David Jones sales rise in first quarter: Midday roundup

David Jones has reported a 0.3% increase in sales during the first quarter, compared with the previous corresponding period in 2011.

In the 13 weeks to October 27, sales rose to $415.6 million, in line with analysts’ expectations. But the market took the news badly, with David Jones shares falling 1.17% to $2.54.

In a statement, chief executive Paul Zahra said the result was positive.

“Trading in the first couple of weeks of the second quarter is tracking broadly in line with 1Q13,” he said.

“I have just completed a nationwide store review and am pleased to report that we are well prepared across our stores and our online and mobile business channels, for the all-important Christmas and subsequent clearance periods.”

Zahra also said the new online store is “well-positioned to capitalise on Christmas and the Boxing Day clearance periods”.

Australia falls in Deloitte manufacturing index

Australia has fallen down one spot in Deloitte’s 2013 global manufacturing competitiveness index, and is expected to fall even further.

Australia fell from 15th to 16th on the index, and is expected to fall to 17th as well.

The index notes more competition coming from India and Brazil, which are expected to jump ahead of Germany and the United States in the second and third spots. China maintains its top position.

The index results from a survey of 550 global chief executive officers, including 35 Australians.

“The efficiency of our innovation system and better utilising our highly skilled workforce will be seen as the main differentiating factors for our success in manufacturing competitiveness,” Deloitte Australian manufacturing partner Damon Cantwell said in a statement.

“This would include building more effective bridges between some of the world-class research activity being undertaken at our universities, the CSIRO and CRCs on the one side, and the current and emerging needs of manufacturers on the other.”

Growth to beat long-term trend, leading index reveals

The pace of economic growth in Australia may be above trend in the early part of 2013, the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index has predicted.

The index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months in the future, was at 4.1% in September. This puts the index above its long-term trend of 2.8%.

“Westpac is a little less optimistic than the Index at this stage, with our expectation that growth in the second half of 2012 will be around 2.5 per cent, slightly below trend although we do expect a better outcome in 2013 of 3.5 per cent growth,” Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said in a statement.

“Next year the economy will still be benefiting from a surge in mining investment although our expectation is that the spending peak will be around year end or early in 2014.”

Shares flat on weak Wall Street

The sharemarket has opened flat today, following weak leads from the United States where remarks from the Federal Reserve did not indicate any future economic assistance.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 1.9 points or 0% to 4383.8, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.4 points or 0.1% to 12,788.5.



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