Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 4/20/2012

By Juliana Roadley, CommSec Market Analyst,

Shutterstock photo

(1pm AEST)

Yesterday the Australian share market improved for the second straight day, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) finishing higher by 14.1 points to 4,441 points.

Overnight European markets closed weaker even with the new that the largely antiscipated Spanish Bond auction did go well. In the US the markets opened weaker and closed lower as investors weighed up weak economic data against good corporate results. The All Ordinaries Index (AOX) started off weaker this morning down by 5points

At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) the index was down 8pts to 4,432 points.

The energy sector was once again in the spotlight after yesterday's production numbers from Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) and Santos Limited ( STO ). Today Oil Search Limited ( OSH ) announced a new gas find near its P'nyang site in Papua New Guinea. Oil Search share prices rallied 5 pct. to $7.35. At lunch Woodside's share price had fallen by 0.37pct. to $34.91 and Santos lifted by 0.36 pct to $14.09.

Bradken Limited ( BKN ) manufacturer of goods for the resources, energy and freight rail industries today issued revised earnings guidance for 2012. Bradken now expects its earnings before income tax (EBITDA) to be between $210 and $220 million and its Net profit after Tax (NPAT) to hit between $95 and $102million. This was because of issues within the rail business pushed costs higher by $16 million and a drop in sales of $35 million in relation to two of its contracts. Bradken's share prices fell 10.8 pct. to $7.54 while its rivals Emeco Holdings Limited (EHL) fell by 0.48pct. And Seven Group Holdings ( SVW ) - through its caterpillar dealership - off a few cents.

Sydney Airport Limited (SYD) released its Sydney Airport March 2012 traffic report this morning. Total traffic increased by 2.5 pct. from the prior corresponding period - March 2011 (pcp), but domestic traffic was down 0.3 pct. (pcp). The result was helped by International traffic up 8.6% (pcp) as the international business created higher revenue and profitability for the company. The earlier timing of Easter and, in some states, school holidays might have boosted numbers overall March traffic. SYD share price started off well but by lunch had lost 1.03 pct. to $2.67.

Yesterday, transport infrastructure business, Asciano (AIO) reached an agreement with the Maritime Union of Australia for container terminal workers across the country. Strike action has already cost AIO over $15 million and lost time with almost two years of negotiations.
Today Asciano's share price fell 0.8 pct by lunchtime.

Woolworths Limited (WOW) today released its third quarter sales results for the 2012 financial year. Sales lifted in the 3rd quarter sales by 3.8 pct. but over the year sales in its food and beverage business were flat. Woolworths reported total sales of $14.07 billion in the 13 weeks to April 1, up from $13.56 billion in the previous corresponding period. Woollies shares off 0.4pct to $25.74, while rival Wesfarmers Limited ( WES ), due to report its quarterly sales numbers next Tuesday, saw its share prices gain 0.4 pct. to $29.48.

The Australian dollar is buying US103.27c and €78.29c.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: BKN , OSH , STO , SVW , WES

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