(IBTimes) - Lunchtime REPORT
It was a wild weekend for investors. The European market
traded higher as no new news was seen as good news, but the US
markets closed down on trouble in the finance sector and Chinese
growth concerns wacked well-known companies. News that the US
banking giant, J.P. Morgan Chase & Company. (JPM.NY) had
disclosed trading losses from one of its derivatives trading
businesses in London, that currently stand at US$2Billion and
could blowout to US$3 Billion, shocked the market. The fact that
this could happen to JP Morgan, the bank that has long been seen
as the most stable and well managed bank in the US, rattled both
large and small banking stocks on Friday. JPM.NY share price fell
over 9%, while Citigroup (C.NY) came off 4.2% and Goldman Sachs
(GS. NY) was down 3.9%.
On Saturday the news flow was both good and bad, unfortunately
it does look like none of the smaller political parties in Greece
can agree to unite to form a coalition government and this could
mean that Greeks will go back to the polls. This news has led to
new speculation that Greece will leave the European Union and
return to using Drachma s its local currency within the year. At
this stage this is only speculation but many economists now
believe this would be the best way forward for the country.
Also on Saturday the Chinese Government it was easing monetary
policy again by reduced its bank capital reserve ratios for the
3rd time in 6 months and the 2nd time this year. The Chinese
central bank cut ratios by 50 basis points, and this means it
will free up approximately US$20 billion for new lending power
for the banks. This helped Australian markets open higher this
morning, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) up 7 points at the
open of trade. By lunchtime the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) the
markets had lost ground and the index was only up 1 point at
noon, with reduced gains in all sectors.
The banking sector, the S&P/ASX 200 Financials sector was
up 0.13% in early trade. This did not really reflect the gains in
the sector because Westpac Banking Corporation (
), off 3.13% of $0.70 to $22.01, after the company went
ex-dividend today at $0.88 cents a share. Commonwealth Bank of
) added over 1% to $52.35. National Australia Bank Limited's
(NAB) lifted by 0.77% to $24.73. Australia and New Zealand
Banking Group Limited (ANZ) was up nearly 1% to $22.00, and QBE
Insurance Group Limited (QBE) added another 1% to $13.25.
Explosives and fertiliser producer and distributor, Incitec
Pivot Limited (
) released its first half year profit to the end of March 2012.
Pivot's Net Profit after Tax (NPAT) fell 13% to $143.5 million,
hit by lower returns in its fertilisers division. While the
companies explosives division continued to improve listing a 21%
increase in earnings over the period. Incitec Pivot´s share price
increased by 2.85% to $3.25, one of the most highly traded shares
in morning trade.
Dulux Group (
) today released its first half year result to the end of March
2012. The company said its NPAT fell 1.6% to $47.9 million, hit
by weak demand and higher costs. The company is confident about
the 2nd half of the year. Dulux's CEO said " he expects its
full-year adjusted net profit to be higher than the $77.6 million
it reported last year, but it was dependent on economic
conditions and excluding costs associated with the Alesco bid.
Dulux launched a, $188.4 million, bid for building products
company, Alesco Corporation(ALS) on the 1st of May. Dulux shares
fell 0.66% per share to $3.01 while Alesco's share price was also
lower down 0.5% to $2.05.
Commodity prices lost more ground on Friday and the gold and
oil price have continued to fall in early Asian trade today. The
US$ oil price is now at US$95.47 a barrel, just off its 2012 low.
But expectations that the Chinese economy should get a boost from
the ease in monetary policy helping keep investors positive,
Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) added 0.575 to $33.68 and Origin
Energy Limited (ORG) and Oil Search Limited (OST) also
Base metal prices were mixed in the London Metals Exchange
(LME) on Friday night. Today the S&P/ASX 200 Materials sector
had lost 0.15 % by lunchtime. Rio Tinto Limited's (
) share price lost 0.44% to $60.80. BHP Billiton Limited (BHP)
slightly higher at $34.40 and Fortescue Metals Group Limited
(FMG) gave back 0.3% to $5.37.
Elsewhere, Lend Lease limited (LLC) shares lifted over 1 % to
$7.58, after the construction firm's "Abigroup" secured part of
the contract to build the new Victoria rail network from the city
to the Maribyrnong River, the deal is worth 750 million. Leighton
Holdings Limited's (LEI) subsidiary "John Holland" also won part
of the deal, worth $570 million for Leighton. LEI share price
came off 1.8% to $7.56.
Telstra Corporation Limited (TLS) regained some ground this
morning up 0.69% to $3.63. Also, Sydney Airport (SYD) higher at
$2.95 while rail operator QR National Limited (QRN) off another
1.4% to $3.45.
The Australian dollar (AUD) was unchanged over the weekend but
this morning after the news that the Greek government looks less
likely to form a sold government over the next week and could be
force to leave the euro if the troubles continue the AUD fell.
The AUD hit a low of 0.9996 in morning trade. The AUD is
currently trading at US$ 100.05 and €77.66 cents.
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