Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange (ASX) at the close on Thursday:
BOQ – BANK OF QUEENSLAND LTD – up 51 cents at $19.40
The bank has posted a 40 per cent increase in annual profit, breaking the $100 million mark for the first time, and says it’s well positioned for the future.
The bank declared revenue for the 2006/07 financial year of $500 million, up 30 per cent on the previous year.
MIS – MIDWEST CORPORATION LTD – up 42 cents to $4.90
MMX – MURCHISON METALS LTD – up 31 cents to $5.49
Takeover target Midwest has urged shareholders to take no action on Murchison’s $986 million hostile bid announced on Wednesday.
The iron ore producer and explorer said it wants an opportunity to assess the merits of any offer before it responds in detail or makes a recommendation.
Murchison expects to lodge a bidder’s statement by the end of next week.
QAN – QANTAS AIRWAYS LTD – up two cents to $5.97
Qantas has assured shareholders that a delivery delay on its new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners will not damage its earnings forecasts.
Chief executive Geoff Dixon said Boeing advised Qantas that the 15 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery between August 2008 and December 2009 would all be delivered by the 2009 date.
The aircrafts have been earmarked for use on international routes for Qantas’ economy carrier Jetstar.
Qantas, who will implement a short-term contingency plan in the meanwhile, said there was no reason to change its earnings forecasts.
Compensation negotiations will be held with Boeing, Mr Dixon said.
TTS – TATTERSALL’S LTD – up three cents to $4.13
Tattersall admits the loss of its instant lottery licence will cost it 15 per cent in sales, but maintains the change won’t affect its bottom line.
The Victorian government decided to split the state’s lotteries licence, awarding 10-year terms to both Tattersall’s and Greek-based gaming company, Intralot.
The move breaks Tattersall’s 54-year monopoly of the market.
Tattersall’s chief executive Dick McIlwain said the loss of scratchies and some other lottery games would have “probably no impact” on profits.
Mr McIlwain said Tattersall’s earned only a small margin on scratchies.
TVL – TRAVEL.COM.AU LTD – down two cents to 62 cents
WEB – WEBJET LTD – down 0.5 cent to 153.5 cents
WTF – WOTIF.COM HOLDINGS LTD – up 21 cents at $5.62
Online travel agency Travel.com.au’s board has dropped its support for Webjet’s original takeover offer as it considers both Webjet’s sweetened proposal and a rival bid from Wotif.
Travel.com.au said it had withdrawn its recommendation of the original offer, as “the board unanimously considers the revised proposals from Webjet and Wotif to be superior”.
PSA – PETSEC ENERGY LTD – up 24 cents to 163.5 cents
Petsec has doubled its oil and gas reserve portfolio, with the acquisition of US oil and gas reserves worth $US110 million ($A122.82 million).
The Sydney-based company, which has operations in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore Louisiana, is acquiring seven onshore and offshore gas fields from privately owned US oil and gas company LLOG Exploration Company LLC.
Three gas fields in the eastern Gulf of Mexico are currently producing and are close to Petsec’s Main Pass and Mobile Bay gas fields.
Three onshore gas fields in Louisiana are currently producing and a fourth is expected to commence production late this year.
Under the agreement, Petsec will have a majority working interest in all but one of the fields and will become the operator of two of the three offshore and two of the four onshore fields.
NCM – NEWCREST MINING LTD – down 45 cents to $28
Gold producer Newcrest Mining Ltd has completed the retail component of its $2 billion capital restructure, raising more than $2 billion.
Newcrest issued about 20.9 million new shares under the retail entitlement offer and associated bookbuild, in an effort to close out the company’s gold hedging contracts, repay a gold loan, reduce debt and gain more exposure to the spot gold price.
Newcrest’s move follow a similar initiative by Lihir Gold Ltd to exit its gold hedging position and gain better exposure to the gold price.
$A closes higher, above 90 US cents
The Australian dollar closed higher and above 90 US cents on Thursday for the second time this week, after the domestic jobless rate fell to a 33-year low.
Breaking finance news
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Aust dollar ends above 90 US cents, spikes to new high later
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Kimberley Diamonds finds first pink diamond at Ellendale
SYDNEY, Oct 11 AAP 7:01PM Kimberley Diamond Co NL has discovered the first pink diamond at its Ellendale project in Western Australia.
Monaro and Uranium King plan merger to form $100m uranium firm
PERTH, Oct 11 AAP 6:50PM Uranium King Ltd plans to merge with fellow junior uranium explorer Monaro Mining NL, to create a new company worth about $100 million.
Tattersall’s scratching makes room for Intralot (Update)
MELBOURNE, Oct 11 AAP 6:52PM Tattersall’s has lost its monopoly on Victorian lotteries, with the state government allowing a new player to run the scratchies trade.
Monaro and Uranium King plan merger to form $100m gp(Update)
PERTH, Oct 11 AAP 6:51PM Uranium King Ltd plans to merge with fellow junior uranium explorer Monaro Mining NL, to create a new company worth about $100 million.