View in Other Languages Australischen Markt Bericht der 20. Februar: Erneutes Zeichen einer tiefere Rezession 2月20日澳洲股市:衰退加深的新信号 2月20日澳洲股市:衰退加深的新信號 オーストラリア市場レポート 2月20日:深刻化する不況の新たな兆候 Australian Market Report of February 20: Refreshed Sign of Deeper Recession 2월20일 호주 시장보고서: 깊어지는 경기침체의 징후 تقـريـر سـوق أسـتراليــا الـمالـي 20 شباط / فبراير : مؤشرات حديثة على تعمق الكساد  
Refreshed Sign on Deeper Recession
Refreshed Sign on Deeper Recession

Sydney, Feb 20, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight US market closed at six-year lows after the Labor Department said that the continuing claims for unemployment benefits rose to a record high at almost 5 million, a refreshed sign the recession is deepening. Worries over the fate of major banks also weighed down the market.

The Australian shares ended higher yesterday on the back of some better-than-expected earnings reports. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 35.7 points, or 1.1%, to 3448.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 31.1 points or 0.9% to 3398.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The Reserve Bank of Australia showed in its monthly bulletin that it sold a net A$383 million in the spot foreign exchange market in January. The central bank also bought a net A$467 million from the government during January.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed vehicle sales fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.1 per cent in January, after 1.7 per cent increase the month before. Total new vehicle sales fell 16.9 per cent on a year before.

Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens said today the central bank has further "ammunition" to lower interest rates if needed.

M&A News

Gloucester Coal (ASX:GCL) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) plan to merge to create a company with a market capitalization of about A$900 million. Whitehaven shareholders are offered one Gloucester share for every 2.45 Whitehaven shares held.

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) is widely tipped as the group most likely to grab Woodside Petroleum's (ASX:WPL) stake in the Otway project, as Origin is cashed up and hungry for gas. Origin currently holds 30.75 per cent of Otway.

Important Corporate News

Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) (ASX:HTA) has reported the net loss for calendar 2008 was A$163.10 million, compared to the loss of A$285.1 million made in 2007. The company says its market share has increased despite very tough competition in the mobile market.

Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) said it expects its first-half normalised cash net profit to be at least 25% higher than its previous result. The earnings report is to be released in April.

City Pacific (ASX:CIY) said the Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has agreed to extend for a year A$203.5 million in debt owed by the property financier and its main mortgage fund.

Minara Resources Ltd (ASX:MRE) reported a net loss of A$19.8 million for the year to December 31 2008 compared with a profit of A$270.5 million in 2007.

Billabong International (ASX:BBG) has booked a 7.1 per cent decline in first half profit to A$82.4 million. Earnings per share for the six months to December 31 fell 7.4 per cent to 39.9 cents per share.

Lihir Gold Ltd (ASX:LGL) reported the net profit for the 2008 calendar year was $A170.1 million, compared to a loss of $A37.5 million in 2007. The company also forecasts a further improvement in 2009.

Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX) today reported a 95 per cent fall in annual profit to A$34 million from A$646 million. The oil refiner will not pay a final dividend after delivering a significant drop.

Macquarie Infrastructure Group (ASX:MIG) booked an A$1.27 billion loss for the half-year to December 31 after writing down the value of its toll roads by A$1.5 billion.

Perth based exploration company Emergent Resources Limited (ASX:EMG) has released the results of its flagship Beyondie Magnetite Project. The company said the Beyondie project is developing to be a world class Western Australian magnetite project with potential for a long life iron ore operation.


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

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