Australian Market Report
The Australian share market closed lower on Friday ahead of the release of US labour market data. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 26.9 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 4299.4, while the broader All Ordinaries index dropped 27.9 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4303.1. Both indices rose 1.3 per cent for the week. Analysts expect the gains would extend this week over the signs of long-term global economy recovery.
Key Economic Facts and Figures
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the Australian government's stimulus measures were boosting activity during global economic crisis. But the IMF also sees room for further stimulus, if needed. The IMF said the easing of monetary policy had been appropriate, and also warned against increasing rates too soon. The fund's annual review of the Australian economy identifies high levels of mortgage debt as the biggest risk it faces over the coming year as Australia's house prices are overvalued by between 5 and 15 per cent.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases on Monday housing finance data for June.
GPT Group (ASX:GPT) chief executive Michael Cameron says the property group has no plans to seek mergers and has no discussion with significant shareholder Stockland (ASX:SGP), in response to the market speculation about a possible merger between the two companies.
It is reported that Australian packaging company Amcor Ltd (ASX:AMC) is close to a deal to buy Rio Tinto's (ASX:RIO) packaging business. Amcor is finalising a US$1.2 billion loan to partially fund its buyout of part of Rio Tinto Ltd's Alcan packaging business, banking sources said. Amcor will release its results next week and flag the sale of some non-core assets.
Film producer and distributor Village Roadshow's (ASX:VRL) major shareholder is working on a proposal to potentially privatise the company. Village Roadshow said it agreed to sell its Greek cinema, film distribution and film production business to a private European investor. The net cash proceeds from the disposal of the business will be about A$80 million, subject to exchange rate movements.
Important Corporate News
BHP Billiton's (ASX:BHP) annual profit is set to fall by about a third in its result on Wednesday, due to a sharp drop in commodity prices, a significant fall in demand and reduced output at its metallurgical coal, nickel and manganese operations. BHP is expected to post a 2008-09 net profit before exceptional items of around $US10.2 billion, down 33.7 per cent, according to a consensus forecast based on 25 analyst projections.
Building and industrial products company Crane Group Limited (ASX:CRG) posted a net profit of A$43.6 million for the year to June 30, compared to A$60.8 million in the previous financial year. Crane said the net profit after tax and before significant items for the year was down 11.6% to A$56.4 million, broadly in line with previous guidance.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX:BEN) said its net profit fell 57.7pc to A$83.8m in the 12 months ended June 30 from A$198.3m for the previous year. The bank is seeking to raise A$300 million in fresh equity after posting a 57.7 per cent plunge in 2008/09 net profit.
Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) has upgraded its annual profit outlook after subsidiary Just Group posted better than expected full year sales. Premier said it expects its fiscal 2009 pre-tax profit to be between A$106 million and A$108 million.
Village Roadshow Limited
Rio Tinto Limited
Premier Investments Limited
Crane Group Limited
BHP Billiton Limited
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited