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Wednesday afternoon market update

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has remained relatively flat in today’s trading, falling marginally below the 5100 point mark having fallen by 7 points in afternoon trading ahead of the conclusion of the US Federal Reserve’s two day meeting.

Fears that the Fed may decide to reduce its stimulus measures at the meeting, as well as the falling Australian dollar have both contributed to the Aussie market’s falls in recent weeks, however, it appears that the plunge has been exacerbated by a trend of profit warnings and share issuances which have continued today.

Wotif.com (ASX: WTF), for instance, is trading down 31% following its announcement that profit for FY13 would be roughly 20% below that recognised in FY12, whilst also delivering a rather bleak outlook for 2014. This follows on from recent profit warnings by companies including QBE Insurance Group (ASX: QBE), Codan (ASX: CDA) and Silver Chef (ASX: SIV).

Meanwhile, CFS Retail (ASX: CFX) also entered into a trading halt for a $280 million institutional placement, after it agreed to buy Commonwealth Bank’s (ASX: CBA) retail asset management business.

Aside from Wotif.com, the other main losers for the day have included global packaging company Amcor (ASX: AMC), which is trading down 10.3% after receiving approval to demerge from Orora Limited (ASX: ORA), which began trading on the ASX today. Oz Minerals (ASX: OZL), Ausdrill (ASX: ASL) and St Barbara (ASX: SBM) are also down between 5.5% and 7%.

On a more positive note, Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) and QBE have risen 2.1% and 2.6% respectively, whilst Decmil Group (ASX: DCG) has also climbed 4.8%.

It’s been a mixed day of trading for some of Australia’s other blue chip companies. For instance, while Commonwealth Bank and Westpac (ASX: WBC) are trading in the red by 0.2% and 0.7%, ANZ (ASX: ANZ) and NAB (ASX: NAB) have both risen by 0.5% and 0.1%. Meanwhile, BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) have climbed 0.5% and 1.4% whilst Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) has remained flat for the day.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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