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Resilient to Bad Leads
Resilient to Bad Leads
Sydney, Feb 25, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight the US key indexes rallied as the stocks were oversold in the previous trading session and investors were waiting for a catalyst from US President Barack Obama's speech.

Yesterday the Australian shares were showing their resilience to the bad leads from overseas. The market ended with a modest drop after a rebound from the early losses. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 ended down 0.6%, or 19.6 points, at 3331.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index also fell 0.6%, or 19.1 points, to 3285.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

Last September nearly 700,000 part-time workers in the country considered themselves "under-employed" because they either wanted full-time work or an increase in their hours, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It was a sharp increase over the 368,000 part-time workers who wanted more work in the corresponding period in 2007.

Today the ABS will release its December quarter labour price index and data on construction work done.

M&A News

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) last night signed a deal to allow one of its key customers, China's Hunan Valin Iron & Steel, to grab a 16.5 per cent stake in Fortescue. Valin will have additional offtake and a seat on the Fortescue board, but no rights to marketing or representation on management committees.

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has agreed to acquire a A$2.25 billion portion of Wizard Home Loans' portfolio from GE Money.

Important Corporate News

Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) has reported a 57.4% fall in profit to A$26.1 million for the December half year, compared to A$61.2 million in the previous corresponding period. The company also cut its interim dividend to nine cents, from 37.5 cents.

Rail and ports operator Asciano Group (ASX:AIO) said its net profit attributable to shareholders was A$106.9 million for the July to December period, up from A$98.8 million in the year earlier period.

APN News & Media (ASX:APN) has made a net loss in 2008 of A$24 million before one-off items which included a large writedown on its New Zealand assets. Net profit before significant items was A$140.1 million.

Macquarie Airports (ASX:MAP) has reported an 87 per cent increase in profit for fiscal 2008 to A$2.07 billion, up from A$1.1 billion in fiscal 2007. But it forecasts a challenging year ahead, particularly in Europe.

Babcock & Brown Wind Partners Group (ASX:BBW) has posted a net loss of A$88.4 million in the half year to December 31, 2008, compared with a previous A$4.4 million profit.

Multiplex Prime Property Fund (ASX:MAFCA) has posted an interim net loss of A$38 million. The fund says it's considering selling its interest in a number of Sydney and Melbourne office blocks to reduce debt load.

Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) posted a net loss of A$465.9 million in the six months ended December 31, compared with a net profit of A$284.9 million for the first half of last year.

WorleyParsons Ltd (ASX:WOR) has booked a 30 per cent rise in first half profit to A$197.5 million, up from A$152.7 million in the prior corresponding period. The company says it expects to report "good growth" for the full year.

Pacific Brands Ltd (ASX:PBG) has delivered a net loss for the half year ended December 31 to A$149.956 million, compared to a profit of A$57.02 million in the previous corresponding period. It will axe 1,850 jobs from its manufacturing and administration operations.

NIB Holdings Ltd (ASX:NHF) announced a net profit of A$2.07 million in the half year ended December 31, compared with a net loss of A$7.63 million for the same period of last year.

Macarthur Coal Ltd (ASX:MCC) said its net profit in the six months ended December 31 was A$106.94 million, a 692 per cent increase from A$13.5 million for the first half last year.

Seven Network (ASX:SEV) reported an 84.1 per cent fall in first half profit, after writing down the value of its investments due to declines in financial and advertising markets.

AGL Energy (ASX:AGK) has posted a rise in net profit for the six months to December 31. It was A$1.65 billion, compared to an A$22.9 million loss in the previous corresponding period. The energy retailer also says it is on track to meet its full-year guidance.


Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344

Related Companies

WorleyParsons Limited         
Seven Network Limited         
Pacific Brands Limited          
NIB Holdings Limited        
Multiplex Prime Property Fund        
MAp Group         
Macarthur Coal Limited         
Goodman Group       
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd          
Flight Centre Travel Group Limited        
Commonwealth Bank of Australia        
Babcock and Brown Wind Partners      
Asciano Group          
Apn News & Media Limited        
AGL Energy Ltd         

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