MIDSESSION REPORT (12.30pm)
On Friday night the fear and volatility index (the VIX) fell 17% from its highs on Thursday as the concern over Geopolitical risk started to reduce around the downed Malaysian Airlines flight 17 and the news Israel had sent ground troops into Gaza. On Friday US markets rebounded and finished higher the Dow Jones up 123 points and the NASDAQ up 69 points.
Today the Australia stock market started off higher up around 17 points but by lunch the gains were limited as we saw the banks and retailers starting to slide back. The ASX 200 was up 7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 8.2 points. Even with the early come back, rebound, in commodity prices in Asian trade, with US$ gold adding US$1 an ounce to US$1,314 an ounce and NYMEX oil in electronic trading up a little to US$102.91 a barrel.
The media sector all abuzz after The Australian newspaper today reported that Gina Rinehart, is considering full takeover bid for the remaining shares of Fairfax Media (FXJ) that she does not already own. Mrs Reinhart currently owns nearly 15% of FXJ and the company share price rallied 2.75% on the talk, but the company did not release any statement on the rumours. Ten Network Holdings Limited (TEN) also higher, up 0.89%
Property firm Australand Property Group (ALZ) today released its half year results till the end of June 2014. ALZ reported an operating profit after tax of $80.8Million, up 30% (Y/Y), with a statutory result was a net profit after tax (NPAT) of $131.5 million up by nearly 49%. ALZ will pay out to shareholders a distribution of $0.1275 per share. Australand also said it expects to meet its Full year 2014 earnings guidance even the current Frasers Centrepoint $2.6B takeover offer does not go through. ALZ share price off 0.22%, while Dexus Property Group (DXS) lifted 1.08% and GPT Group (GPT) added 0.39%.
Natural gas infrastructure firm, APA Group (APA) today announced its Joint venture plans to build a new gas transmission pipeline that will supply in the eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia. APA has entered an agreement with AngloGold Ashanti Australia Limited (AngloGold Ashanti) and Independence Group NL (30%). The estimated capital cost for the project will be $140Million and the completion date has been set as "prior to January 2016 when gas transportation services are due to commence". APA share prices lifted by 0.42%
Today we have seen the release of the CommSec - State of the States for July 2014. Our state & territory economic performance report showed that since our latest report, in April 2014, there has been no change in the rankings of States and Territories on the economic performance table. There are basically three groups. Western Australia remains Australia's best performing economy from the Northern Territory and NSW. The next grouping is Queensland, Victoria and the ACT. And the final grouping is South Australia and Tasmania. Western Australia leads the way on retail trade and housing finance. The Northern Territory leads the way on economic growth, business investment, unemployment and construction work. And NSW is strongest on population growth and dwelling starts.
The Australian dollar has seen little action in early trade ahead of Chinese manufacturing data out later this week and our own CPI inflation numbers for the June quarter due out on Wednesday, the AUD/ USD level now at 0.9388.
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