Westfield confirms guidance for year ahead: Midday roundup

Retail property giant Westfield has confirmed its full-year guidance for the 12 months head, expecting to report funds from operations worth 65 cents per share.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Westfield said it expects to pay an annual distribution of 49.5 cents.

“For 2013, the group expects to commence between $1.25 billion and $1.5 billion of new developments,” the company said.

Both co-chief executive officers Peter and Steven Lowy said the company is continuing to follow its strategic plan.

“The level of bad debts and arrears across the group for the year to date remain very low and in line with previous years,” Steven Lowy said.

The company confirmed its properties did not suffer major damage from hurricane Sandy.

Producer prices rise in September quarter

Producer prices rose during the September quarter, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The producer price index rose by 0.6% in the three months to the end of September.

The PPI is now 1.1% higher than the previous corresponding period, although analysts had expected that number to be 1.6%.

Shares rise after solid US lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning, following a solid night in the United States where a slew of positive consumer data has boosted stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 8.8 points or 0.2% to 4,466.4 at 11.45 AEST, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 136 points or 1% to 13,232.6.

The good performance comes as consumer data shows shoppers are growing more positive in the United States, just a few days ahead of the country’s presidential election.

Qantas eyes future dividends

Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford has said the company should begin paying dividends again after a four-year break.

The dividends have been suspended as the company has suffered higher fuel prices and a competitive international marketplace.

“The board discusses this matter regularly and seriously, and we will resume dividends at the earliest opportunity,” he said.

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