Housing finance increases during June: Midday roundup

Demand for home finance grew during June, although it came in under economists’ expectations, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show the number of home loans granted during June rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.3% to 46,859, up from the upwardly revised 46,280 in May.

The figures were initially expected to show a 2% increase.

Total housing finance rose by 2.4% to $20.724 billion.

Stockland shares decline after profit falls 35%

Shares in Stockland have fallen 3.5% this morning to $3.39 after the company announced a net profit of $487 million – down by 35% from last year.

Revenue and other income dropped 20.8% to $2.2 billion.

The company said the result was due to several factors, with managing director Matthew Quinn saying the current trading environment remained challenging.

“We have managed prudently in response to the current environment with conservative balance sheet management, sharpened focus on understanding our customers, delivering innovative products that meet their needs and executing our strategy to position our business for future growth,” he said.

“We have retained relatively low gearing and tight control of costs, and have undertaken significant restructuring to improve our efficiency in FY13.”

Shares rise on more offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened slightly higher this morning following another lead from offshore markets, as Wall Street continues to bet on whether the Fed will release more stimulus.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 27 points or 0.6% to 4319.5 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar remained at $US1.05.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 51 points or 0.4% to 13,168.6.

Computershare profit falls in 2012

Computershare has announced its full-year profit has dropped 40.7% to $156 million compared to the previous corresponding period.

The company said revenue from continuing operations reached $1.8 billion, up 12.6%.

“Looking to FY13 and having regard to the current equity, foreign exchange and interest rate market conditions, the company expects management earnings per share to be between 10 per cent and 15 per cent higher than in FY12,” the company said in a statement.

S&P cuts Greek outlook to negative

Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Greece’s long-term credit rating to negative.

“We see the likelihood of shortfalls, owing to election-related delays in the implementation of budgetary consolidation measures for the current year, as well as the worsening trajectory of the Greek economy,” S&P said.

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