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Companies manoeuvre to cut costs

The S&P/ASX 200 index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has climbed 23.8 points, or 0.6% to close at 4,143.4, following a 0.5% gain on Wall Street overnight, as investors likely continue to hope for more positive measures from the European Central Bank to reign in Eurozone debt and further stimulus in the US.

The Australian dollar has risen slightly against the greenback, now buying 103.3 US cents, and its highest level against the UK pound in four months, buying around 67 pence.

Company news

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) is set to link up with the world’s largest airline, Emirates, according to a report in today’s Australian Financial Review. Investors liked the news, as it may turnaround the fortunes of Qantas’s loss making international operations. The company’s shares rose 9.6% to close at $1.09.

Food and alcohol retailer Coles has outperformed Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) for the 12th consecutive quarter as Wesfarmers Limited (ASX: WES) announced its retail sales today. Coles’ sales for the year rose by 4.6% compared to Woolworths’ growth of 3.8%.

Caltex Limited (ASX: CTX) has announced plans to close the loss making Kurnell oil refinery, which will result in the loss of 630 jobs. The company will instead import transport fuels (petrol, diesel and jet fuel) and use the existing site as a major import terminal.

One of Australia’s most popular food review sites, Eatability.com has been swallowed by Optus, which is owned by Singapore Telecommunications (ASX: SGT) for $5m. Optus is looking to expand its offering into applications and services to go with its telecommunications products.

And for those of us who can only wish our stocks performed liked this, Sirius Resources NL (ASX: SIR) has risen 689% today to close at 45 cents, after announcing its first, and likely a major, copper and nickel discovery in Western Australia.

Winners and Losers

Apart from Qantas, of the majors Alumina Limited (ASX: AWC) and Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX: LEI) were the best performers, rising 3.9% and 3.2% respectively while Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) was the biggest loser, falling 2.7% today, having now crashed 18% in the last month.

Foolish takeaway

Unless you’re clever or lucky enough to be able to predict the next 690% winner, slow and steady is likely to win the race. Remember the tortoise and the hare, Fools!

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Woolworths. The Motley Fool‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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