AFTERNOON REPORT (5pm AEDT)
The Australian share market managed only a small win today. No local economic data was released but a raft of companies held their Annual General Meetings (AGM) while the Australian dollar was well supported ahead of tomorrow's key inflation numbers. After reaching an intra-day high of 4588.7pts, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed higher by 3.4pts or 0.1pct to 4568.
Men watch the stock board at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in central Sydney
There were some heated moments at the AGL Energy (AGK) AGM, where shareholders against the development of coal seam gas in New South Wales heckled the board while anti-coal seam gas protestors gathered outside. AGK shares closed down 1.7pct to $14.70 after the company announced its profit could be sliced by up to $60 million because of recent pricing decisions in Queensland and South Australia.
Things were a lot calmer at the Wotif.com (WTF) shareholder meeting, the company announcing it expects strong demand for overseas travel due to the strength of the Australian dollar. Shares in WTF rose 16.4pct to $4.90.
Insurer IAG (IAG) maintained its full year guidance at its AGM, saying it's on track to deliver improved insurance margins of 11-13pct thanks to a steady first quarter performance. IAG shares rose 0.7pct today to $4.57.
Billabong (BBG) CEO Lorna Inman has backed her brand, snapping up 59,000 shares in the company last week. BBG shares today gained 3pct to $0.855.
Oz Minerals (OZL) says it remains on track to meet its full year guidance, despite posting a fall in copper and gold production in the September quarter. OZL shares today rose 2pct to $8.45.
Shares in the Ten Network (TEN) rose almost 2pct to $0.305, with private equity firm Champ offering a reduced $110 million for outdoor advertising business EyeCorp. The new bid is 24pct lower than the company´s original offer price of $145 million.
Elsewhere financial stocks were general firmer, while the energy sector eased by 0.7pct and utility stocks were down 0.8pct.
On the market overall, a total of 1.62 billion shares were traded, worth $3.98 billion. 498 were up, 447 were down and 380 were unchanged.
The Australian dollar ended the day's session a little weaker, ahead of key inflation data due out tomorrow. Annual CPI is tipped to come in around 1.5pct. The Aussie was worth US103.18c at 5pm AEDT, €79.08c and £0.6444.
At 5pm AEDT, the SFE 200 Futures was at 4532, down 1pt.
There is no major economic data scheduled for release in the US tonight.
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