Despite a positive start, local stocks have turned south at lunchtime in the East, as losses from the big mining players detract from gains elsewhere. Overnight, US stocks rose modestly although volumes were light ahead of US growth numbers being released tonight. European markets also had slight gains, with UK September quarter economic growth figures bouncing by one percent, although these figures were distorted by the effects of the Olympics on the economy. At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 10.6pts or 0.2pct to 4522.9.
The main indicator of the Australian Securities Exchange (bottom R) is seen in red shortly after the local market opened in Central Sydney October 4, 2011. Australian stocks eased 0.6 percent on Tuesday, pressured by falls in global equities markets in a fresh flight from riskier assets, but losses were limited after steep declines on Monday. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (AUSTRALIA - Tags: BUSINESS)
Macquarie Group (MQG) has today released its first half earnings, with cash profit coming in at $361 million. Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 75 cents per share, above expectations. The cash profit was lower than what the market was looking for but investors seem happy to get into the stock for the dividend payment, with MQG up 4.4pct to $31.13.
Coal miner Whitehaven Coal (WHC) has resumed trade, after being halted at the request for more company information from majority shareholder Nathan Tinkler on Wednesday. WHC shares have dropped 4.1pct to $3.07 on a profit downgrade, the company admitting weaker coal prices will hurt its bottom line and it doesn't see a rebound in the coal price anytime soon. WHC says earnings for 2013 could come in as low as $50 million, although it remains hopeful of more demand for coal from China early next year. WHC also says it's working on a CEO succession plan, with Tony Haggarty reportedly wishing to quit. No date has been set for his exit from the company, with WHC issuing a statement saying he remains in the job for now.
Toll Holdings (TOL) has today announced it is hopeful of better FY13 earnings, although the mining slowdown will have some impact on its businesses exposed to the mining sector. TOL says this won't be material for the overall group; its share price slightly lower at $4.24 in early trade.
The Australian dollar has been mainly well supported this week, but is slightly lower ahead of the release of US economic growth figures this afternoon. One AUD is buying US103.5c, €79.88c and £0.6422.
So far, 1.15 billion shares have changed hands, worth $3.3 billion. 353 are up, 369 are down and 303 are unchanged.
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