Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 2/24/14

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | February 24, 2014 3:12 PM EST

MID-SESSION REPORT
(12.10pm AEDT)

The Australian share market is moving higher for the seventh session in a row, despite falls on global markets on Friday.

Reuters
An office worker is reflected in the window of the Australian Securities Exchange building displaying the ASX50 curve for Wednesday in central Sydney August 7, 2013.

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At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is firmer by 0.3 per cent to 5463.

Telstra (TLS) is one stock heading backwards, as the company trades without rights to its 14.5 cent per share dividend. TLS shares are lower by 14.5c at lunchtime to $5.105.

Elsewhere, Transfield Services (TSE) shares are up 19 per cent to 94.5c after announcing to the market it has received a Letter of Intent from the Commonwealth for a $1.2 billion contract to provide protection and welfare services over a 20 month period at Australia's offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

In reporting season news, energy firm Caltex (CTX has reported a 28 per cent slide in full year profit to $332 million in part due to the impact of the falling Australian dollar. Taking out the effect of fluctuating oil prices, FY profit came in at $530 million. CTX will pay a fully franked final dividend of 17c per shares. CTX is up almost 2 per cent at lunchtime in the East.

Bluescope Steel (BSL) has swung to a first half profit of $3.7 million, compared to a $23.8 million loss this time last year. Record low interest rates in Australia helped the result, boosting demand for steel used in the building of new homes.

Telecommunications company M2 Group Limited (MTU) has reported record revenue and earnings in the first half, with net profit up 26 per cent to $30.9 million. The company will pay an interim dividend of 11.5 cents per share, up 15 per cent on the prior period. MTU shares are a little weaker at $6.61.

So far on the market, 833 million shares have changed hands, worth $2.1 billion.

The Australian dollar is weaker, buying US89.71c.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
An office worker is reflected in the window of the Australian Securities Exchange building displaying the ASX50 curve for Wednesday in central Sydney August 7, 2013.
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