Markets Live: Santos boosts payout

It noted that profit before tax in the first quarter was $235,000 compared with $1. 5 million in the latter three months. “Third-quarter transactional business continues the improvement and August is currently running at 25 per cent above the year to date daily average,” the statement said. 9:55am: Wealth manager IOOF Holdings has posted a 27 per cent jump in net profit to $101 million, with underlying net profit beating analyst forecasts on the back of record net fund inflows.

The stock, which had dropped 0. 3 percent this year through yesterday, is now up 3. 8 percent for 2014. 10:36am: Global institutional investors currently regard emerging market equities as the most attractive of all major asset classes, according to an ING survey of 111 institutional investors posted on the FT. “Out of 23 different asset classes, emerging market equities was seen as being the most attractive in terms of risk/return over the next 6 to 12 months, with 37 per cent (of institutional investors surveyed) choosing this,” ING says in a statement. “When asked about the recent underperformance of emerging market assets and how they rate the sector’s chances of recovery over the next three to six months, 16. 7 per cent said it was ‘highly likely’, 42. 3 per cent said it was ‘reasonably likely’ and only 15. 4 per cent said it was unlikely,” the ING statement adds.

Distributions paid to investors are expected to be within the range of 90 per cent to 95 per cent of underlying earnings. “It has been a busy year,” chief executive Steven Sewell said. “We have delivered strong financial results through active portfolio management, continuing conservative management of our debt and a focus on operational and overhead costs. “We also made good progress against our strategic objectives.

Bank of America, which has an ‘underperform’ rating on the stock, says it likes ASX’s dominant market position but points out that earnings per share growth has been elusive for the past three years and return on equity continues to contract. ‘‘We expect the near-term outlook to remain muted given low volatility and downward repricing in the derivatives business, structural pressures in cash markets and stuttering capital raising activity. ASX shares are down 0. 7 per cent at $36. 93 in early trade.

The lift in the interim payout to 20¢ per share came despite a 24 per cent drop in first-half net profit to $206 million. 9:16am: US stocks inched higher overnight pushing the S&P500 to a record high, lifted by data pointing to steady improvement in the economy, as investors awaited the start of a meeting of top central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Dow Jones rose 69. 56 points, or 0. 4 per cent, to 17,048. 69, the S&P 500 gained 4. 34 points, or 0. 22 per cent, to 1990. 85 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3. 65 points, or 0. 1 per cent, to 4,522. 83.

Tough winter weather conditions in the United States during the year weighed on sales volumes, which fell 7. 6 per cent to 11. 8 million tonnes. “The result is a positive improvement over last year in the face of still challenging market conditions.

“Headwinds to revenue growth from recent reductions in derivatives fees, combined with our view that low levels of market volatility will persist for some time to come, see a modest ~3 per cent earnings per share growth outlook for next year while we wait for future revenue opportunities that may be delivered from the last three years of elevated capex,” the broker writes in a note this morning.

Revenue fell 6 per cent to almost $72 million in the half, while expenses narrowed to $70. 2 million from $73. 7 million. “Conditions for the first half of the year remained challenging and despite the market’s price recovery from the February lows, turnover for the most part was flat,” the statement said.

Underlying net profit was up sharply on last year’s result of $15. 9 million, but market conditions continue to challenge the group; revenue fell 0. 9 per cent to $7. 1 billion.

Read more here: SMH

    

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