Australian Stock Market Report – Midday August 21, 2014
By Tom Piotrowski, CommSec Market Analyst | August 21, 2014 2:21 PM EST
ASX 200; Gains continue to build
The Australian share market has continued to build on recent gains on Thursday. The positive tone in early trade was informed by gains on Wall St overnight which stemmed from the release of the minutes from the most recent US Federal reserve meeting. The minutes suggested that FOMC members had been encourage by recent developments in the US economy, particularly in the jobs market. A the same time members indicated that more evidence was required before an increase in interest rates was warranted. The ASX 200 started the session with an improvement of 10 points at the open. At the best levels of the morning session the market was ahead by 45 points. As lunchtime loomed the index was trading up by 23 points or 0.4 per cent. Most sectors traded with gains in recent hours.
A pedestrian, holding his mobile phone, walks past an electronic board showing the stock market indices of various countries outside a brokerage in Tokyo August 6, 2014. Japanese stocks dropped to a 2-1/2-week low on Wednesday morning, hit by a sharp slide in SoftBank Corp after its U.S. subsidiary Sprint Corp abandoned its bid to acquire T-Mobile U.S. Inc. REUTERS/Yuya Shino (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS)
Thursday has been another busy day for company reports featuring names such as AMP (AMP). The wealth management group reported it had increased its underlying profit 16 per cent to $510 million for the six months to June 30, up from $440 million a year ago. Net profit, which includes one-off items, was down three per cent to $382 million due to accounting-related losses. The wealth management business recorded a 16% gain in profit to $183 million aided by improving investment markets. AMP announced an interim dividend of A$0.125 a share, up 8.7% on a year ago.
Property group Mirvac (MGR) has leveraged the buoyant conditions in the Australian property market to triple full year profit. MGR reported a net profit of $447 million for the year to June 30, an increase of $140 million on last year. The result was affected by writedowns to development projects. Operating profit, which excludes one-offs, was up 16 per cent to $438 million. The company expects to lift earnings by as much as 12.3 cents per share in 2015 financial year. Mirvac paid dividends of nine cents per share for the year, up from 8.7 cents per share in 2012/13.
ASX Ltd (ASX) reported that full-year earnings rose 10% reflecting more companies listing on the exchange. The reported 107 IPOs in the last financial year, upsubstantially from the year before when the new listings were limited to 82 companies. The ASX recorded net profit of $383.2 million over the year to June, compared to $348.2 million a year before. The result was modestly below estimates by most analysts whose expectations averaged $387 million.
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