Nufarm shares plummet over 14% after poor profits result: Midday roundup

Shares in Australian manufacturer of agricultural chemicals Nufarm dropped over 14% this morning, following the announcement its first-half profits fell 53.3%.

Nufarm managing director Doug Rathbone said at a market briefing on Wednesday, after the stock market had closed, the business was impacted by seasonal weather conditions.

“We are an ag[riculture] business, and therefore we are exposed to seasonal and climatic conditions. But from the crop protection demand perspective, the season in Australia has been exceptionally bad,” he told Fairfax.

The company’s net profit fell to $8.4 million in the six months to January 31, 2013.

Its shares had fallen 14.05% to $4.10 at 11.55am.

Slight rise in Melbourne monthly inflation rate

The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge has increased by 0.2% in March, following a flat February and a rise of 0.3% in January.

In the 12 months to March, the inflation gauge has risen 2.1%, the lowest annual inflation rate for eight months.

TD Securities head of Asia-Pacific research Annette Beacher said in a statement by the end of 2013 she expects inflation to remain in the lower half of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 2-3% target band.

“We expect headline inflation to increase by 0.5% in the quarter, to be 2.6% higher than a year ago, while we forecast underlying inflation to increase by 0.45% in the quarter, for an annual rate of 2.4%,” she says.

The overall change in March was influenced by seasonal price increases of alcohol and tobacco and general price rises for clothing and footwear. The gains were offset by falls in the costs of fruit and vegetable, household appliances and audio-visual and computing equipment.

Shares fall on open

Australian shares are once again hovering just below the 5,000 mark, as the sharemarket opened weaker this morning, with falls in the banking, energy and retail sectors.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 8.3 points to 4986.7 at midday.

The energy sector was down 92.4 points to 13,230.1 and consumer staples were 90.1 points lower at 9,921.3.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 33.49 points down last night at 14526.16.

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