4:30 PM Sydney – Australian indexes gained and the Aussie dollar eased to a new eight-week low. Optus Telecom said aggressive cost cutting lifted quarterly net by 33%. Virgin Australia launched $350 million equity offering. James Hardie net doubles of U.S. sales improvements. Bega Cheese Sweetens WCB offer.
Australian market indexes gained 0.7% after latest comments from Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen suggested monetary stimulus will remain in place in the near future.
Banks led the gainers today and selling off in the previous session.
Australian dollar eased to 93.52 U.S. cents. In stock trading, turnover dropped to 731 million shares worth $4.2 billion.
The ASX 200 index gained 36.20 or 0.7% to close at 5,355.40 and the broader All Ordinaries jumped 34.50 to 5,352.
Stocks in Review
Rio Tinto increased 50 cents to $65.13. BHP rose 19 cents to $37.82. Woodside Petroleum Limited slipped 25 cents to $38.64.
Westpac climbed 38 cents to $32.65.
Bega Cheese Limited
dropped 2.8% to $4.45 after the dairy products maker raised its takeover bid for Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co. The company offered 1.5 shares and $2 cash per Warrnambool share valuing at $8.87 per share or about $496 million.
Bega said its offer is unconditional unlike the conditional Murray-Goulburn offer based on approval from Australian competition regulators. Bega Cheese already holds 18% stake of Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory.
BlueScope Steel Limited
climbed 6.2% to $5.29 after the steel producer estimated underlying net profit for the second-half of $19.7 million.
The company highlighted positive contribution from a weaker Australian dollar and said despite the low interest rate business conditions remain challenging.
slid 0.1% to $12.19 after the grain supply chain reported EBITDA declined to $395 million from $414 million and net profit-after-tax dropped 15% to $175 million compared to $205 million a year ago.
GrainCorp board declared fully franked final dividend of 20 cents per share payable on December 16.
Reef Casino Trust
dropped 3.6% to $3.86 after the hotelier surged above 40% yesterday on a takeover offer from Chinese tycoon Tony Fung valuing the company at $276 million.
Virgin Australia Holdings Limited
closed unchanged at 40.5 cents after the Australia-based airline company plans to raise $350 million through an equity offering supported by key shareholders Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines.
The offering will sell five new shares for every 14 shares held on November 19, each priced at 38 cents.