The Australian sharemarket rose slightly today for the fourth
consecutive day. Four straight sessions of gains is something the
market has not accomplished since the end of November last year.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) edged higher by 0.1 pct or 3.9 pts
Part of the reason for the gains is the latest HSBC Flash
Manufacturing Index which was released at 1.30pm (AEDT) and
showed a slight improvement in China's manufacturing
Most sectors improved at least modestly today, with the energy
sector the standout after improving by around 1.7 pct.
Australia's second largest oil and gas producer, Woodside
Petroleum (WPL) gained 2.53 pct or 91 cents to $36.86 despite
posting a relatively unimpressive full year profit result of
US$1.5 billion. This was a 4.3 pct drop in earnings compared to
2010. Revenue rose strongly by 14.5 pct to $4.8 billion and the
dividend improved by 4.7 pct to $1.10 for the full year.
One of the reasons for WPL's share price strength today was
the fact the oil and gas producer re-affirmed production guidance
for 2012. Expectations are for a significant increase in volume
compared to the previous year.
Transfield Services (TSE) issued a $43.6 million profit in
1H12 (July to December 2011). This was largely in-line with
market expectations. TSE provides services to a number of
industries, including the mining and transport sectors. The
Sydney based business said that earnings and margin growth were
driven by improved results from its core Australian and New
Zealand operations, which accounted for 75% of its total revenue.
The company was created around 55 years ago by two Italian born
It reiterated that it expects profit to be between $130
million and $135 million for the full year. TSE will be paying
out a $0.05 a share dividend to eligible shareholders on April
24, which is in-line with market forecasts. TSE shares are up
12.3% (not including today´s price movements) this calendar year
and have greatly outperformed the broader market. TSE fell 0.83
pct or 2 cents to $2.40.
Australian based biopharmaceutical company, CSL Limited (
) reported a 3.4% drop in 1H12 (July to December 2011) profit to
$483 million. The result was a little lower than market
expectations however the blood products and vaccine maker
delivered an increase in revenue, a higher dividend and upgraded
its profit expectations by 3% for 2012. Sales in the U.S
accounted for 42% of global revenue, Europe made up 32%, while
Australia contributed 10% to total sales.
CSL will now start announcing its profit results in U.S
dollars. The company creates products used to treat patients with
bleeding disorders, infections and other diseases. It is the
world´s second largest plasma manufacturer. A $0.36 a share
dividend will be paid to eligible shareholders on April 13. CSL
shares are down 3.2% this calendar year (not including today´s
price movement) and have underperformed the broader market. CSL
shares rose 2.49 pct or 77 cents to $31.72.
The four major banks improved today, with ANZ Banking Group
(ANZ) up 0.64 pct or 14 cents to $22.14, Westpac (
) rose by 0.53 pct or 11 cents to $20.77, Commonwealth Bank of
) gained 0.34 pct or 17 cents to $49.64 and National Australia
Bank (NAB) edged higher by 0.21 pct or 5 cents to $23.45.
Out of Europe last night, markets lost a little ground despite
Greece receiving a €130 billion bailout package to ease its
financial stress for the mean time. Greece is in its fifth year
of a recession, Note that Germany's DAX index has improved by
over 17 pct this year while France's CAC40 is up by close to 10
Tonight, France and Germany will both be releasing their
latest manufacturing readings while the minutes from the British
central bank's latest board meeting will also be out.
In the U.S tonight, a report on the number of existing homes
sold last month will be released. The market is expecting a
slight rise in home sales.
The volume of shares traded came in at 2.01 billion today,
worth $4.93 billion. 513 shares were up, 479 were weaker and 367
At 4.30pm AEDT on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the ASX24
futures contract is up 0.12 pct or 5 pts to 4278.
Due to daylight savings, most major European markets are now
trading between 7pm (AEDT) and 3.30am (AEDT). Futures in Europe
are pointing to a stronger start to trade tonight.
Dow Futures are currently higher; indicating that U.S stocks
could open in the black tonight. American markets open at 1.30am
(AEDT). Due to the Americans going back an hour on November 5
last year, U.S markets will be trading between 1.30am (AEDT) and
Turning to currencies, the Australian dollar (
) buys US106.7 cents and is weaker than this time yesterday. The
AUD is currently trading at £67.5 pence and €80.6 cents.
Steven Daghlian, CommSec Market Analyst
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