JB Hi-Fi profit slips but shares on the rise: Midday roundup

Shares in electronics chain JB Hi-Fi have risen after the company reported a higher profit than expected, although its earnings actually fell during the 2011-12 year.

The company’s shares have risen as much as 6.7% to $9.56.

The move comes as a shock to short sellers who made JB Hi-Fi one of the most highly shorted shares last week.

The company recorded a profit of $104.6 million during the year, down by 4.61% from the previous year.

However, its same-store sales dropped by 1%, and chief executive Terry Smart said they expect that number to drop by another 1%.

“Our market share continues to grow with new stores performing well and online sales growing strongly,” he said in a statement.

“Challenging trading conditions have driven competitors with higher cost bases out of the market, enabling JB Hi-Fi to continue to grow both its store network and market share.”

“We are very well-positioned for any rebound in consumer spending.”

Total sales were up by 7% to $3.13 billion.

Commercial finance rises in June

Business lending rose in June, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The latest figures show total business finance commitments rose by a seasonally adjusted 2.4% to $31.6 billion, compared to a downwardly revised $30.26 billion in May.

Personal finance rose by 1.9% to $7.51 billion, while lease finance fell 2.9% to $549 million.

Housing finance for owner occupiers rose by 1.2% to $13.8 billion.

Shares higher after positive US lead

The Australian stock market has opened higher after Wall Street closed in positive territory over the weekend.

At the official market open, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.76% to 4310 points and the All Ordinaries index increased 0.73% to 4334.4 points.

Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said Wall Street had given a strong lead to the Australian market.

“In technical terms the S&P/ASX 200 index is in a clear uptrend,” he said.

“The next hurdle for this trend would be to exceed last week’s high at 4330 and beyond that resistance at around 4350.”

Westfield, AMP talk split

Westfield has confirmed it is in talks with financial services company AMP about a possible splitting of their shopping centres.

“The ongoing negotiations involve the existing portfolio of assets in which the AMP (including AMP managed funds), Westfield Group and the (Westfield Retail) Trust have various ownership interests, however no binding arrangements have been entered into between the parties,” Westfield said in a statement.

“A further announcement will be made if these negotiations do result in a binding arrangement between the relevant parties.”




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