Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 2/3/14

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | February 3, 2014 2:36 PM EST

MID-SESSION REPORT
(12pm AEDT)

The February reporting season has started and is set to showcase how Australian companies have fared over the first half of the financial year.

Reuters
Wall Street (Photo: Reuters)

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Despite a weak lead from Wall Street on Friday night, where the US Dow Jones Index fell almost 150 points, our market is flat in early trade.

January was not a great one for local stocks, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) lower by almost three per cent in the month, the worst start to a calendar year for stocks since January 2010. Wall Street had its worst January since 2009.

In company news, electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi (JBH) has kicked things off, announcing a 10 per cent lift in 1H profit to $90.3 million. Shareholders will receive a fully franked dividend of 55c per share, up from 50c a year ago. JBH shares are firmer by 2.2 per cent to $18.41 in early trade.

Meanwhile apparel and homeware retailer Country Road (CTY) announced a first half profit of $38 million, in line with expectations while earnings per share rose 42.5 per cent to 36.6 cents. CTY will pay a first half dividend of 17.9c per share, fully franked. Its shares rarely trade and are steady at $4.83.

In economic news, the TD Securities Inflation gauge rose just 0.1 per cent to be up 2.5 per cent over the year. The trimmed mean measure was flat in January.

Building approvals fell 2.9 per cent across Australia in December.

On the market overall, a total of 688 million shares changed hands, with an estimated value of $1.1 billion. 327 were up, 408 were down and 290 were unchanged.

At 11.50am AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5142, down one point.

The Dow Jones Futures Index was at 15,630.

The Australian dollar is buying US78.68c.

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Wall Street (Photo: Reuters)
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