EVENING REPORT (5pm AEDT)
The Australian share market has closed slightly firmer today, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) adding 12.8 points or 0.2 per cent by close to 5373 points. The market had a volatile session, with the All Ords being down to 5351 points at one time, despite positive offshore gains.
Retailer David Jones (DJS) issued its 1H numbers to the market today. DJS posted a 1H profit of $70.1 million, down 4.6 per cent on the prior corresponding period. The result came despite stronger sales in the period, with DJS attributing the fall in profit to lower earnings from its financial services division following changes to its agreement with in-store card provider American Express. A 1H dividend of 10c per share was declared. The result was slightly better than some in the market had expected, but DJS shares closed down 0.3 per cent to $3.32. Rival Myer (MYR), which comes out with numbers tomorrow, rose 0.4 per cent to $2.66.
Property developer Stockland (SGP) paid $435.3 million for 115 million shares or a 19.9 per cent stake in Australand Property (ALZ). SGP shares fell 2.6 per cent to $3.75 while ALZ was up 2.3 per cent to $3.98.
Online travel agent Wotif.com (WTF) was asked to explain its recent run up in share price to the ASX today after a large volume of shares were traded on the open. WTF said it was not aware of any reason for the high volume or lift in its share price but did mention senior management are meeting with investors this week. WTF shares rose 23 per cent to $3 today.
Shares in Mark Bouris's Yellow Brick Road (YBR) gained 17.3 per cent to 61c after the company announced a restructure and flagged three potential acquisitions within the financial services industry.
And despite many investors dumping their Qantas (QAN) shares in the wake of the airline's $252 million loss announced in February, US investment giant Franklin Templeton Investments has revealed it has lifted its stake to 17.5 per cent through the purchase of 3.4 million shares since late last month. QAN added 0.5 per cent to $1.09 today.
2.4 billion shares changed hands today, worth $6.9 billion. 479 were up, 467 were down and 370 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures market was at 5357, up 9 points.
Ahead tonight, the US Federal Reserve will hand down its monetary policy decision. Current account data is released.
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