Welcome to Thursday. Here are the five things I’m looking at today on the Australian sharemarket.
- The S&P/ ASX 200(Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened 0.3% this morning, despite mixed results on Wall Street overnight.The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% while the broader S&P 500 was flat and the tech-heavy NASDAQ gained 0.1%.
Crude oil prices dropped dramatically overnight, with Brent oil falling 5.1% to US$59.36 per barrel while iron ore was up 0.7% to US$63.44 per tonne.
The Australian dollar is steady against the US dollar and is currently buying 78.2 US cents.
- Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) has reported a 3.7% fall in first-half net profit to $1.4 billion – although the previous period included $158 million in profit from the insurance and Air Liquide divisions which were sold off. The conglomerate increased its dividend to 89 cents, fully franked – up from 85 cents the previous year.Wesfarmers shares are down 1.5% at the open.
- Diversified financial services group AMP Limited (ASX: AMP) has lifted its dividend by 17% after full year underlying net profit rose 23% to more than $1 billion. AMP offers services from wealth management, insurance to banking and loans.AMP will pay a final partly franked (80%) dividend of 13.5 cents, and investors obviously liked what they saw with shares were up 3.7% at the open.
- Tweet of the Day
— Ryan Newman (@ASXvalueinvest) February 18, 2015
With a wall of international money looking for higher returns, the ASX could surge through the 6,.000 level as early as this month.
- Stock of the Day– brought to you by Ryan Newman – Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL). The giant private health insurer reports tomorrow. Here’s what you can expect.
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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Medibank Private. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga
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