5:30 PM Sydney – Aussie dollar continue to gain for the third day in a row and market indexes turned higher after morning weakness. Construction activities eased 0.2% and wage costs rose 0.6% in the fourth quarter. Seven Group net plunged 74%. Westfield swung to a loss on a decline in revenues.
Australian market indexes turned higher after morning weakness and a private survey showed better than expected conditions in manufacturing sector in China.
On the domestic economic news, construction data was in-line with expectations set by economists but wage costs increase was ahead of expectations.
Seasonally adjusted total value of construction work done in fourth-quarter dropped 0.2% to $50.347 billion, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported today.
In a separate report, the department said seasonally adjusted wage costs in fourth-quarter jumped 0.6%, unchanged from third-quarter.
Australian dollar closed at 78.85 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover increased to 988 million shares worth $6.3 billion.
ASX 200 Index gained 17.90 or 0.3% to 5,944.90 and broader All Ordinaries Index rose 18.60 to 5,908.60.
In commodities trading, gold increased US$3 to US$1,208 an ounce and light crude oil fell 17 cents to US$49.28 a barrel.
Brent crude rose 12 cents to close at US$58.78 a barrel.
Australian Stock Movers
Charter Hall Group
climbed 4.5% to $4.90 after the property developer said total revenues in the first-half ending in December jumped 15.6% to $93.80 million form $81.15 million a year ago period.
Net profit in the period surged 39.6% to $39.92 million compared to $28.60 million and diluted earnings per share advanced to 11.15 cents from 9.05 cents in the same period a year ago.
Retail Food Group Limited
soared 15.3% to $7.54 after the food processing company reported revenues in the first-half ending in December surged 24.7% to $97.44 million form $78.17 million a year ago period.
Net profit in the period climbed 24.4% to $21.48 million compared to $17.26 million and diluted earnings per share increased to 14.5 cents from 12.9 cents in the same period a year ago.
Seven Group Holdings Ltd
climbed 10.8% to $6.85 after the diversified investment company said total revenues in the first-half ending in December declined 11.4% to $1.40 billion form $1.58 million a year ago period.
Net profit in the period tumbled 74% to $69.2 million compared to $264.7 million and diluted earnings per share dropped to 18 cents from 81 cents in the same period a year ago.
The company forecasted underlying EBITDA for the year to decline between 10% and 15% but maintained its dividend.
Separately today, the media company also announced share buyback up to $100 million.
Southern Cross Media Group Limited
surged 18.2% to $1.11 after the broadcasting company said revenues in the first-half ending in December declined 7.3% to $307.58 million form $331.87 million a year ago period.
Net profit in the period plunged 21.3% to $38.15 million compared to $48.46 million and diluted earnings per share decreased to 4.9 cents from 6.5 cents in the same period a year ago.