The Australian share market has started the day's trade on a
positive note, after the US Dow Jones Index closed above the
13,000 point level overnight for the first time since May 2008.
In early trade, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 27.7pts or
0.6pct to 4378.9.
Financial stocks are moving higher by 0.6pct, with shares in
the National Australia Bank (NAB) the strongest out of the big
four, up 1.2pct to $23.56.
Among mining stocks, BHP Billiton (
)is supporting the materials sector, firmer by 1.3pct in early
trade to $36.23.
Australia´s largest electrical retailer Harvey Norman (HVN)
has today reported a 2pct fall in first half earnings. Net profit
after tax for the six months to December 31 2011 came in at
$128.95 million, above expectations, however analysts say the
result was overstated due to a tax benefit. Investors have
responded poorly to the result, in part due to a dramatic 6pct
fall in like for like sales in the period. HVN has blamed price
deflation, strong competition, falling consumer sentiment and the
high Australian dollar for the result. Earnings were also
impacted by the closure of seven Clive Peeters and Rick Hart
stores, coupled with the transition of re-branding another 18
stores to the Harvey Norman and Joyce Mayne franchises. HVN has
already flagged the restructure (sale) of the Dick Smith Brand,
but says it is positioned for growth in Slovenia and Croatia. HVN
is also building a new homemaker centre in Maroochydore,
Queensland. Shareholders will receive a 5c interim dividend,
below expectations and the previous payment. HVN shares are down
6pct in early trade to $2.03.
In the energy sector, WorleyParsons (
) has also reported today, coming in with an 18pct rise in first
half profit to $152 million. WOR shares are down 3.4pct in early
trade to $28.79.
The Australian dollar is stronger; at US107.98c, £0.6783 and
Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst
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