The Australian share market has come under selling pressure at lunchtime in the East, after Wall Street recorded another session of losses overnight and insurer QBE Insurance (QBE) missed expectations with its earnings result.
Wesfarmers (WES) shares are trading without rights to the company's $1.03 dividend today, sending its share price down three per cent or $1.26 to $39.74.
It's a very busy day on the reporting calendar. QBE Insurance (QBE) has downgraded its premium revenue after posted a 37 per cent drop in 1H NPAT to US$477 million, below expectations. QBE expects premium rates to rise by 4-6 per cent across the rest of FY13 and will pay an interim dividend of 20 cents per share. QBE shares have fallen 6.4 per cent to $15.94.
Steel maker Arrium Limited (ARI) has posted a $694.7M loss due to write-downs and restructuring. ARI also announced it expects the steel market to remain weak in the 1H14 while iron ore prices should remain volatile but elevated. Shareholders will receive a final dividend of 3cps. ARI shares up firmer by 11 per cent in the early session to $1.0925.
Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) has beaten expectations with its 1H result, which was down 12 per cent to $215.9M, however the beverage company has issued at FY13 downgrade. CCL shares are down 3.7 per cent at lunch to $12.26. Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 24 cents per share.
On the market overall, a total of 769 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.78 billion. 311 are up, 401 are down and 255 are unchanged.
The Australian dollar briefly dipped below US91c this morning but is buying US91.07c at lunchtime in the East.
Asian markets are mixed in the early session, with Japan's NIKKEI down 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite flat.
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