Our continued focus on our strategies to improve sales, margins and costs of doing business has meant we have delivered a significant turnaround in trading performance, almost tripling our net profit for the first half of financial year 2013, when compared with the same period in financial year 2012,” he noted in the report.

“The economic uncertainties and structural changes affecting retail have not gone away, but we have pulled all the levers within our control to achieve sustainable improvements, and our results reflect this.”

The retailer says it has recorded the highest gross margin in its history at 62.4 per cent, due to higher selling prices, reduced product cost prices and lower freight costs.

The company says the higher Australian dollar and reduced cotton prices also helped lower its costs and boost profit margin.

Specialty Fashion says it also made rental savings by reducing the base rents of leases renewed during the period and exiting leases of underperforming stores.

The firm says it made $11.3 million, or 3.6 per cent, of its sales online in the period.

The company’s shares were up 41.4 per cent to 99 cents by 10:42am (AEDT) as investors digested the result.

Other fashion retailers such as Premier Investments, David Jones and Myer have also been trading between 0.5-2 per cent higher this morning.

Specialty Fashion will confirm its audited results when it releases its final half-year profit statement on February 18.

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

First posted January 25, 2013 10:45:01

Google chairman to sell $2.5 bn of shares

GoogleWASHINGTON: Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell 3.2 million “A” shares, currently worth $2.5 billion, over the next year, Google said Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The sale amounts to 42 percent of Schmidt’s 7.6 million Class A and Class B shares in the company, a 2.3 percent stake in the company, but 8.2 percent of voting power.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

Alcatel-Lucent reports switch to loss, but shares surge

Thursday, 07 February 2013 14:30 Posted by Parvez Jabri Alcatel-Lucent 400PARIS: Telecommunications equipment group Alcatel-Lucent fell back into a net loss last year owing to write-downs and said on Thursday its chief executive would not stand for re-appointment.

The board recommended that no dividend be paid for 2012.

But the price of shares in the company surged by 9.65 percent to 1.42 euros in early trading.

Traders welcomed the clear action taken with the write-downs, the prospect of a change in chief executive, a recovery of the firm’s brands and firmer prospects for orders.

The group, which is recovering from several big setbacks since the merger of French group Alcatel with US business Lucent, reported a net loss for 2012 of 1.3 billion euros ($1.76 billion) from a net profit of slightly more than 1.0 billion euros in 2011.

Chief executive Ben Verwaayen, who took his post in 2008 and whose term ends this year, had decided not to stand again, a statement said.

He said that this had been a “difficult decision” but that the time had come for the board to find a new leader to take the company into success.

Verwaayen will leave his functions as an administrator on May 7, the date of a shareholders’ meeting, and will hand over his management role as soon as his successor has been found.

The company said that its loss for 2012 reflected big asset write downs.

The group was obliged under accounting principles to take a charge of 1.4 billion euros for writing down the value of the goodwill factor of companies acquired. This reflects the difference between the purchase price and the book value of the assets concerned if they do not yield a return in line with the acquisition cost.

However, Alcatel-Lucent said that otherwise its results for 2012 were in line with objectives and said that it was ahead of its restructuring programme, having achieved savings of 650 million euros.

Sales fell by 5.7 percent to 14.4 billion euros but the firm said that it had noted a recovery towards the end of the year.

In the fourth quarter sales had risen by 13.8 percent from the level in the third quarter to 4.0 billion euros, generating a free cash flow of 355 million euros and an adjusted operating margin of 2.9 percent.

The group, which faces deep financial problems, obtained in January an extension of its bank credit from 1.6 billion to 2.0 billion euros. The company said that this had enabled it to extend the maturity of its debt, stabilise its balance sheet and ensure resources to complete the restructuring programme.

The group is engaged in a vast programme, announced in July, to reduce costs by 1.25 billion euros by the end of 2013. Under the plan, 5,500 jobs will be cut around the world from a workforce of 76,000.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

Australian shares rise despite weak leads


The Australian share market is trading higher, despite losses on Wall Street and in Europe overnight.


The All Ordinaries index had gained 25 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4,981 shortly around 1:00pm (AEDT).


The ASX 200 index was up 26 points at 4,962.


Healthcare, retail and media stocks were all doing well.


Seven West Media had risen 1.7 per cent, the Ten Network was up 3.5 per cent, and News Corp had gained 3.2 per cent.


Harvey Norman has strengthened by 2.1 per cent while David Jones had risen 0.8 per cent.


The major banks had all risen, led by a 1.5 per cent rise for ANZ.


NAB was up 1.1 per cent, Westpac 0.9 per cent and the Commonwealth 0.4 per cent.


The airlines were also going up, with a rise of 0.8 per cent for Qantas and 0.5 per cent for Virgin Australia.


Rio Tinto was up 0.8 per cent, ahead of a 0.5 per cent gain for rival BHP Billiton.


Gold miner Newcrest rose 4.9 per cent, with the company’s report of a 51 per cent fall in net profit still better than analysts had expected.


However, Sundance Resources shares had gone down 13.2 per cent after more delays in a planned takeover by a Chinese firm.


The Australian dollar was weaker against the greenback, compared to yesterday, and was buying around 102.7 US cents.

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

First posted February 08, 2013 12:37:08

Newcrest shares up despite profit fall


Gold miner Newcrest has reported a fall of more than 50 per cent to its net profit in the six months to December.


The company has reported a statutory profit of $320 million, down from $659 million in the same period the year before, with production down as two major projects came online.


Newcrest chief executive Greg Robinson says a fall in ore grades was the main problem.


“It really [shows] the effect of the changing gold grades and recoveries on production in this current half period because, with the exception of Lihir, pretty much mill throughput at all of our operations was basically unchanged or higher,” he said.


However, the result still comfortably beat analyst predictions of a $292 million profit.


Despite the fall in profit, investors will again get an interim dividend of 12 cents a share, unfranked.


That has pushed Newcrest shares 4.5 per cent higher to $24.41.

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

Local shares close higher but dollar slides


Positive trade data out of China has helped the local share market close 0.7 per cent higher, but it could not stop the Australian dollar’s continued slide against the greenback.


The All Ordinaries index finished the session up 34 points at 4,989 while the ASX 200 index gained 36 points to 4,971.


The trade data for China far exceeded analyst expectations, with export growth of 25 per cent last year.


Miners were among those to benefit; Rio Tinto rose 1.3 per cent, BHP Billiton 0.8 per cent and Fortescue Metals Group 1.4 per cent.


Gold miner Newcrest gained more than 5 per cent after releasing its half yearly results, even though they revealed net profit fell by 51 per cent.


Newcrest reported a statutory profit of $320 million, down from $659 million, but that was still better than what analysts had been expecting.


The major banks all finished higher, led by a 2.2 per cent rise for ANZ.


NAB closed 1.4 per cent higher, Westpac rose 0.4 per cent and the Commonwealth 0.2 per cent.


Retailers posted some solid gains, led by a rise of 3.8 per cent for Harvey Norman and 1.2 per cent for Myer.


Surfwear retailer Billabong could not catch the wave though, falling 2 per cent.


Qantas rose 1.3 per cent but airline rival Virgin Australia closed 1.2 per cent lower.


The Australian dollar slid closer to parity with the greenback after the Reserve Bank released its latest statement on monetary policy.


The RBA has downgraded its forecast for economic growth to 2.5 per cent this year.


The local dollar fell back at the news but recovered some ground through the afternoon to be worth around 102.96 US cents around 5pm (AEDT).


The dollar was also buying around 76.84 euro cents, 65.48 British pence, 96.06 Japanese yen and 123.15 New Zealand cents.


West Texas intermediate crude oil was selling for around $US95.83 cents a barrel, Tapis crude oil in Singapore was around $US123.77 cents a barrel, and spot gold slipped a little to $US1,672 an ounce.

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

Macquarie shares fall as profit rise disappoints


Shares in Australia’s biggest investment bank have retreated after it said it expects full year profits to rise “materially” as market conditions show some signs of improvement.


Macquarie Group expects profits to rise by around 10 per cent for its current financial year, which ends on March 31.


However, that was less than analysts were expecting.


Macquarie says a rise in tax rates and weakness in its trading and investment businesses will limit earnings.


Around 10:35am (AEDT), Macquarie Group shares were down 3.9 per cent to $37.22.

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

NAB shares rise as results raise turnaround hopes


Analysts say NAB’s latest earnings update may mark a turning point for the underperforming bank and its long suffering shareholders.


That is despite National Australia Bank’s unaudited first-quarter profit falling 21 per cent to approximately $1.26 billion, which it attributes to accounting devaluations of some assets and ineffective financial hedges.


NAB’s preferred measure of cash earnings, which excludes asset revaluations and other one-off events, came in at $1.45 billion.


That is only 3.6 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, but CLSA banking analyst Brian Johnson says it is a step up from seven quarters of stagnation.


“NAB’s earnings had been stalled at 1.4 billion – if you strip out a big abnormal charge they took in the preceding quarter – so a result of $1.45 billion wasn’t too bad,” he said.


“The most important thing I would call out to you is that the margins, customer margins, are certainly going up in the personal banking business in Australia, and also the business banking business, and perhaps even the United Kingdom, which has got to be a real positive.”


The bank says its expenses increased around 4 per cent over the period, which it says reflects continued investment in the Australian business and enterprise agreement related wage increases.


However, the bank also shed around 500 staff over the quarter, due mainly to restructuring its troubled UK operations.


Overall, NAB’s chief executive Cameron Clyne described the result as “pleasing”.


“NAB delivered a stronger result for the quarter reflecting the underlying strength of our core Australian business and improved earnings in the UK,” he noted in the report.


“In this environment cost management continues to be a key priority but we remain mindful of the need to balance this objective against the importance of continued investment. On this front, our technology transformation project continues to make good progress.”


The bank says the quality of its outstanding loans was relatively stable, with bad debts at 1.74 per cent at the end of December versus 1.78 per cent at the end of September.


Investors have focussed on the bank’s stable asset quality, and tentative signs of improvement in its troubled UK business, pushing its shares 1.9 per cent higher to $28.65 by 2:24pm (AEDT).


“NAB had been priced for what I would call pessimism in perpetuity,” explained Brian Johnson.


“What’s actually happening is it’s surprising a little bit at the edges, and accordingly the share price is going up, and I think it’s got a lot more to go.”

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

First posted February 07, 2013 09:42:08

Shares rebound as solid earnings restore confidence


Stock markets in the United States and in Europe have recovered much of yesterday’s losses as companies report solid earnings.


About halfway through the US quarterly reporting season, most companies have posted better than expected earnings.


Trade on Wall Street was also lifted by figures showing the US services sector continued to expand for a third year.


Elsewhere on the market, the world’s third biggest computer maker Dell is going private in a $23.5 billion leveraged buyout deal.


Dell’s founder and chief executive, Michael Dell, will take majority control, with Mr Dell and private equity company Silver Lake to pay $US13.65 a share in cash.


The company, which was first listed on the US stock exchange in 1988, has struggled to keep up with competition from smart phones and tablet computers.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.7 per cent to 13,979, the S&P 500 index gained 1 per cent to 1,511, and the Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.3 per cent to 3,172.


In Europe, trade was also boosted by some strong company profit announcements, and a measure of business activity in the eurozone pointed to green shoots of recovery.


In London, the FTSE 100 gained 0.6 per cent to 6,283, the DAX in Germany added 0.4 per cent, and the CAC 40 in France rose by 1 per cent.


Back home, futures trade is suggesting a good start to the Australian session – the ASX SPI 200 index was 20 points higher at 4,864.


On commodity markets, the spot price of gold has slipped to $US1,673 an ounce, and West Texas crude oil is edging higher to $US96.70 a barrel.


In currency trade, the Australian dollar was down against the greenback after the Reserve Bank left the official interest rate on hold yesterday but hinted that further cuts may be ahead, but it continues to climb against a weaker yen.


At 8:30am (AEDT) it was buying 103.9 US cents, 76.5 euro cents, 97.2 Japanese yen, 66.4 British pence and around $NZ1.23.

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

Cochlear shares fall despite return to profit


Hearing implant maker Cochlear has swung to profit in the first half of the financial year, on record sales of its hearing devices.


Cochlear says first-half net profits soared to $77.7 million, up from a loss of more than $20 million the same time last financial year.


Implant sales jumped 27 per cent compared with the same time the year before, to nearly 14,000 units.


Investors will get an increased interim dividend of $1.25 a share, partly franked.


Cochlear says it has recovered from a costly recall of one of its key products.


Cochlear’s chief executive, Chris Roberts, says the company is planning to reintroduce the recalled unit but is in no hurry.


“There are some advantages of bringing back the 500 series relating to some of the implant, the surgeon technique and the like, but I’m not sure how much of a catalyst it really will be to drive sales,” he told investors.


“You’d expect it to be positive, but it’s pretty hard for us to quantify that.”


However, investors were not impressed and Cochlear shares were down 6.3 per cent to $75.40 by 1:07pm (AEDT).

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

First posted February 05, 2013 13:09:21

Shares fall on negative overseas leads


The share market is slipping further, with only healthcare and retail stocks managing gains.


The All Ordinaries Index had lost 0.7 per cent to 4,895 shortly before midday (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index had fallen by the same amount, to 4,874.


The major miners were all at least 1 per cent lower, with BHP Billiton down more than 1.5 per cent.


The major lenders have also all lost at least 0.4 per cent – NAB has fared the worst so far, down 1.3 per cent.


Shares in Australia’s biggest investment bank, Macquarie Group, were 3.6 per cent lower after its latest profit outlook disappointed investors, despite forecasting a 10 per cent rise in earnings.


The dollar was higher against most major currencies after official figures showed Australia’s trade deficit was much smaller than expected in December at $427 million.


The dollar was buying 104.52 US cents.

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

Rate cut hopes drive dollar down, shares up


The Australian dollar has continued its slide against the major currencies after poor retail sales increased bets that interest rates would fall again soon.


The local dollar was buying around 103.6 US cents at 1:13pm (AEDT).


The Australian share market was up by 0.8 per cent, with most sectors advancing.


The All Ordinaries index had gained 41 points to 4,943, and the ASX 200 index had risen by 40 points to 4,923.


Consumer staple companies are again performing well, led by a 3.6 per cent gain for bread manufacturer Goodman Fielder.


Woolworths had risen 2.3 per cent, while the owner of the rival Coles supermarket group, Wesfarmers, was up 1.6 per cent.


Energy companies were also among the strongest performers.


Santos had risen almost 2 per cent to $12.08, and Caltex was 1.2 per cent higher.


Building materials firm Boral has offset recent losses by rising 4.2 per cent to $4.97.


However, investors have continued to show their disappointment with hearing implant company Cochlear over its half-year results yesterday, with shares slipping another 3.7 per cent after tumbling more than 9 per cent yesterday.

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

Panasonic shares surge on profit

 Panasonic TVs on display Japanese electronics makers have been struggling amid a slowing global demand for TVs Shares of Panasonic have surged 17% to 692 yen in Tokyo, after the firm swung back into profit in the third quarter.


On Friday, Panasonic reported a net profit of 61.3bn yen ($666m; £421m) for the October-December period, compared with a 197.6bn yen loss a year earlier.


Panasonic, which kept its forecast for a full-year loss unchanged, said a weak yen had improved business conditions.


Analysts said investors were hoping that a weak currency will help boost profits further in the current quarter.


“For the time being they are being rescued by the weak yen and it looks like they may have a good fourth quarter as well,” Yuuki Sakurai of Fukoku Capital Management told the BBC.


The Japanese currency has dipped more than 15% against the US dollar since November last year.


A weak yen boosts profits of Japanese exporters such as Panasonic when they repatriate their foreign earnings back home. It also makes Japanese goods more affordable to foreign buyers.


“The hope is that if the yen continues to to remain weak then the losses could be less than what Panasonic had previously forecast,” Mr Sakurai added.


The firm has said it expects to make a net loss of 765bn yen for the financial year to 31 March 2013.

Long term concerns Continue reading the main story
If the basis of a profit surge is just the weak currency, then than that is always going to be risky”

End Quote Yuuki Sakurai Fukoku Capital Management Panasonic has seen its fortunes slide in recent years amid a slowdown in global demand and falling prices for TVs.


To make matters worse, it has also had to face strong competition from rivals, including South Korea’s Samsung which has grabbed a big share of the global TV market.


In its latest results, Panasonic said that global demand for flat-panel TVs and digital devices had weakened further.


It said its overall sales in the last quarter fell 8% on the year to 1.8 trillion yen.


Analysts said that the firm had been too reliant on its TV business over the past years, and that it needed to rethink its strategy.


“People are still sceptical if the business model of Panasonic will be successful in the long run,” said Fukoku Capital Management’s Mr Sakurai.


For its part, Panasonic has been trying to restructure its business. But it has previously warned that the costs related to such moves may be almost 11 times more than previously estimated.


Mr Sakurai added that while the drop in the yen’s value was a welcome relief for Panasonic, until it addresses the long term issues, the firm’s future remained uncertain.


“If the basis of a profit surge is just the weak currency, then than that is always going to be risky,” he said.


“For all you know, the yen could start to rise again and things may be back to square one for Panasonic.”

Ford shares down on Europe losses

Ford: “The industry will start to recover in 2014″

Shares in Ford have fallen 3.9% in early Wall Street trading on the rising cost of fixing its European business.


The US carmaker cautioned that 2013 losses in Europe would be $2bn, greater than its previous $1.5bn estimate.


The stock market reacted negatively, despite Ford reporting profits for the last three months of 2012 that beat expectations thanks to strong US sales.


Earnings after tax for the quarter were $1.6bn (£1bn), with underlying profits up 55% from the same period in 2011.


Revenues rose 5% overall, driven by a 13% rise in North America.


Ford boasted that its North American unit had enjoyed its most profitable fourth quarter and year since it first began recording the region’s performance in 2000.


The contrasting fortunes of the number two US carmaker on either side of the Atlantic reflect the broader market trends. While total US car sales hit a post-financial-crisis high last year, 2012 sales in Europe fell more than 8% from the previous year.


Ford, like many rivals, is in the process of downsizing its European business to reflect the shrinking market, with resulting losses due to redundancy payments and the write-off of the value of factories and other assets it owns in the region.


The company said these costs were turning out to be more than expected, thanks to the strength of the euro and the higher valuation of employee pension claims. It has also marginally cut its forecast for total European sales in 2013.


To add to the firm’s woes on the continent, chief financial officer Bob Shanks admitted to investors that the delayed launch of the new Mondeo in Europe would cost Ford several hundred million dollars in missed revenues.

Facebook shares slide on profit fall


Facebook has reported a sharp drop in profits, prompting a fresh decline in the share price of the world’s biggest social network.


The company says the drop in profit is partly due to increased spending on research and development.


The social network site made a profit of over $60 million in the final three months of 2012, compared with nearly $300 million a year earlier.


The results triggered a 5 per cent slide in Facebook shares in after-hours trading in New York.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, media, social-media, united-states

Whitehaven shares fall on profit warning


Shares in Whitehaven Coal have tumbled after the company warned that its full-year earnings could shrink to less than $20 million.


Whitehaven expects earnings before interest and tax to come in at less than $10 million for the first half of the year, and possibly for the second half.


That is less than half the previous guidance for full year earnings of around $50 million.


The company blames the strong Australian dollar and weak coal prices for the earnings downgrade, and says a derailment at its Narrabri mine in New South Wales also hit operations.


Whitehaven shares were down 5.2 per cent at $3.29 by 3:23pm (AEDT).

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

First posted January 31, 2013 15:29:57

Yahoo Japan to buy back up to $220mn of its own shares

TOKYO: Yahoo Japan Inc said on Tuesday that it plans buy back up to 20 billion yen ($220 million) of its own shares, or 1.4 percent of its issued stock.


 


Yahoo Japan said it would buy back 800,000 shares between Feb. 1 and March 15.


 


Copyright Reuters, 2013

Share


Related news: Australia shares rally to 21-month high, banks strong – 29.01.13 Seoul shares gain after recent slide; auto, tech sectors lead – 29.01.13 China shares flat in morning trade – 29.01.13 Yahoo! shares up and down as profit tops expectations – 29.01.13 Turkish shares drop, lira eases after Moody’s comment – 29.01.13More from this category: DP World sees 2012 profit in-line with forecasts – 29.01.13 Philips quits home entertainment, Q4 results in line – 29.01.13 POSCO Q4 profit misses forecast on weak China demand, lower prices – 29.01.13 Japan’s Aeon eyes record numbers of overseas staff – 29.01.13 Yahoo! shares up and down as profit tops expectations – 29.01.13More from author: JUI, BNP stage walkout against Governor Rule – 29.01.13 Policeman on polio team gunned down – 29.01.13 Bilal keeps its form to share top spot with Foxy – 29.01.13 Lodhi to feature in World Chess qualifiers in Colombo – 29.01.13 JUI(F) leaders condole death of mother of Maulana Taj Nahiyoon – 29.01.13 


Microsoft shares drop as profits dip slightly

microsoft-office 400SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft shares slipped Thursday after the release of quarterly earnings figures that surpassed forecasts but left it unclear how the software titan will score in the post personal computer era.

Microsoft reported that its profit dipped slightly in the final three months of last year despite revenues boosted by the release of new-generation Windows software tailored for the world of smartphones and tablet computers.

Profit was down 3.7 percent from the same quarter a year earlier to $6.38 billion, better than most forecasts, while revenues rose 2.7 percent to $21.46 billion, a record for the US tech giant.

Microsoft said the boost in revenues came from pre-sales and upgrades of Windows 8, recognized in the quarter, and gains in business software and other segments.

Shares in the Redmond, Washington-based technology firm were down more than one percent to $27.25 in after-market trading that followed release of the earnings figures for its second fiscal quarter.

Microsoft did not provide specific sales data for the Surface tablet launched late last year or its new Windows Phone 8 system, two keys to the company’s future.

Chief executive Steve Ballmer said the company’s “big, bold ambition to reimagine Windows as well as launch Surface and Windows Phone 8,” had sparked “unprecedented opportunity and creativity with our partners and developers.”

The profit amounted to 76 cents per share — one cent better than the Wall Street consensus.

Citi analyst Walter Pritchard said Microsoft was on target.

“This was the first time in memory we haven’t seen disappointment in the Windows line,” he said in a research note, maintaining a buy rating.

Raimo Lenschow at Barclays said the results were “essentially in line with investors’ low expectations.”

John Ogg at 24/7 Wall Street called it a “mixed” report and said there appeared to be concerns that Microsoft did not offer guidance beyond saying its operating expenses would be $30.3 to $30.9 billion for the fiscal year.

The Windows division saw revenues jump 24 percent to $5.88 billion, while revenue was up 11 percent to $869 million at Microsoft’s online services division. To date, more than 60 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold.

The growth in Windows sales was driven by operating system upgrades, sales of Surface tablets, and businesses licensing Windows 8, Microsoft chief financial officer Peter Klein said in a conference call with analysts.

“We learned a lot this quarter; we saw some really great demand for some of the touch devices we brought to market,” Klein said.

Microsoft is working with device and chip makers to field a variety of Windows 8 touch-screen devices “at the right price points,” he noted.

Microsoft is also beginning to see a pay-off from years spent working to “finely tune” its search engine that powers queries at Yahoo! websites.

Gains in online services, server and enterprise software helped offset a decline in the entertainment division which produces the Xbox console and games.

Microsoft is expected to introduce a successor to the Xbox 360 this year, with the videogame console evolving into a hub for digital home entertainment.

Windows remains the dominant platform for personal computers, but Microsoft has lost ground to Google and Apple in newer devices which use rival operating systems.

The company’s search and online services have struggled, but its Xbox is the hottest gaming system in the industry.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

Shares surge as Specialty Fashion trebles profit


Clothing retailer Specialty Fashion has surged 40 per cent after saying its first-half profit will treble.


The retailer – which owns women’s fashion stores Katies, Millers, Crossroads, Autograph and City Chic – says its revenue for the half-year ending December 31 was 1.3 per cent up on the previous corresponding period.


The company says it has leveraged this small improvement in sales to a much larger rise in profit, with first-half pre-tax earnings expected to be between $37-38 million, compared to $21.9 million the year before.


Speciality Fashion’s net profit after tax is expected to grow even more, almost trebling from $6.2 million to $17-18 million.


The company’s chief executive Gary Perlstein says the surge in profit was largely driven by a focus on cutting costs.


“Our continued focus on our strategies to improve sales, margins and costs of doing business has meant we have delivered a significant turnaround in trading performance, almost tripling our net profit for the first half of financial year 2013, when compared with the same period in financial year 2012,” he noted in the report.


“The economic uncertainties and structural changes affecting retail have not gone away, but we have pulled all the levers within our control to achieve sustainable improvements, and our results reflect this.”


The retailer says it has recorded the highest gross margin in its history at 62.4 per cent, due to higher selling prices, reduced product cost prices and lower freight costs.


The company says the higher Australian dollar and reduced cotton prices also helped lower its costs and boost profit margin.


Specialty Fashion says it also made rental savings by reducing the base rents of leases renewed during the period and exiting leases of underperforming stores.


The firm says it made $11.3 million, or 3.6 per cent, of its sales online in the period.


The company’s shares were up 41.4 per cent to 99 cents by 10:42am (AEDT) as investors digested the result.


Other fashion retailers such as Premier Investments, David Jones and Myer have also been trading between 0.5-2 per cent higher this morning.


Specialty Fashion will confirm its audited results when it releases its final half-year profit statement on February 18.

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

First posted January 25, 2013 10:45:01

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

Shares rise, dollar falls after inflation figures


The Australian dollar has dropped after weaker than expected inflation numbers were released.


The local currency has slipped against the greenback since its peak this morning to 105.47 US cents.


The Australian share market is making modest gains.


The All Ordinaries index was up 14 points to 4,820, and the ASX 200 was up about 0.3 per cent to 4,795 just before midday (AEDT).


Shares in fertiliser maker Nufarm have dropped by more than 8 per cent after its said trading conditions will negatively impact its results.


BHP Billiton was up 1.2 per cent to $37.04 after releasing its latest quarterly production results this morning.


Rival Rio Tinto had lost 0.2 per cent.


Most of the big four banks are making gains – Westpac was up 0.8 per cent, with NAB and ANZ up by slightly less.


However, the Commonwealth Bank was trading flat around $62.57.


Shares in Telstra were up 0.3 per cent.

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

First posted January 23, 2013 12:28:57

Shares flat on mining production declines

The local share market is trading flat despite a positive lead from Wall Street overnight, with miners among the sectors weighing on the market.


The All Ordinaries index was up 2 points to 4,814 shortly before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index had gained 1 point to 4,789.


Rio Tinto was down 0.7 per cent, while rival BHP Billiton had shed 0.2 per cent.


Two gold and copper miners – Oz Minerals and Newcrest – were down after their latest production results.


Oz shares had tumbled more than 6 per cent to $6.85 after it said fourth quarter production fell, and its Prominent Hill mine was approaching its peak output.


Newcrest shares were off 1.6 per cent after it reported a fall in gold production and said its full-year output would come in at the low end of expectations.


However, oil and gas company Linc Energy surged 13 per cent to $2.44 after releasing two geological reports that estimated there could be up to 233 billion barrels of shale oil in the untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy, over the majority of which the company has licences.


Telstra had gained 0.5 per cent, and the big four banks were also in positive territory.


The Australian dollar was buying around 105.37 US cents.

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

First posted January 24, 2013 11:27:01

Shares rise on positive profit results


Wall Street made modest gains overnight as investors shrugged off worries about the US fiscal cliff and Euro zone debt crisis and instead focused on profit numbers from technology companies IBM and Google.


IBM and Google’s fourth quarter earnings were released after the previous day’s market close, with both beating analyst expectations.


IBM shares climbed 4.8 per cent, while Google rose even further, by 6.2 per cent.


The internet search company made $US2.9 billion in the final three months of last year, which was a 7 per cent increase and beat expectations.


Investors were left waiting for Apple’s results when the final bell rang, amid worries about waning demand for Apple products.


Shares in Apple have fallen about 20 per cent over the past three months and are worth $US510 dollars today.


Analysts are expecting $US55 billion in revenue


Thomson Reuters data shows, of the 99 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 68 per cent have topped expectations.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 67 points, or 0.5 per cent, higher at 13,779.


The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended 2 points, or 0.1 per cent, stronger at 1,495.


The Nasdaq Composite Index finished 0.3 per cent higher on 3,154.


There was also positive news out of Washington as the US House of Representatives voted to suspend the country’s debt ceiling until mid-May.


Many Democrats opposed the measure, labelling it a gimmick that sets up a new fiscal cliff.


In Paris, the International Monetary Fund has warned of a weakening global economic recovery despite government efforts to stimulate growth.


The IMF has cut its global growth outlook to 3.5 per cent for 2013, down from its last prediction of 3.6 per cent made back in October.


European markets ended the session mixed.


London’s FTSE 100 index added 0.3 per cent to 6,198, a fresh four-and-a-half-year high.


Germany’s DAX added 11 points to 7,708, while France’s CAC40 fell 0.4 per cent to 3,726.


At 8:15am (AEDT) the ASX SPI 200 futures contract pointed to a gain of 0.2 per cent when trade begins.


The Australian dollar was edging up against the greenback. It was buying 105.45 US cents, 79.21 euro cents and 66.58 British pence.


West Texas intermediate crude oil slipped back to $US95.47 a barrel, and spot gold prices were also down slightly to $US1,684 an ounce.

Topics: markets, currency, stockmarket, futures, australia

Shares gain on European leads


The Australian share market is trading higher, with investors feeding off gains on European markets and optimism there will be more monetary stimulus in Japan.


The All Ordinaries index had risen 21 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,824 shortly before 11:00am (AEDT).


The ASX 200 index was 22 points higher at 4,800.


The gains have been broadly spread.


Iron ore miner Fortescue was up 2.9 per cent.


Rio Tinto was trading 0.9 per cent higher, while rival BHP Billiton had gained around 0.5 per cent.


Qantas was 0.5 per cent higher.


The Australian dollar was buying around $US105.14 US cents.

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

European shares rise, US markets closed


The Australian share market is set to take its lead from a positive finish to European trade, with Wall Street closed for the Martin Luther King Junior public holiday.


Sentiment was lifted by hopes of a resolution to the US debt ceiling debate and as European finance ministers meet for the first time this year to address the region’s debt crisis.


At a meeting in Brussels, euro area ministers are set to clash over how the $US666 billion European Stability Mechanism can bypass governments and provide direct help to banks.


The economic health of Spain, Cyprus and Greece are also likely to be on the agenda.


Earlier, US Republican leaders signalled they would allow the government to raise the debt ceiling to prevent a default without demanding immediate spending cuts from president Barack Obama.


Also increasing demand for shares was speculation the Bank of Japan will increase monetary stimulus at the end of its two-day policy meeting in Tokyo today.


“The market has completely priced in the BOJ increasing its asset purchase program by roughly 10 trillion Japanese yen and increasing the inflation target to 2 per cent, ” said John Noonan, senior foreign exchange strategist at Thomson Reuters.


“The BOJ is also expected to discuss and at least comment on the prospect of making their asset purchase program open-ended.”


By the close of trade London’s FTSE 100 Index hit a four-and-a-half year high adding 27 points to 6,181.


The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added a 0.3 per cent, in fairly low volume trade.


Germany’s DAX added 37 points or 0.6 per cent to 7,749.


In France, the CAC 40 rose 0.6 per cent to 3,763.


At 7:15am (AEDT) on futures markets, the US Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures contract was 0.3 per cent higher.


In Australia, the SPI futures contract was pointing to a loss of 3 points at the start of trade.


Japan’s currency strengthened against the greenback ahead of the BOJ meeting.


The Australian dollar was trading in a tight range against the greenback and worth 105.14 US cents, 78.98 euro cents and 66.46 British pence.


The spot price of gold was up a little at $US1690.05 an ounce.


West Texas intermediate crude oil was worth $US95.56 a barrel.

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

Global shares rally on back of fiscal cliff deal

Updated January 03, 2013 08:20:08

A long-awaited deal to avoid a US fiscal crisis has prompted a broad global market rally, with shares and commodities rising sharply while the US dollar and safe-haven government bonds fell.

On Wall Street on Wednesday (US time), the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 308 points or 2.35 per cent, and stocks were also about 2 per cent higher across Europe on the back of the fiscal cliff deal, which passed the US House of Representatives yesterday.

Postpones first round of automatic spending cuts for two monthsRaises $US620 billion over 10 years through tax increases on wealthier AmericansPermanently extends tax cuts for income below $US400,000 per person or $US450,000 per familyIncome above that level will be taxed at 39.6 per cent, up from 35 per centRaises estate tax rate to 40 per cent for estates of more than $US10 million per coupleExtends unemployment insurance benefits for one year for 2 million peopleExtends child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and tuition tax credit for five yearsAvoids a cut in payments to doctors treating patients on Medicare

Overnight London’s FTSE 100 index broke through the 6,000 mark for first time in 17 months and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.9 per cent.

Futures markets are predicting a third of a per cent gain on the Australian market when it opens.

The Australian dollar has joined the rally and was buying 104.93 US cents early on Thursday morning (AEDT).

After a last minute scramble, US politicians approved a plan to prevent huge tax increases and delay spending cuts that together would have pushed the world’s largest economy off the “fiscal cliff” and into a likely recession.

The deal’s fate had hung in the balance for hours as House conservatives sought to add spending reductions to a version passed by the Senate in the early hours of 2013 that would likely have killed the compromise.

In the end, the House voted 257 to 167 to pass the original bill with minority Democrats joining a smaller band of majority Republicans to pass the legislation after a fiercely contested and unusual session on New Year’s Day.

On Wednesday hopes that stronger US growth would help the global economy pushed Australian shares to a 19-month high.

But economists warn that plenty of reasons remain for investors to be wary.

The US congressional deal averted immediate pain such as higher taxes for almost all US households. However, automatic spending cuts of $109 billion in military and domestic programs were delayed for only two months, during which Congress must agree an alternative plan.

AFP/Reuters

Topics: markets, world-politics, business-economics-and-finance, united-states

First posted January 03, 2013 01:22:54

Sundance shares surge on mine approval, takeover

Updated December 31, 2012 11:07:50

Shares in iron ore miner Sundance Resources have surged after the Republic of Congo issued it a mining permit, and on reports that Chinese company Hanlong plans to complete a takeover of the firm by March.

Sundance shares were up 14 per cent to 36.5 cents by 10:29am (AEDT).

The company announced on Monday morning that the Ministerial Council for the Republic of Congo had approved its application to develop and mine the Nabeba iron ore deposit.

Coupled with a recently signed convention on the Mbalam deposit in neighbouring Cameroon, Sundance says the way is paved for work to start on building the Mbalam-Nabeba iron ore mine.

Sundance says the deposit should have a life well past 25 years, and will contribute substantially to Congo’s economy over the next decade.

The company says approval of the mine meets the last requirement from Sundance necessary before a proposed takeover by Hanlong can go ahead.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua is reporting that Hanlong expects to complete its takeover of Sundance by March 1.

The company is paying 45 cents a share for the Australian miner, in a deal agreed to in August.

Xinhua says Hanlong is investing almost $5 billion in the Mbalam project, including a 550 kilometre railway to transport the ore.

Topics: company-news, business-economics-and-finance, iron-ore, takeovers, australia, congo, china

First posted December 31, 2012 10:47:22

Shares fall as cliff nears

By finance reporter Rebecca Hyam and staffUpdated December 31, 2012 11:02:26

It has been a bad start to the last trading day of the year, with the local share market falling 0.5 per cent because of concerns about the US fiscal cliff.

The head of Investment Markets Research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, Stephen Halmarick, has told ABC News Breakfast that political bickering is preventing any concrete progress.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the US political system can’t get a deal done on this fiscal policy outlook,” he lamented.

“The economic data out of the US has actually been pretty good over the last couple of months, and the economy itself looked like it was gaining some momentum, but this inability to do a deal on the fiscal cliff could really wipe out all that good momentum.”

The All Ordinaries index was down 25 points to 4,660 around 10:45am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 was also around 0.5 per cent lower at 4,645.

Rio Tinto was down more than 1 per cent and BHP Billiton was 0.75 per cent lower.

The big four banks were down between 0.3 per cent and 1 per cent.

Shares in Sundance Resources had jumped more than 15 per cent in early trade, after reports China’s Hanlong Group plans to complete its $1.4 billion takeover of the company by March.

Sundance has just won approval from the Republic of Congo’s Ministerial Council for its proposed mine in that country, which was a necessary condition for the takeover to go ahead.

Fairfax shares were 4.2 per cent higher, after a consortium linked to Gina Rinehart bought a small holding.

The Australian dollar was slightly higher at 103.8 US cents.

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

First posted December 31, 2012 11:00:45

Australian shares set for flat morning

By finance reporter Justine ParkerUpdated January 08, 2013 09:06:01

Global markets have retreated as investors move on from optimism about last week’s deal to avert the fiscal cliff in the United States.

On Wall Street, the market slipped from a five-year high as investors took profits.

There is also caution before the US corporate reporting season begins tomorrow, with analysts predicting results will be disappointing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 per cent to 13,384, the S&P 500 lost 0.3 per cent to 1,462, and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 3,099.

Bank of America shares lost ground after the bank settled a case brought against it by the US government mortgage agency Fannie Mae.

The bank will pay $US11.6 billion, after Fannie Mae claimed it had been sold toxic debts.

Part of the settlement will see Bank of America buy back 30,000 mortgages for almost $US7 billion.

Shares in aeroplane maker Boeing came under pressure after a Japan Airlines jet caught fire at an airport in Boston.

In Europe, markets slipped but bank stocks gained, after bank regulators softened rules on the minimum amount of cash or sellable assets they must hold.

In London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent to 6,065, the DAX in Germany lost 0.6 per cent, and the CAC 40 in France reversed by 0.7 per cent.

Some key commodity prices also slipped in line with stocks – spot gold has fallen to around $US1,647 an ounce, and West Texas crude oil edged lower to $US93.20 a barrel.

Futures trade in Australia is suggesting a relatively flat start to the session – the ASX SPI 200 index was up 5 points to 4,697.

In currency trade, the Australian dollar has risen against the greenback through the morning.

At 8:30am (AEDT) it was buying 105.05 US cents, 80.1 euro cents, 92.2 Japanese yen, 65.2 British pence and more than $NZ1.25.

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

First posted January 08, 2013 09:03:21

Local shares end day’s trade down slightly

Updated January 07, 2013 18:15:45

The Australian share market slipped slightly by close as investors locked in earlier gains.

The All Ordinaries index shed 0.1 per cent to 4,738 and the ASX 200 index was down six points to 4,717.

A 2 per cent jump in iron ore prices did little to excite the local miners.

BHP Billiton lost a third of a per cent to $37.81 and Rio Tinto shed 1.7 per cent, while Fortescue Metals managed a gain of two-thirds of a per cent.

Rare earth miner Lynas was the best performer on the ASX 200, up 14 per cent by the close.

It says it will ramp up production over the next three months and its rare earths will be ready for sale within weeks.

Banking stocks were mixed; the ANZ added 0.6 per cent, Westpac edged up by 0.1 per cent and National Australia Bank was flat.

The Commonwealth Bank shed 1 per cent, retreating from its recent highs to close at $62.60.

The market heavyweight Telstra slipped two-thirds of a per cent to $4.45.

The day’s action was confined to Whitehaven Coal, which saw its shares plunge after an anti-coal lobby group issued a hoax press release.

Frontline Action on Coal claimed ANZ had pulled $1.2 billion from the Maules Creek project in New South Wales.

The news initially wiped $300 million off the company’s value before both the Whitehaven and ANZ confirmed the release was false.

ASIC is investigating the matter to see if a breach of the Corporations Act has occurred.

Whitehaven recovered most of its earlier losses to close down 0.5 per cent to $3.50.

The Australian dollar received a boost from the increase in the spot iron ore price and had traded strongly against the greenback and the Japanese yen.

About 5:20pm (AEDT) it was buying 104.71 US cents, 92.12 Japanese yen, 80.34 euro cents and 65.33 British pence.

Spot gold was up slightly at $US1,661 an ounce, while West Texas crude oil eased to $US92.77 a barrel.

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

First posted January 07, 2013 18:14:29

Shares rise on cliff fix

Updated January 02, 2013 15:36:53

The House of Representatives vote to approve a fiscal cliff compromise deal has pushed shares higher.

The All Ordinaries Index was up 59 points to 4,724 just before 3:30pm (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index was also 1.25 per cent points stronger at 4,707.

Shares built on modest morning gains as it became increasingly apparent that a Senate bill to avoid the fiscal cliff would be passed by the House of Representatives – as it was 257 votes to 167 just before 3:00pm (AEDT).

The local share market is also being led higher by mining stocks after iron ore prices jumped in China yesterday.

Market heavyweight BHP Billiton had added 1.7 per cent, Rio Tinto 2.4 per cent, and iron ore specialist Fortescue was 5.2 per cent stronger at $4.89.

Media companies were also performing well – Ten Network had risen 1.8 per cent and APN News and Media had added 2 per cent.

The big banks were also rising, albeit more modestly – Commonwealth was the best of the four major lenders, rising 1 per cent.

Telstra had gained 1.6 per cent.

CSL and BlueScope were among the few stocks falling, both down 0.3 per cent, as manufacturers were hit by a strong rise in the Australian dollar.

The local currency was buying 104.7 US cents after the bill to avoid the fiscal cliff passed both houses of Congress – up around a cent from this morning’s lows.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, economic-trends, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia, united-states

First posted January 02, 2013 11:23:08

eBay shares rise as sales jump

 EBay’s PayPal arm saw the biggest jump in revenues EBay’s sales for the last three months of 2012 topped analysts’ forecasts as the online marketplace saw strong trading over the Christmas period.


Sales rose 18% to $3.99bn (£2.5bn) in large part due to growth in the use of smartphones to trade on the site.


“Mobile continues to rewrite the commerce playbook,” eBay chief executive John Donahoe said.


Profits fell 62% to $757m, but the comparable 2011 figure was inflated by proceeds from eBay’s sale of Skype.


According to eBay’s statement, the PayPal payment division generated the greatest growth. Fourth-quarter revenue from the payment service totalled $1.54bn, a 24% increase from the previous year.


The marketplaces division, where most of the shopping occurs on eBay, saw fourth-quarter revenue of $2.05bn, up 16% from the 2011 quarter.


EBay charges a fee for each item sold, and receives a fee for each payment processed by PayPal.


On Cyber Monday in November, traditionally seen as the start of holiday shopping season, sales transactions on eBay’s mobile applications more than doubled from the year before. The volume of mobile payments via PayPal almost tripled.


EBay shares rose 1.2% to $53.53 in after-hours trading following the announcement.

Shares rise on hopes of last minute cliff deal

By finance reporter Rebecca HyamPosted December 28, 2012 10:58:30

Stronger iron ore prices are boosting resources stocks, prompting some solid early gains on the Australian share market.

The All Ordinaries Index was up 22 points to 4,684 around 10:50am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 was also about 0.5 per cent higher at 4,670.

Rio Tinto was 1.4 per cent higher and BHP Billiton was up 36 cents to $37.35.

The key Chinese iron ore spot price was up another 3 per cent to $US139.40 a tonne.

Higher gold prices have also pushed Newcrest Mining and Saint Barbara up 1.7 per cent each.

NAB, Westpac and ANZ were all about 0.3 per cent higher, while Commonwealth Bank shares are up 0.1 per cent.

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi was up more than 2 per cent, but Westfield Group was down 0.4 per cent.

The Australian dollar was fairly steady this morning – it was buying 103.7 US cents.

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

Shares slip back after Republican tax rejection

By finance reporter Rebecca Hyam and staffUpdated December 21, 2012 13:24:46

The local share market is giving up nearly all of its early gains, after US Republicans rejected their leaders’ own tax compromise proposal.

Republican House speaker John Boehner pulled a bill for tax increases on millionaires due to a lack of support from members of his own party.

The move renewed doubts over whether the US budget standoff will be resolved before the end of the year, when a raft of spending cuts and tax increases will automatically kick-in unless a deal is struck before hand, possibly pushing the US back into recession.

The All Ordinaries index was just 2 points higher at 4,648 around 1:00pm (AEDT), after being almost half a per cent higher most of the morning.

The ASX 200 had a similar sudden drop, to also be only 2 points ahead at 4,637.

Resources stocks have taken the biggest hit and are weighing on the broader market.

Rio Tinto was down 0.8 per cent, while BHP Billiton was 0.5 per cent lower.

Gold miner Newcrest had eased 18 cents to $22.31, after spot gold fell to its lowest level since August in overnight trading.

Of the major banks, ANZ was up 1 per cent, Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank were 0.8 per cent higher, but NAB was steady at $24.88.

Retailers were mixed – Myer was flat, and surfwear firm Billabong was up more than 3 per cent after big falls over the last couple of days.

The Australian dollar has also eased, and was worth 104.49 US cents.

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

First posted December 21, 2012 13:07:48

Australian shares ease on Fed worries

By finance reporter Alicia BarryUpdated January 04, 2013 13:27:39

The Australian share market has reversed two days of strong gains, after the US Federal Reserve raised concerns about continuing its stimulus measures this year.

Midway through the session, the All Ordinaries index was down 22 points to 4,739 just before 1:00pm (AEDT).

The ASX 200 index had shed 21 points to 4,719.

The major mining stocks are lower despite the spot price of iron ore hitting a 15-month high of $US150 a tonne in China overnight.

Rio Tinto had slipped 1.3 per cent and Fortescue Metals had lost 2.8 per cent.

Media stocks are doing well – Fairfax had lifted another 2.3 per cent, building on recent strong gains, and the Ten Network was 1.8 per cent higher.

Market heavy weight Telstra was worth $4.48, flat on the day after recent solid gains.

The Australian dollar was buying 104.5 US cents.

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

First posted January 04, 2013 13:25:33

Local shares rise despite iron’s hammering


The Australian share market is managing modest gains despite iron ore prices slipping by their biggest margin in 13 months overnight.


The All Ordinaries index was up 9 points to 4,774, and the ASX 200 index was also 9 points higher at 4,747 just before 11:00am (AEDT).


Rio Tinto had fallen 1.5 per cent, while main rival BHP Billiton was flat at $36.27.


The smaller iron ore miner Fortescue Metals had shed 1.1 per cent, and Atlas Iron had given back 1.5 per cent.


Supporting gains are the banks, with the exception of Westpac which had lost 0.2 per cent to $26.39.


Shares in Qantas jumped 1.4 per cent after the competition watchdog granted interim approval for its tie-up with Emirates.


Its rival Virgin was up 1.2 per cent.


Telstra had lost 0.7 per cent to $4.45.


The Australian dollar was buying 105.53 US cents.

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

Whitehaven Coal shares plunge after media hoax

Updated January 07, 2013 20:14:04

Shares in Nathan Tinkler’s coal company were placed in a trading halt after a fake media release claimed funding for Whitehaven Coal had been withdrawn.

Whitehaven Coal shares plunged 6 per cent to $3.31, wiping $300 million off the company’s value, before trading was stopped just after noon (AEDT).

The fraudulent media release claimed ANZ had withdrawn $1.2 billion from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek project in north-east New South Wales.

It said the decision was made because of “volatility in the global coal market, expected cost blow-outs and ANZ’s Corporate Responsibility policy”.

ANZ has confirmed the media release is a hoax and was not issued by the bank.

The Maules Creek mine, about 18 kilometres north of Boggabri in the Gunnedah Basin, is set to be one of the biggest open-cut coal mines in the world, extracting 12 million tonnes of raw coal a year.

The project was approved by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission in October.

If given the final go-ahead from the Federal Government, Whitehaven expects production to start in the middle of this year, with operations predicted to last around 30 years.

Environmentalists have raised concerns about the critically endangered white box gum woodland in the nearby Leard State Forest.

A group of activists called Frontline Action on Coal, who have camped out at the Maules Creek site for more than 150 days, claimed responsibility for the hoax.

Frontline Action on Coal spokesman Jonathan Moylan said in a statement that the group would continue to campaign against the ANZ bank until it shifted support to “ethical” investments.

“ANZ is putting their customers’ money at risk by investing in this marginal and controversial project,” he said.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is looking at whether there has been a breach of the Corporations Act.

Shares in Whitehaven shares recovered most of their earlier losses to close down 0.5 per cent at $3.50.

Topics: coal, company-news, markets, banking, stockmarket, industry, business-economics-and-finance, environment, mining-environmental-issues, activism-and-lobbying, gunnedah-2380, nsw, australia

First posted January 07, 2013 14:34:15

Shares rise as US reporting season starts well

Posted January 09, 2013 11:29:43

The Australian share market looks set to break a three-day losing streak with gains across most sectors.

A good start to the US earnings season is lifting the mood.

The All Ordinaries index was 11 points higher to 4,723 just before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index was 12 points stronger at 4,702.

The big four banks are mixed – the Commonwealth Bank continues to be sold down and was trading at $61.08.

Alumina has rallied 5 per cent in early trade after a positive earnings result from its US partner Alcoa.

Most other mining stocks are lower, despite the spot iron ore price climbing yet again overnight.

Fortescue Metals was off 0.6 per cent, while BHP Billiton had eased 0.2 per cent and Rio Tinto was down 0.1 per cent.

The Australian dollar a little stronger was buying 105.12 US cents.

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

Shares ease as cliff edge approaches

By finance reporter Rebecca HyamPosted December 31, 2012 15:08:29

It has been a lacklustre finish to the trading year in Australia, with local investors concerned about the lack of a deal by United States politicians to avert the fiscal cliff.

In a shortened session before the New Year’s Day public holiday, the All Ordinaries index fell 21 points to 4,664 and the ASX 200 also closed down about 0.5 per cent at 4,649.

Volumes were down on average levels, but much higher than the very thin trade seen last week.

For the entire year, the All Ordinaries Index finished up 13.5 per cent and the ASX 200 gained 14.6 per cent.

Today’s losses have been broad based, with the financial sector reversing its earlier weakness, only to edge back down by the end of the session.

Signs of improvement in China’s manufacturing sector failed to boost the big miners – Rio Tinto closed 0.8 per cent lower and BHP Billiton fell 30 cents to $37.10.

Woodside Petroleum gave up 31 cents to $33.88, while fellow oil and gas producer Santos bounced back from earlier weakness to close steady.

Shares in Sundance Resources surged 15.6 per cent to 37 cents, after reports Chinese company Hanlong plans to finalise its takeover of the Australian iron ore miner by March.

Sundance has also announced that the Ministerial Council for the Republic of Congo has approved its application to develop and mine the country’s Nabeba iron ore deposit.

Fairfax shares jumped 7.4 per cent to 51 cents, after a consortium allied with Gina Rinehart bought a small holding, giving the mining magnate further clout within the media company.

The Australian dollar was stronger at 104 US cents around 2:55pm (AEDT) – despite fluctuations over the year, that is little changed from levels around 102 US cents where the local currency was trading back in early January.

On the cross-rates, this afternoon the Aussie was worth 89.36 Japanese yen, 78.7 euro cents, 64.35 British pence, and $NZ1.2615.

West Texas crude oil was worth $US90.64 a barrel and Tapis had eased slightly to $US116.18 a barrel.

Spot gold was higher at $US1,660.49 an ounce – roughly $US100 higher than where it started 2013.

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

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

Shares slip, blue chips mixed

Updated January 08, 2013 16:04:00

The Australian share market has slipped during the afternoon, with falls for most miners and banks offsetting gains for some other blue chips, such as Telstra.

The All Ordinaries index was down 0.5 per cent to 4,713, while the ASX 200 was 26 points lower at 4,691 around just before the market close around 4:00pm (AEDT).

Rio Tinto was down 1.3 per cent and Fortescue Metals 2.7 per cent, while BHP Billiton was down 0.8 per cent.

That is despite another rise in Chinese iron ore spot prices to $US153.90 a tonne yesterday.

Three of the four major banks were trading lower, with Commonwealth the worst performing with a 2.1 per cent fall.

Westpac was up 0.1 per cent to $26.31.

Telstra was up 0.7 per cent to $4.48.

The electrical retail sector was also generally higher, with JB Hi-Fi posting a 3.1 per cent gain, while Harvey Norman was up 1.8 per cent.

The Australian dollar lost ground this afternoon to 104.8 US cents.

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

First posted January 08, 2013 11:35:09

Shares set to rise before traders take a break

By finance reporter Rebecca HyamPosted December 24, 2012 09:05:43

The Australian share market is set to make early gains, but trading volumes will be minimal as investors wind down ahead of the Christmas break.

The ASX will also close two hours earlier than usual today, at 2:10pm (AEDT).

In futures trading, the Share Price Index 200 was up 25 points to 4,617, indicating opening gains of about 0.5 per cent.

That is despite losses on international markets at the end of last week, including New York’s Dow Jones Industrial Average, which fell almost 1 per cent to 13,191 on Friday.

The S&P 500 fell 13 points to 1,430 and the Nasdaq closed 29 points lower to 3,021.

The Australian dollar has also been a little weaker, buying 103.93 US cents just before 9:00am (AEDT).

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

Shares rise on fiscal cliff hopes

Updated December 27, 2012 17:30:32

Hopes of a fiscal cliff compromise before tax rises and spending cuts in the new year have seen global markets rise.

US president Barack Obama is cutting short his Christmas break to return to Washington later today and resume negotiations with Republican Congress leaders.

There are hopes that a compromise based on president Obama’s offer of a $US400,000 threshold for tax increases may be agreed before January 1.

The All Ordinaries index was up 17 points to 4,663 by 2:46pm (AEDT), while the ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent higher at 4,650, albeit on very low volumes following two public holidays.

In a rare piece of company news today, Fortescue has announced the resumption of its expansion plans.

In September, the company suspended the development of its Kings deposit in Western Australia, as iron ore prices slumped below $US90 a tonne.

However, iron ore prices have risen more than 50 per cent since then, back to $US135 a tonne, causing Fortescue to restart its Kings development in January.

The expansion is due to be completed by the end of next year, and Fortescue’s shares were up 3.3 per cent.

Retailers have also gained as queues outside the major department stores’ CBD locations provided evidence that bricks and mortar shopping is not yet dead.

This year the department stores are also hoping online sales will put some icing on that post-Christmas cake.

Retail lobby groups have estimated that around $1.8 billion was spent yesterday alone.

That has seen Myer shares up 2.4 per cent to $2.12, and David Jones shares have risen 2.6 per cent.

However, the major banks have been a drag on the market.

Three of the big four are slightly lower, with the Commonwealth Bank’s 0.5 per cent decline leading the falls.

The Australian dollar was down slightly at 103.65 US cents.

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

First posted December 27, 2012 15:05:20

Billabong shares jump on further takeover approach


Billabong shares have surged after the surfwear retailer received another takeover offer.


The company’s shares jumped 13.6 per cent to 96 cents within an hour of resuming trade on the market following the announcement of the offer.


Billabong says Altamont Capital Partners and VF Corporation have offered $1.10 a share for the company, although the proposal is indicative, non-binding and conditional.


VF currently owns the Lee, Wrangler, Timberland, Nautica and North Face fashion brands amongst many others.


The offer is also subject to due diligence, which has been granted to the consortium and gives them the chance to look at Billabong’s finances.


A consortium led by former Billabong director Paul Naude, Sycamore Partners and Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also undertaking due diligence on the company, with their current offer also sitting at $1.10 a share.


Billabong says the due diligence process and evaluation of any potential offers is likely to take around six weeks.


However, Billabong says there is no guarantee an acceptable binding offer will be forthcoming.


Indeed, after rejecting a private equity offer from TPG pitched at up to $3.30 a share in February last year, Billabong has then had another two approaches pulled by the bidders following due diligence.


One was a $1.45 a share offer from TPG, and the other was another private equity approached pitched at the same level.

Topics: takeovers, business-economics-and-finance, company-news, retail, textiles, australia

First posted January 15, 2013 12:15:30

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

Apple suppliers’ shares slump

Iphone 5 Apple has seen increased competition in the smartphone market from the likes of Samsung Shares of Sharp and other suppliers of iPhone parts to Apple have fallen after reports of a cut in orders for the iPhone 5.


Apple has reduced orders by about 50% for its latest model, according to the Nikkei newspaper in Japan.


Sharp, which makes display panels for the device, slumped as much as 7% in Tokyo trade. Speaker-maker ACC Technologies fell 4.2% in Hong Kong.


Apple shares hit an 11-month low in New York on Monday after the report.


Apple has seen increased competition in the smartphone market in recent months.


South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, which offers a wider variety of smartphones, recently overtook Apple as the world’s largest smartphone maker by market share.


Some analysts have said that Apple will need to come out with a cheaper smartphone to target customers in emerging markets.

Burberry shares up on sales rise

 Burberry models at a recent catwalk show Burberry said the global trading environment remained “challenging” Burberry shares have risen 5% after it reported a strong increase in revenues for the final three months of 2012.


Total sales at the fashion house – famed for its camel, red and black check pattern – increased by 9% to £613m in the three months to 31 December, up from £574m a year earlier.


Sales were driven by sales of coats, scarves, men’s tailoring and accessories, the company said.


Same-store sales, which pulls out the impact of new shop openings, grew 6%.


However, Burberry saw its wholesale sales fall 5%, which it blamed on weak trading conditions in Europe.


Burberry’s wholesale arm, which supplies other retailers, recorded sales of £120m, down from £130m a year earlier.


Total retail sales at Burberry – those from its own shops and concessions in department stores – rose 13% to £464m.


European woes


Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts said: “We expect the external global environment to remain challenging.”


The rise in sales comes as Burberry continues its recovery since it issued a profit warning last September, when it warned of weaker global trading.


On a regional basis, its retail sales saw the biggest rises across Asia Pacific, led by Hong Kong and mainland China. By contrast, its European retail sales were “broadly unchanged”.


Wholesale sales grew in Asia, the US and emerging markets, but fell in Europe, where Burberry said small, independent fashion shops were suffering.


Clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) also warned about tough European trading on Tuesday.


The Swedish company, which has most of its business in Europe, said its same-store sales fell 2% in December.


However, H&M’s total sales increased by 8%, beating market targets.

Nike shares jump 6.2% on results

21 December 2012 Last updated at 21:56 GMT Nike footwear Nike’s home market was one of the bright spots for the company Sportswear giant Nike shares closed with a sharp gain on Friday after it reported a strong rise in demand in its home North American market.

Shares rose 6.2% after the company’s third quarter figures suggested steady demand for its products around the world.

Orders for delivery of its shoes and clothing for the coming months were up 14% in the home market.

Worldwide orders for the December-April period were up 6%,

Nike’s chief executive, Mark Parker, said the level of home demand was a welcome boost: “In North America, we created great momentum. This is somewhat counterintuitive to some, given this market size and assumed maturity.

“But I see tremendous growth potential in North America.”

The company’s past reported orders were lower than expected.

Profit margins were down by 30 basis points on the second quarter, but Nike said it expects margins to grow in the fourth quarter.

The company made profits of $384m in the third quarter, 14% higher than analysts were expecting with revenue up 7%.

Despite the positive figure, Nike’s global performance was weak in certain areas, such as China, where it had excess stock and faces strong competition from local brands.

However, the picture there is improving with inventory levels rising 9% in the quarter, a far smaller build-up of excess stock than the 35% it saw in the same quarter a year ago.

Japanese shares rise on Abe win

Investors looking at stock board in Japan Speculation of increased stimulus measures have seen Japanese shares rise in past few weeks Japanese shares rose and the yen dipped after the Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzo Abe, won Japan’s general elections.


The Nikkei 225 index rose 1% and the Japanese currency fell to a 20-month low of 84.48 yen against the US dollar.


Mr Abe has said he will implement measures to help revive the world’s third-largest economy, which has been battling years of sluggish growth.


He has also promised to take steps to weaken the yen and fight deflation.


“The Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) big victory is in line with market expectations and it will help to keep the yen weak and share prices high, at least for now,” said Kyohei Morita, chief economist at Barclays Securities Japan.

Unlimited easing?

Japan’s economy has been hurt by a variety of factors over the past few years, not least the strength of its currency, the yen.


A strong yen makes Japanese goods more expensive to foreign buyers and also hurts profits at the country’s exporters, which rely heavily on foreign sales for growth.


The Japanese currency has been volatile in recent times and rose almost 6% against the US dollar between April 2011 and November 2012, despite efforts by the policymakers to try to weaken it.

Continue reading the main story The strength of the currency has led to concerns that some Japanese manufacturers may shift a part of their operations abroad in an attempt to maintain their competitiveness, a move that would further hurt the country’s economy.


Japan has also been fighting deflation or falling prices for many years, which has affected domestic demand as consumers tend to put off their purchases in hopes of getting a better deal later on.


Before the elections, Mr Abe had said that he would implement measures directed at weakening the yen and fighting deflation.


He said that he would set an inflation target as high as 3% and even suggested that Japan’s central bank, the Bank of Japan (BOJ), should print “unlimited yen” to help counter falling prices.


Analysts said that given the indications of a convincing win, Mr Abe should be able to introduce his policies, which they said might weaken the yen further.


Neil Gilbert a market strategist at GFT Forex said that the term of current governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ) was scheduled to end in April neat year and Mr Abe “could get a BOJ governor who thinks along the same lines”.


“Therefore, I see the yen continuing to weaken based on Abe’s policy, and the future policy of his hand-picked governor,” Mr Gilbert added.

Long term issues Continue reading the main story
The fact that Abe points to changes in the BOJ law or forex levels, or aggressive easing as solutions to Japan’s problems is, if anything, worrying”

End Quote Yuuki Sakurai Fukoku Capital Management During the election campaign, Mr Abe had also suggested that he would look at changing the law that governs the central bank, in an attempt to have more control over it to ensure that the BOJ helps the government’s efforts to boost growth.


However, there are fears that such a move may hurt the central bank’s independence in the long run.


At the same time, some analysts said that the measures being suggested by Mr Abe were short-term solutions and that policymakers needed to address various key issues to ensure sustained economic growth.


“The fact that Abe points to changes in the BOJ law or forex levels, or aggressive easing as solutions to Japan’s problems is, if anything, worrying,” said Yuuki Sakurai, chief executive of Fukoku Capital Management.


“They should be treated as tools to buy time to implement structural reforms, but we’re not hearing anything about deep reforms that the LDP wants to carry out.”


Analysts say the new government will have to try to reduce Japan’s debt, the highest among industrialised nations, while keeping its spending at a level that can support growth.


At the same time, Mr Abe will have to tackle the nuclear energy policy, which has become a key political issue after last year’s earthquake and tsunami caused a radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.


Japan, which relied on nuclear power for almost one-third of its energy supplies before the incident, shut all its 50 nuclear reactors after the leaks.


The move has resulted in higher energy costs, and many big businesses want Japan to return to using nuclear power.


The shutdown of the nuclear reactors has also seen a rise in Japan’s imports of energy sources such as oil and natural gas, resulting in its trade deficit widening.


While Japan restarted two reactors earlier this year, support for nuclear energy has dwindled and there have been various protests against it.


“He [Mr Abe] will try to renegotiate plans to restart some more nuclear reactors, but given the antinuclear sentiment with the public that will be extremely tough,” Martin Schulz of Fujitsu Research Institute.

India’s Jet Airways shares jump on Etihad deal hopes

Jet-Airways 400MUMBAI: Shares of India’s Jet Airways rose as much as 4.7 percent on Monday to a near two-year high, and were headed for a fifth straight session of gains, on growing expectations that Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways will buy a stake in the carrier.


India’s Mint newspaper reported on Monday, Etihad may decide as early as this week whether it will invest in Jet Airways or Kingfisher Airlines, citing two people familiar with the development who requested anonymity.


Jet declined to comment.


Jet was up 4.3 percent as of 0557 GMT, after earlier hitting its highest since January 2011. Shares have surged 18 percent over the prior four sessions.

Copyright Reuters, 2012
**

Energy, retails shares lead falls on market

Updated December 06, 2012 17:36:54

The share market struggled on a day that saw falls in most sectors, the steepest seen in energy and retail shares.

The All Ordinaries index lost a third of a per cent to close at 4,516, while the ASX 200 closed a quarter of a per cent lower at 4,509.

The mining heavyweights managed gains though; Rio Tinto rose 1 per cent and BHP Billiton rose 0.4 per cent.

But gold miners were under pressure after spot gold prices dropped.

Australia’s biggest gold miner, Newcrest, lost 1.8 per cent to close at $24.10.

The big four banks also closed in the red; the Commonwealth Bank lost 1.2 per cent to close at $60.36 after touching a five-year high yesterday.

The glow of the interest rate cut has worn off the retail sector.

Wesfarmers, the owner of Coles, was one of the only major retailers to rise, closing a third of a per cent higher.

Myer and David Jones both lost more than 1.5 per cent.

Bureau of Statistics figures show there was an unexpected fall in the unemployment rate last month, from 5.4 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

But the result was driven by a fall in the participation rate and all the jobs created in the month were part-time positions.

Shares in the Ten Network remained in a trading halt, as the embattled TV network held its annual general meeting in Sydney.

Ten hopes to raise about $230 million to pay down debt by issuing four new shares for every five current investors hold.

The shares will be offered at a price of 20 cents, well below its last close of 32.5 cents.

Ten shares are down 59 per cent this year.

The Australian dollar jumped against the greenback after the unexpected drop in the unemployment rate.

It had since settled back a touch and about 5pm (AEDT) was buying 104.6 US cents, 80.1 euro cents, 86.3 Japanese yen and 65 British pence.

Spot gold dropped to $US1,689 an ounce, West Texas crude slipped to $US87.35 a barrel, while Tapis crude was worth $US114.10 a barrel.

Topics: markets, stockmarket, currency, australia

First posted December 06, 2012 17:34:24

Fiat shares hit by capital increase rumour

FIAT-building 400MILAN: Shares in the Italian auto giant Fiat plummeted on Friday amid rumours that the group is in talks with banks about a possible capital increase to buy the 41.5 percent of US carmaker Chrysler that Fiat does not already own.


Trading in Fiat shares was suspended for more than half an hour after they slumped by 5.13 percent at the opening of the stock market. At 0950 GMT, Fiat’s share price was down by 4.32 percent at 3.54 euros, while the FTSE Mib index on which they trade was flat overall.


The company was hit by a report in Il Messaggero newspaper which said that Fiat was in talks with four banks — UniCredit, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs — on a possible capital increase worth between one and two billion euros ($1.3 to $2.6 billion) in 2013.


Fiat already owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler and the funds would go to buying the rest of the company, the report said.


The Italian carmaker saved Chrysler from bankruptcy in 2008 and is now hoping that its US partner will return the favour, raising enough funds through sales in North America to balance losses that Fiat is suffering in Europe.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Shares set to extend 17-month high

Updated December 14, 2012 11:29:20

The Australian share market is shrugging off a negative lead from overseas markets, with some strong support coming from retail and bank shares.

At 11:10am (AEDT) the All Ordinaries Index is up six points to 4,599 and the ASX 200 has gained seven points, to 4,590.

The major banks are all higher – Commonwealth Bank is leading the way, up 0.6 per cent, and ANZ has risen by 0.2 per cent.

Shares in Insurance Australia Group are down 1.7 per cent, after the firm announced the sale of its UK operations.

The company expects a $240 million net loss after tax from its UK operations, due to the sale, foreign currency effects and reduced diversification.

But investors are looking past another rise in the iron ore price overnight.

Mining shares are edging lower – Rio Tinto has slipped 0.2 per cent and BHP Billiton has lost a cent to $39.98.

Shares in Caltex are 3.9 per cent higher, after the company flagged a return to profit after last year’s significant loss.

The Australian dollar is fighting back from earlier losses and is trading at around 105.3 US cents.

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

First posted December 14, 2012 11:18:52

GrainCorp shares surge on improved bid

By finance reporter Justine ParkerPosted December 04, 2012 12:07:02

Shares in GrainCorp have jumped after its US suitor increased a takeover offer for the grain handling company to $2.8 billion.

US food giant Archer Daniels Midland is now offering $12.20 a share for the company, which is the last independent grain handler left in Australia.

ADM has also increased its stake in GrainCorp to 19.9 per cent, just under the level at which it would have to make a formal bid for the whole company.

ADM is not without controversy – it has been fined for air pollution violations and was investigated for price-fixing in the late 1990s in a case that was later recounted in the film The Informant.

Around 12:00pm (AEDT) GrainCorp shares were up 40 cents to $12.34.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, food-and-beverage, takeovers, agribusiness, grain, australia

Ten halts shares ahead of capital raising

Updated December 05, 2012 20:54:23

Ten Network has halted trade in its shares as it prepares to raise more capital.

The broadcaster has been struggling, along with most other mainstream media companies, with a tough advertising market and a significant debt load.

Ten shares have slumped almost 60 per cent this year and were last trading at 32.5 cents.

The company already sold shares in June at 51 cents a piece to raise about $200 million in order to give it financial flexibility to pursue new programming while preparing for the maturity of a $210 million debt next March.

It also recently sold its outdoor advertising business for $98 million upfront and $15 million payable in three years if certain conditions are met, saying it was using the proceeds of that sale to pay down debt.

The Australian Financial Review reports that Ten is likely to sell the new shares for around 20 cents each, to raise about $225 million.

Ten has asked for a trading halt until Friday and says it will make announcements around other initiatives at the same time it launches the capital raising.

Ten has a bevy of billionaires as its major shareholders, led by regional television owner Bruce Gordon with 10.2 per cent of the company, mining magnate Gina Rinehart with 10 per cent, Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer both with around 9 per cent.

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

First posted December 05, 2012 13:59:22

Asian shares fall as focus shifts to US budget talks

Tokyo: Asian shares ended a seven-day winning streak on Wednesday and commodities eased as investors fretted that a lack of progress in talks on US budget woes risked putting the world’s largest economy into recession, dragging down global growth with it.


European shares will likely track Asian peers lower. Financial spreadbetters predicted London’s FTSE 100, Paris’s CAC-40 and Frankfurt’s DAX will open down as much as 0.5 per cent. A 0.1 per cent drop in US stock futures also hinted at a soft Wall Street open.


MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 per cent, retreating from Tuesday’s nearly three-week highs, with materials and energy sectors leading the declines.


“The global economy, China, Europe, needs the US economy to grow, and that is why the pressure to get this deal done is greater than before,” said Carl Larry, a derivatives broker at the Houston-based Atlas Commodities. “The global economy can’t afford for America to slip back into a recession.”

Article continues below


Shares in resource-reliant Australian eased 0.2 per cent, off Tuesday’s two-week highs as top miners fell on weaker gold prices.


Australia’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said


committed investment in major resources and energy projects, the main driver of Australian growth, still rose to A$268.4 billion ($280.5 billion) at October 31 from A$260.8 billion at end-April, but the rise partly reflected higher project costs and masked a fall in the number of projects. A fall in commodity prices due to a drop-off in Chinese demand also weighed on shares.


“Markets don’t really provide any sort of compelling investment value here at present because the grey cloud of uncertainty still overhangs the economic climate, in particular across Europe and the US, but also filtering into this part of the world as well,” Jamie Spiteri, senior dealer at Shaw Stockbroking, said of Australian shares.


US stocks slid overnight after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed disappointment over little progress in dealing with the approaching “fiscal cliff” of deep cuts in government spending and big tax hikes early next year.


The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.9 per cent to its lowest in nearly four years as growth-sensitive sectors sank, extending losses after closing on Tuesday below 2,000 points for the first time since January 2009.


The weak Chinese stock market, along with doubts over the US ability to resolve its fiscal crisis, strengthened demand for sovereign debt, helping to push the 10-year Japanese government bond futures price to a 9-1/2-year high of 144.79, while US Treasuries clung to gains made on Tuesday.


Japan’s Nikkei stock average slumped 1 per cent, after closing on Tuesday at a seven-month high.


The Nikkei had risen 8.8 per cent over the past two weeks since the government announced a December 16 election. Japan’s main opposition party is forecast to win power, and investors expect it will force the Bank of Japan into aggressive easing.


Europe lacks confidence


Tuesday’s agreement by international lenders to cut Greece’s debt offered relief that it has averted an imminent bankruptcy, but uncertainty remained over the lack of details on how Athens will carry out budget reforms to meet its new debt targets as analysts cited the deal as falling short of addressing medium-term financing and debt sustainability issues.


“The uncertainty brought by this approach makes European assets, including the euro, vulnerable to global growth risks. For that reason, we think the European muddle through amplifies the market’s response to the fiscal cliff discussion in the US,” Barclays Capital analysts said in a note.


The euro fell 0.2 per cent to $1.2924, after peaking at $1.3010 on the Greece news on Tuesday, its highest level since October 31.


Worries over the fiscal crisis overshadowed positive US economic data that showed improvement in durable orders, the real estate sector and consumer confidence, which hit a 4-1/2-year high in November.


The dollar dropped 0.3 per cent against the yen to 81.85 . US crude futures were steady around $87.16 a barrel while Brent edged up 0.2 per cent to $110.13. London copper dropped 0.4 per cent to $7,776 a tonne.


Spot gold inched down 0.1 percent to $1,739.40 an ounce after slipping on Tuesday for a second session.


Southeast Asia kept some hopes that the damage to their economies may be contained from global growth deterioration triggered by the prolonged euro zone debt crisis.


Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, sees annual economic growth in the fourth quarter at 5.9-6.3 per cent, while the Philippine economy picked up more than expected in the third quarter, with the government expecting the economy to surpass its 2012 full-year growth target of 5-6 per cent.


Investors were sidelined in Asian credit markets, keeping the spreads on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment-grade index little changed from Tuesday’s levels.


PrintEmail a friend More from Markets DFM index ends lower, ADX ends marginally higher SEC’s Walter to follow ally Schapiro’s policy Asian shares fall as focus shifts to US US not to name China currency manipulator

Shares rise as Greek debt deal nears

Posted November 27, 2012 11:07:20

The share market is rising in early trade, shrugging off weak leads from the United States and Europe overnight.

Australian shares have built on gains during the first hour of trade, after it was reported that European leaders have agreed the key terms of a new Greek debt deal.

The All Ordinaries Index was 0.4 per cent higher at 4,460 just before 11:00am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 index had gained a similar amount to 4,443.

The major miners are lifting the overall market – BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were both up around 0.7 per cent.

Telstra was seeing an even better rise of more than 1 per cent to $4.27.

Shares in CSL, the world’s second biggest blood product maker, have surged more than 7 per cent to hit a record high of $50.23 after it lifted its full-year profit forecast.

The dollar was stronger, buying 104.7 US cents.

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