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ASX Hot Stocks: Virgin Australia, WorleyParsons and Wesfarmers

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has closed higher, gaining losing 0.3% to 5,180. The miners made headway on Friday, the big losers on the day being the Australian dollar, trading as low as 97.5 U.S. cents, gold and retailers after a profit warning from Target.

Here’s why these three stocks are hot or not right now…

Massive conglomerate Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) closed down 2.9% today at $42.93, after issuing a profit warning for its chain of Target stores. The struggling chain’s full year earnings could drop by as much as 43% on lower sales, discounting to clear excess inventory, a rise in shoplifting, and restructuring costs. In a release, Wesfarmers said it expects the chain to post operating profits between $140 million and $160 million for the full year versus the $244 million it posted the previous fiscal year.

WorleyParsons (ASX: WOR) joined many of its mining services brethren in posting losses on the back of earnings downgrades over the past week or so. Today was Worley’s turn, its shares falling $2.79 or 12.5% to $19.50 on the back of a euphemistically titled ‘Trading Update’. The company’s ‘West Australian business’ (read: mining services) was blamed for the earnings downgrade, with profits now forecast to be below last year’s $346m underlying profit, compared to previously issued guidance predicting an increase. When miners sneeze, mining services come down with a serious case of the flu.

Virgin Australia Holdings’ (ASX: VAH) shares rebounded 10% today to end at 42 cents, after spilling 17% on Thursday. Australia’s second largest airline is experiencing turbulence after unveiling disappointing earnings guidance for the second half. Airlines are typically places where capital goes to die, so long-term investors may want to steer clear and leave this one to wanna-be stunt pilots.

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