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The only way is up?

The S&P/ASX 200 index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) managed to briefly break through the (apparently) psychologically important 4,400 level, before settling back at 4,383.4 at the close, a rise of 0.4%. The Reserve Bank of Australia said today that domestic economic growth has overshadowed a weak global outlook.

The Australian dollar has risen against the US dollar, and is currently buying 104.9 US cents.

Company News

Hasting Diversified Utility Fund (ASX: HDF) has today accepted APA Group Limited’s (ASX: APA) $1.4 billion cash and shares offer, after a lengthy takeover battle with Pipeline Partners Australia (PPA). PPA pulled out of the battle yesterday.

Oil and gas producer, Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) has reported a 6% fall in half-year net profit to US$107.5m, due to increased costs. The company is collaborating on ExxonMobil’s US$15.7 billion PNG Liquefied Natural Gas project, and expects it to commence production in 2014.

Meanwhile, DuluxGroup Limited (ASX: DLX) has extended its takeover offer for building products group Alesco Corporation (ASX: ALS). Alesco shareholders now have until  the 11th September to accept Dulux’s offer. It may also give the two companies time to agree on any further incentives for shareholders, in the way of additional franking credits.

Winners and Losers

From the top 50 stocks, Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL) climbed 2.5% to $36.00, while Brambles Limited (ASX: BXB) and Toll Holdings Limited (ASX: TOL) both rose 2.3%.

Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) was the worst performer, falling 2.7%, while Iluka Resources Limited (ASX: ILU) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) also posted falls.

The Foolish bottom line

Results from local companies appear to be better than expected, for the most part. Could this be the turnaround many, including us here at the Motley Fool, have been expecting?

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned. 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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