Australian stocks closed lower.
Here’s today’s scoreboard:
- S&P ASX 200: 4,882.10 -27.94 -0.57%
- All Ordinaries: 4,938.40 -23.19 -0.47%
- AUD/USD: 0.7089 -0.0023 -0.32%
The Australian market went back to negative territory after two sessions of gains. The ASX 200 is still up 2.4% this week but down 7.8% since the start of 2016.
Oil prices fell overnight but Wall Street rose with the S&P 500 up 1.7%.
On the local market, energy stocks led the market lower, dropping more than 4% as a group.
Bank stocks were mixed and the big miners lost ground.
NAB was up more than 2% to $25.52 but the Commonwealth was down 0.37% to $72.33.
BHP shed 3.68% to $15.98 and Rio Tinto 2.5% to $42.11.
Among the avalanche of company results today:
Stem cell treatment biotech Mesoblast, reporting a $35.5 million half year loss on revenue up 2% to $11.5 million, closed 1.1% higher at $1.365.
Lend Lease, posted a 12% rise in profit to $353.8 million, gained 4.65% to close at $12.84.
Woodside Petroleum, with a full year profit of $US26 million, down from $US2.414 billion, lost almost 7% to close at $27.49.
Coca-Cola Amatil, reporting a 4.8% rise in full year underlying profit to $393.4 million, rose 4% to close at $8.80.
The top stories Wednesday:
1. The word from treasurer Scott Morrison. Brace for lower growth.
2. No ceiling to demand for infant formula. a2 Milk Company profits for the half year are up almost 800% to $NZ10.1 million as sales of the a2 Platinum infant formula, seen in Asia and China as clean and safe, exceed expectations. Its shares closed 2.6% higher at $1.92.
3. Delivery in 10 minutes. Domino’s Pizza net profit jumped 56.7% to $43.3 million in the first half as it quickly expanded its brand of fast food in Australia and the rest of the world. Its shares closed 6% higher at $55.52.
4. Earthquakes and asbestos. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which last year bought into Australia’s IAG, has been helping the insurance group limit its exposure to claims. IAG shares fell 1.3% to $5.18.
5. There’s money in getting old. Primary Health Care, whose earnings were threatened by limits on Medicare rebates for pathology tests, has turned around its profit outlook to the positive. Its shares surged 20% to close at $2.65.
6. On track. The ANZ bank posted a 4% rise in December quarter cash profit to $1.85 billion with an improvement in its institutional business but with subdued corporate borrowing. Also read: ANZ is being hit by deteriorating credit markets in Asia. ANZ shares closed down 0.56% to $23.14.
7. Saving money from discounts. The Reject Shop has returned to growth, today posting a 43% rise in half year profit to $18.3 million. Its shares jumped 23.7% to $12.50.
8. Löwenbräu Keller. One of the most popular places for a beer in Sydney is changing its name after 40 years in the business.
9. Road test. A beast on the track and joy on the road, the Audi R8 is a supercar for the modern gentleman.
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