Rates expected to stay on hold as Reserve Bank meets: Midday roundup

The Reserve Bank is expected to hold steady on interest rates when it meets this afternoon.

According to a survey undertaken by AAP of 15 economists, all said they did not expect the Reserve Bank to move on interest rates.

The RBA last cut rates in June, when it moved the rate to 3.5%. That followed from half a percentage point reduction in May.

Economists say the Reserve Bank will keep rates on hold in order to maintain the possibility for movement later in the year if economic conditions deteriorate.

Leighton posts $115 million profit

Leighton Holdings recorded a swing to profit in the first half of the year, posting a net profit of $114.6 million, following a loss of $625.6 million in the same six-month period last year.

Total revenue for the year was $11.068 billion, 14.4% higher than the previous period.

The construction giant expects to report a stronger operating performance in the second half of 2012 thanks to the completion of the Airport Link Project in Brisbane and progress made on the Victorian Desalination Plant.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 20 cents.

Cochlear’s profits fall 68%

Cochlear says it has great confidence in its long-term growth prospects, based on the strong fundamentals it sees in the market, despite posting a large fall in its full-year profit.

The bionic ear maker posted a net profit of $56.803 million for the full year to 30 June, a 68% fall on the previous corresponding period.

The result was heavily affected by a voluntary recall late last year of one of Cochlear’s hearing implant ranges.

Cochlear recalled its Nucleus CI512 implant range in September. The costs of the recall reached $101.336 million.

Sharemarket opens higher on rate speculation

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning after strong offshore leads on hope the European Commission may do more to help relieve the financial crisis in the region.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 16 points or 0.4% to 4288.6, while the Australian dollar remained at $US1.04.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 21.3 points or 0.2% to 13,117.5.



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