Mid Session Report
The ASX 200 has spent the morning consolidating having risen for 5 consecutive sessions. The absence of catalysts from US and European markets last night a flurry of local companies reporting results meant that the index kept to a narrow trading range for most of the morning.
Telstra (TLS) reported a 9.7% rise in net profit after tax to $1.7bn for the half year ended 31 December 2013. The result was just short of the markets expectations for NPAT of $1.8bln, although the result positioned the telco to say it was on track to meet its full year profit guidance. Revenue grew by 3.6% to $12.58bln, helped by the addition of 739,000 new mobile customers during the period. A fully franked interim dividend of $0.145 per share was an announced which represents an increase of 3.6% compared to the same period last year.
The consumer discretionary sector showed no signs of ill effects in the wake of the softer reading on consumer confidence earlier in the week. David Jones (DJS) shares were higher after reporting sales figures. Quarterly sales the three months to January 25 rose by 4.7% to $618.1m. A feature of the report were figures on its new webstore which saw online sales growth of 150%.
The ASX (ASX) announced an 11% rise in its half-year profit helped by an improving atmosphere around new listings. The Exchange operator said net profit increased to $189.6 million in the six months to the end of December, compared to $171.1 million a year earlier. The result was an improvement on the $186 million expected by analysts. Revenue rose 8% to $329.3 million, led by new listings and helped by a new over-the-counter clearing service for interest-rate swaps and other new products
In economic news , the ABS reported that the unemployment rate rose to 6 per cent and that the number of people with jobs fell by 3,700 to 11.460 million in the month of January. Markets expectations turned around a forecast for the unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent in January, with employment growth of 15,000. Full-time employment fell 7,100 to 7.953 million in January and part-time employment was up 3,400 to 3.507 million. The participation rate which measures the number of the population that have a job, or are looking or work or are ready to start work - was steady at 64.5 per cent.´´
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