Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 2/14/2013

  @ibtimesau on February 14 2013 4:16 PM

MIDDAY REPORT (12pm AEDT)

Local stocks are managing to hold onto yesterday's impressive gains in the early session, despite US blue chip stocks easing overnight. The NASDAQ however closed firmer while European markets were lifted by upbeat corporate results.

Yesterday the ASX200 (XJO) closed at its highest level since September 2008. At lunchtime in the East, the XJO is at 5007.8pts, up 4.1pts while the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 9.8pts to 5034.

Later this afternoon, Rio Tinto (RIO) will release its full year result, the market expecting a US$9B profit.

Coles owner Wesfarmers (WES) has lifted its first half profit by 9.3pct to $1.29B and will pay an interim dividend of 77c per shares. WES shares fell 0.6pct before the result was released to $38.21 and will resume just after midday in the East.

Financial stocks are pulling back a little after strong gains yesterday while the energy sector is up 0.7pct.

David Jones (DJS) has announced second quarter total sales fell 1.4pct and that it will stop selling DVDs, games and music as those categories underperform. DJS shares are down 2pct to $2.63 while Myer (MYR) is lower by 3.7pct to $2.58.

There's been a big spike in Alumina (AWC) shares today after the Chinese investment firm CITIC took up a 13pct stake for $425M which will help Alumina pay down debt. AWC shares are firmer by 11pct at lunch to $1.3325.

Engineering firm Downer EDI (DOW) has seen first half net profit rise 11pct to $94M, while underlying profit rose 24pct to $105.5M. DOW has also forecast a FY profit $210M and will pay an interim dividend of 10c per share. DOW did not pay a dividend this time last year. Its share price has risen 10.3pct to $5.36.

The Australian dollar is worth US103.55c, £0.667 and €77.03c.

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