Seek profit rises 26.5% to $60.6 million: Midday Roundup

Online job listing site SEEK has reported a record first half profit of $60.6 million, up by 26.5% from the previous corresponding period, mostly due to growth in Australian employment, and its Chinese arm.

Shares rose 35 cents or 6.1% to $6.05 after the announcement was made.

Revenue from its employment business was up 15% on the previous corresponding period at $122.8 million, the company said, while total revenue was up 31% to $209 million. A dividend of 8.3 cents has been announced.

SEEK chief executive officer Andrew Bassat said the figure was a record result.

“The SEEK group is well positioned across each of Domestic Employment, SEEK International and SEEK Education to grow earnings strongly over the medium- to long-term,” he said.

In more good news for investors, Zhaopin, a Chinese website in which SEEK holds a 56.1% interest, posted revenue growth of 39%.

At yesterday’s annual general meeting, SEEK shareholders heard net profit for the six months to December 31 was up from $1.6 million to $17 million, and would continue to grow significantly this year.

Super Retail first half profit rises 40%

Super Retail has defied downbeat retail conditions, reporting a 40% jump in first half profits, with plans to open new stores in the second half of the financial year.

The company’s net profit rose to $34.9 million for the six months to December 31, from $24.9 million in the previous corresponding period.

Total income and other revenue were up $194.4 million.

Super Retails owns the sports and leisure chains Amart All Sports, BCF (Boating Camping and Fishing), FCO (Fishing Camping Outdoors), Goldcross Cycles, Ray’s Outdoors, Rebel Sport and Supercheap Auto.

The company said the results were aided by new products, improved store presentation and inventory management.

Super Retail announced an interim, fully-franked, dividend of 13 cents per share, up 13% on the previous first half.

Economic outlook still weak, leading index reveals

The outlook for the Australian economy improved during the end of 2011, according to new data from Westpac.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which measures the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months in the future, was 2.3% in December, up from 1.8% in November.

But the index remains below its long-term trend of 3%. The coincident index, which indicates current activity, fell to just 2.5% in December from 2.8% in November.

“There was a loss of momentum over the second half of last year with the growth pulse heading into 2012 materially below trend,” Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan

“That said, the index is pointing to sub-par growth rather than a more pronounced weakening.”

Shares lower despite Wall Street lead and Greek bailout deal

The Australian sharemarket has opened lower this morning despite a positive lead from Wall Street, where stocks broke the 13,000 point mark for the first time in years, along with the confirmation of a new Greek bailout.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 5.6 points or 0.1% to 4285.6 at 12.10 AEST, while the Australian dollar was trading at $US1.06c.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15.8 points or 0.1% to 12,965.7.

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