5:00 PM Sydney – Australian indexes closed higher led by a rise in banks and insurance companies. Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a $320 million assistance package for drought affected farmers. Lend Lease first-half profit declined 16% but offered positive outlook.
Australian investors focused on domestic news and earnings.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a $320 million package for farmers in Queensland, New South Wales. Farmers’ incomes have plummeted after the two-year long drought.
The federal government assistance will include $12 million for emergency water infrastructure scheme and $10 million for feral animal control and $10.7 million for psychological crisis support program.
Australian dollar fell to 90.11 U.S. cents and in stock market trading turnover jumped to 866 million shares worth $5 billion.
The ASX 200 index closed edged up to 3.20 to 5,437 and the broader All Ordinaries fell to 3 to 5,447.
Stocks in Review
Rio Tinto slipped 93 cents to $68.62. BHP slid 28 cents to $39.10. Woodside Petroleum Limited fell 33 to $37.66.
Westpac decreased 15 cents to $33.42.
AGL Energy Ltd
slid 0.2% to $15.95 after the gas and electricity producer said revenue in the first-half ending in December fell 2.6% to $4.84 billion a year ago period.
Profit in the period plunged 27.1% to $261 million compared to $358 million a year earlier.
The electricity retailer said it is confident that the company has addressed concerns that a $1.51 billion deal to buy more power assets might stifle competition.
Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd
jumped 3.2% to $51.39 after the travel agency reported revenue in the first-half ending in December soared 15% to $1 billion from a year earlier.
Net profit in the year surged 20.7% to $111 million from a year ago.
The company also estimated full-year pre-tax earnings between $370 million and $385 million, between 8% and 12% growth in underlying profit.
Pact Group Holdings Ltd
declined 4.5% to $3.40 after the packaging products maker revenue in the first-half ending in December rose 0.2% to $567.6 million from $566.6 million a year ago.
Net profit in the period dropped 4% to $21.7 million compared to $22.6 million
dropped 2.7% to $10.39 after the property investment company reported revenue in the year ending in December jumped 7.4% to $2.39 billion.
Net profit in the year dropped 6.7% to $1.60 billion compared to $1.72 billion and diluted earnings per share jumped to 22.53 cents from 11.91 cents a year earlier.