5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Thursday. Here are the five things I’m looking at today on the Australian sharemarket.

  1. The S&P/ ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened slightly higher, gaining 0.1%. US markets fell slightly after the US Federal Reserve ended its quantitative easing program. The Dow Jones close 0.2% lower, while the S&P 500 was down 0.1% and the tech-heavy NASDAQ ended 0.3% down.

    The US Fed says it sees underlying strength in the US economy, with strong labour markets (The US now has a lower unemployment rate than Australia), but did repeat that interest rates were likely to remain low ‘for a considerable time’.

    Low interest rates are here to stay Fools, high dividend yielding companies likely to remain in strong demand for some time.

  2. National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) has reported a 9.8% fall in cash earnings for the financial year to September 2014. The bank generated $5.2 billion in earnings, down from $5.7 billion last year, mainly driven by one off charges in NAB’s Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks.CEO Andrew Thorburn says NAB is looking at a broader range of options for its troubled UK banking business, including a potential float of the business.

    The bank says it will pay a 99 cent fully franked dividend, which will hit shareholders’ bank accounts on 16 December 2014. But NAB will underwrite the dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) for an additional $800 million of NAB shares over and above the expected participation under the DRP.

  3. The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) will invest US$500 million into Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd’s (ASX: CCL) Indonesian business in exchange for 29.4% of the Indonesian subsidiary. It’s part of a grand plan to increase sales in one of the world’s most populous nations.Coca-Cola Amatil is also attempting to turnaround its Australasian business, and plans to launch a new product ‘Coke Life’ in April 2015.
  4. Tweet of the Day

    Want to write for The Motley Fool Australia? Here’s your chance.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Ryan Newman – Medibank Private. Ryan lays out the pros and cons of the Medibank float in easy to understand terms. You can read more here.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Coca-Cola Amatil. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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