Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 2/17/14

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | February 17, 2014 1:34 PM EST

MID-SESSION REPORT
(12pm AEDT)

The Australian share market has started the trading week on a positive note, after gaining 3.5 per cent over the course of last week.

Reuters
A man is reflected in a window as he walks past the indicator boards at the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney August 11, 2011.

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At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is firmer by 0.2 per cent.

On Friday in the US, markets recorded solid gains as investors ignored weak economic data and took a more positive view on equities.

On our market, most of the banks are moving higher, with the exception of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). Its share price has fallen 2.2 per cent to $74.35 as it pays out a $1.83 per share dividend.

Global manufacturer Bradken Limited (BKN) is also trading without rights to its 15 cent per share dividend.

Engineering and property services group UGL (UGL) has increased its first half profit by 13.5 per cent to $29.5 million while revenue rose 5.6 per cent to $1.99 billion. UGL says it has received takeover offers for its DTZ property services business and will not pay an interim dividend in order to preserve cash. UGL shares fell 5.7 per cent today to $6.675.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (BEN) lifted its first half profit by almost 10 per cent after lower funding costs helped improve its margins. Cash profit came in at $185.9 million, up from $169.7 million a year ago. Lower funding costs helped lift the bank's margins. BEN shares rose 1.2 per cent at lunchtime to $11.86.

Health and safety protection maker Ansell (ANN) shares are down 5 per cent to $18.34 after admitting currency fluctuations hurt its 1H profit.

On the market overall, a total of 817 million shares changed hands, worth $1.8 billion. 514 were up, 300 were down and 300 were unchanged.

At 12pm AEDT the Aussie was buying US90.46c.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A man is reflected in a window as he walks past the indicator boards at the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney August 11, 2011.
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