around the traps ... with the ferret

  1. 4,756 Posts.
    Around the Traps ... with THE FERRET
    07:23, Thursday, 17 February 2005

    Sydney - Thursday - Feb 17: (RWE Australian Business News) -

    AUSTRALIAN FOUNDATION (AFI) has racked up another nice profit
    rise, this time a 28 per cent hike to $76 million in the December half.

    Fully franked dividend is up from 5.5c to 6c (last year's
    interim included a 1c special).

    The company knows a bit about investing so its words are worth

    Chairman Bruce Teele said the company thought the market was
    looking "somewhat fully priced on a value basis".

    AFI would be watching with interest the strength of corporate
    earnings and the direction of margins over the next 12 months,
    particularly those more reliant on discretionary spending from
    consumers, he said.

    Mr Teele also made a play for super customers.

    He said AFI's management expense ratio was 0.13 per cent a

    "This is an extremely competitive management expense ratio for
    investors seeking exposure to a diversified portfolio of Australian
    equities with long term above market returns.

    "With choice associated with superannuation funds coming into
    force this year investors, particularly those with DIY super funds,
    might well view AFIC as part of the range of available investment
    alternatives," he said.

    It's a pity AFI shares weren't cheaper for DIY-ers.

    After yesterday's 3c rise to $3.82 it's on a p/e of 26 and a
    dividend yield of 3.5 per cent.


    LEIGHTON (LEI) continued its ride on the roller-coaster
    yesterday, this time plunging 60c to as low as $10.40 after the
    announcement of a 20 per cent rise in first-half profit and a
    confirmation the full-year result would be "at least" $180 million.

    Granted that the forecast is not exciting, and indicates a
    slightly less profitable second half, but what is spooking traders?

    They can't say they have been surprised.

    Only a week ago deputy CEO and CFO Dieter Adamsas told
    Corporatefile the company expected the first half to be in line with
    market expectations and full-year net profit guidance of around $180
    million still stood.

    The market must be disappointed over the fact that, despite
    being told more than once by the company that it would be $180 million,
    brokers still thought they knew better and had a consensus forecast for
    the year of more than $188 million.


    METCASH's (MTT) capital reorganisation and pro rata offer of
    CULS (Convertible Unsecured Loan Stock, of course) must be a bit too
    confusing for shareholders.

    The stock is jumping all over the place.

    From a near record $3.42 on February 7 it fell to $3.16 and
    bounced back to as high as $3.34 on Tuesday.

    Yesterday the shares plunged as low as $2.88 before closing at
    $3.04, down 25c.

    This was despite CEO Andrew Reitzer saying Metcash was
    delighted with the support it had received from institutional
    shareholders for CULS.

    "We are particularly grateful to our existing shareholders who
    have substantially increased their investment in the company," he said.


    NONI B (NBL) must continue to surprise itself.

    At the annual meeting on October 27 it told shareholders the
    first quarter indicated a first-half profit rise of 15 to 20 per cent.

    Two months later it was forget that ... profit was now expected
    to be between 35 and 40 per cent higher.

    Two tries and still it wasn't right.

    The retail fashion group yesterday announced a 43.5 per cent
    rise to $4.29 million for the six months to December.

    Managing direcor Alan Kindl said the second half had started in
    line with budget, with consumer demand for Noni B and Liz Jordan
    products remaining strong.

    "The company is well placed to continue growth and improve
    efficiency," said Mr Kindl.

    No doubt we can look forward to updates as the year progresses.

    In the meantime, Noni B shares rose 19c to a record $2.79,
    which is up from $1.75 a year ago.

    The stock seems to be a forward p/e of about 14.


    TABCORP (TAH) breathlessly announced yesterday it would submit
    a "simply stunning" concept proposal to the Singapore Government for
    its Integrated Resort project.

    It will include "super-luxury" and luxury hotels, theme park,
    casino, "leading" restaurants, "premium" retail outlets, "world-class"
    major events, West End/Broadway shows ... and more. Take away the dopey
    adjectives and you have hotels, parks, casinos, restaurants, shops,
    event, shows.

    Nothing "simply stunning" in this lot, just the same old, same

    But wait, there's even more hype ... Tabcorp has assembled a
    "dedicated" team, "world class" architects and a "leading" feng shui

    It hit the spot with the market, though, with Tabcorp putting
    on 17c to $17.30.

    (Comments and complaints to [email protected] - no requests
    for advice please.)


    Copyright © 2005 RWE Australian Business News. All rights reserved.
arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch. arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch.