Markets Live: BHP dumped, Wesfarmers splurges

Challenger’s funds management business, which includes its boutique incubator arm Fidante Partners, saw $2. 1 billion in inflows. “Our funds management division more than doubled its earnings over the last two years, and with $50 billion in unfilled investment capacity, we’re now one step closer to our ultimate ambition of becoming a top five Australian fund manager,” Mr Benari said. Challenger shares are 3. 1 per cent higher at $7. 95. 10:28am: Logistics giant Brambles has reported a 5 per cent rise in full-year underlying profit to $US960. 1 million as new business in the core pallets division drove stronger revenues.

The Reject Shop declared a fully franked final dividend of 8. 5 cents per share, with a record date of September 26 and payment date of October 13. 9:36am: Coca-Cola Amatil is facing its second consecutive year of lower earnings after first-half net profit fell as weaker sales in convenience stores and petrol stations and supermarket pricing pressure crunched margins in its earnings engine room, the Australian beverages business. Net profit fell 15. 6 per cent to $182. 3 million in the six months ended June 30 from $215. 9 million in the year-earlier period, the company said.

The Dow Jones Internet Composite Index is at the highest since March after tumbling nearly 20 per cent after investors sold off the best performers during the five-year bull market amid concern valuations had become too expensive. 9:03am: Local shares are set for a flat open ahead of a fresh round of corporate earnings including Wesfarmers, Woodside Petroleum and Coca-Cola Amatil, while eyes will turn to BHP shares when trading opens after shares in the miner fell nearly 6 per cent in London overnight. • SPI futures down 8 points, or 0. • AUD at 93 US cents, 95. 74 Japanese yen, 69. 85 Euro cents and 55. • On Wall St, S&P 500 +0. 5%, Dow +0. 5%, Nasdaq +0. • In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 +0. 6%, FTSE +0. 6%, CAC +0. • Spot gold down 0. 3% to $US1295. • Brent oil down 0. 1%s to $US101. • Iron ore slips 0. • US July advance retail sales, US FOMC meeting minutes. • EU June industrial production, UK July jobless claims. • Results are expected from Brambles, Wesfarmers, Coca-Cola Amatil, Challenger, Woodside Petroleum (interim), Fortescue Metals Group, Fletcher Building, TradeMe, APN News and Media, Ausenco, APN News & Media, AGL Energy, Challenger Financial, Seek (interim), Aveo Group, Southern Cross Media, ROC Oil (interim), Charter Hall Retail REIT, Webjet, The Reject Shop, Decmil Group, Cedar Woods Properties. • AGL may look to raise $1. • • In LondonBHP Billiton’s shares fell 5. 9pc to 1965 pence.

BHP promised on Tuesday to continue with its progressive dividend policy if the merger goes ahead, in a plan the company says will amount to a higher payout ratio given the smaller size of the group. ”That in itself is quite a generous piece of cash return, and of course there’s the share (in the demerged entity) itself, which people can monetise or hold onto if they believe in its future,” he said. 9:07am: Online travel group Webjet has reported a 195 per cent rise in full-year earnings to $19. 1 million, driven in part by an improvement in its Zuji business.

The capital raising comes after Challenger unveiled a 7 per cent rise in normalised net profit of $329 million for the year to June. The company posted $3. 38 billion in total annuities sales during the year, and a 28 per cent rise in retail annuity sales to $2. 8 billion.

The net profit result was ahead of consensus forecasts of around $177 million, while the 15. 3 per cent drop in EBIT was in line with the company’s profit warning in April, when new chief executive Alison Watkins warned that June-half earnings would fall 15 per cent and said that 2015 would “not be an easy year.

Stocks rallied today as retailers led gains on better-than-projected earnings while data showed inflation pressures remain limited and housing starts jumped. The Nasdaq added 0. 4 per cent, its fifth straight day of increases, to the highest level since 2000. The Dow Jones rose 80. 9 points, or 0. 5 per cent, to 16,919. 6, still 219 points from its record. Apple jumped 1. 4 per cent to close at an all-time high. “The market has come back strong this week in a repeat of what we’ve seen throughout the bull run, the ability to motor through geopolitical events,” Tim Rudderow, chief investment officer Pennsylvania-based Mount Lucas Management, said. “Today’s numbers were solid but not spectacular, and that’s perfect in an environment where really robust economic growth would not be positive.

At Tuesday’s closing price of $20. 04, it just off a 12-month high of $20. 22 hit the day prior. 9:43am: Discount retailer The Reject Shop has posted a 25. 6 per cent slump in full-year net profit to $14. 5 million, in line with an earnings warning delivered earlier in the year, with like-for-like store sales for the first six weeks of the new financial year also in decline.

Read more here: SMH


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