16 September 2009
BHP-Billiton (BHP) - $38.25 BUY
BHP Billiton said it has boosted the total ore reserves at its Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South
Australia, although ore grades have fallen slightly. The miner said proven and probable ore reserves at the
mine stood at 589m metric tonnes as at June 30 with a copper grade of 1.81% and a uranium grade of 0.59
kilograms per tonne. This compares with 473m tonnes a year ago when the grades stood at 1.86% copper
and 0.6 kilograms of uranium per tonne. The new reserve consists of 188m tonnes of proven reserves and
401m tonnes of probable reserves. BHP plans a major expansion of the mine, tipped by analysts to cost up
to US$15bn, to boost annual output to 750,000 tonnes of copper, 19,000 tonnes of uranium and 800,000
ounces of gold. Olympic Dam produced 194,000 tonnes of copper, 4,007 tonnes of uranium and 108,039
ounces of gold in the year ended June 30. The reserve upgrade, which follows a resource upgrade at the
mine announced last year, was contained in the miner's US annual report, released today. In the report, the
miner reiterated previous statements that the global economy looks set to remain volatile for the immediate
future. "While the global economy is showing signs of stabilising, the large developed economies are not
expected to show real growth until at least the end of 2010," Chairman Don Argus said in the report. Argus
said there is evidence of increasing stability in the US, UK, Europe and Australia and that China is showing
early signs of improvement, providing strong support for short-term economic growth. "Over the longer term,
we believe that emerging economies such as China and India will contribute the majority of world economic
growth as they continue to industrialise, which will see demand for commodities continue to grow," he said.
BHP gained 41 cents (1.08%) to $38.25.
Telstra (TLS) - $3.11 HOLD
The federal government said it wants Telstra to split its retail and wholesale network businesses, marking a
dramatic climax to years of tensions between the company and regulators. Canberra is urging Telstra to
"voluntarily" split its operations into two distinct companies to foster competition and pave the way for a new
$43bn open-access high speed national broadband network. If it doesn't split, Telstra faces being barred
from acquiring further wireless spectrum - crucial for future growth - or being forced to sell its lucrative 50%
stake in pay television group Foxtel or its hybrid fibre coaxial network. And, amended telecommunications
legislation due to be introduced in the lower house of parliament, if passed, will allow the government to force
a strong functional separation on the group. Under that scheme, Telstra would be required to conduct its
network operations and wholesale functions at arm's length from the rest of the group, and provide equivalent
price and non-price terms to its rivals.
Telstra Chief Executive David Thodey said that while the company was disappointed with the proposed
reforms, it was willing to talk with the government about options on a split. Both Telstra and Singapore
Telecommunication's Optus have raised the possibility of vending their Australian fixed-line assets into the
project in exchange for a stake in the new broadband company, NBN. But Telstra is still viewed as the most
logical fit to build the network, given its strong existing network blueprint and deep pockets - no small matter
in the current cash-constrained environment. Thodey has adopted a softer tack in dealing with the
government than his predecessor, and said the company remains committed to working with the government
on the new network. "It is Telstra's view that many aspects of this package are unnecessary and need never
be implemented if a mutually acceptable outcome can be reached on the national broadband network," he
Analysts said Canberra's plan indicates it wants Telstra to split its operations, then sell its wholesale network
business, and its fixed line infrastructure, into the planned new high speed network. Whether Telstra chooses
structural separation or enforced functional separation, analysts said the measures will result in a dramatic
change to the Australian telecommunications sector and mark the end of Telstra as it is currently known.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the new measures "will finally correct the mistakes of the
past" that have allowed Telstra to use its ownership of the country's fixed-line copper wire network
infrastructure to dominate its rivals. Telstra is currently one of the most highly integrated telecommunications
companies in the world across the fixed-line copper, cable and mobile platforms, Conroy said.
Forced separations have proved effective in other jurisdictions - including in the UK with BT Group and with
Telecom Corp. of New Zealand - in "addressing the underlying incentives for the incumbent to favour its own
retail business over its wholesale customers", Conroy told reporters. For the reforms to go ahead, however,
the amended telecommunications legislation will first need to clear a potentially hostile upper house Senate.
The Labor government has a majority in the lower House of Representatives but it needs the Senate support
of either the Liberal-National coalition, or all seven minor party Senators, to pass any new laws. A coalition
spokesman said it was "too early to say" whether or not the party will support the proposed law changes. It
will examine the legislation to see if "it will leave consumers better off". The party is also mindful of any value
erosion for Telstra's 1.4m-plus retail shareholders, he said. Family First Senator Steve Fielding said the
proposed reforms leave Telstra's retail investors "in limbo". Meanwhile, Scott Ludlam, communications
spokesman for the Greens - who hold five of the seven key crossbench Senate seats - said the Greens are
"quite supportive" of the government plan. "I think it's something the telecommunications industry has been
calling out for, for years...so we're pleased (Conroy) has put his foot forward and given Telstra a pretty firm
ultimatum," Ludlam said. TLS fell 14 cents (4.31%) to $3.11.
Rio Tinto (RIO) - $58.98 BUY
Rio Tinto said it sold a majority stake in its Alcan Engineered Products cable division to a private equity
group, the first step toward breaking up and divesting the entire Engineered Products business. Rio sold a
56% stake in the cable division to US private equity group Platinum Equity for an undisclosed sum. A Rio
Tinto spokesman said the sale would "not be material" to the company's finances. "This is the first time we
have entered an agreement with a private equity partner and we look forward to working with them," Rio Tinto
Chief Financial Officer Guy Elliott said in a statement. The sale will allow Rio to step back from day-to-day
management of the business while retaining an "economic interest in its recovery as market conditions
improve," Elliott added. Rio will consider selling the remainder of its holding when market conditions improve,
the spokesman said. Brian Wall, partner at Platinum, said the private equity group would transition the
Atlanta-based cable division to a standalone entity. Rio Tinto will remain a supplier of aluminium rod and
molten aluminium to the business, Wall said in a statement. Last month, Rio Tinto said it decided it would
have to break up Alcan's Engineered Products after failing to find a buyer for the whole business. The loss-
making Engineered Products division makes aluminium components for aircraft and vehicles, as well as
cables, construction materials and other specialty products. RIO rose 93 cents (1.6%) to $58.98.
Woolworths (WOW) - $28.36 ACCUMULATE
Woolworths said it plans to spend $400m in the next five years building 30 home improvement stores in
Victoria as part of its joint venture with Lowe's. The company's first store in the network will open at Coolaroo
in northern Melbourne in the second half of 2011, Don Stallings, chief executive of the venture, told reporters
in Melbourne. The plan is to secure 150 sites for development in the next five years across Australia, which
will pitch Woolworths head-on with Wesfarmers' Bunnings hardware chain, the nation's largest with a 18%
share of the market. The domestic home improvement market is worth around $24bn. Bunnings, which
generated 22% of Wesfarmers' earnings before interest and tax of $2.98bn in the year ended June 30,
operates about 250 stores. The new Woolworths-Lowe's stores will have a unique brand name, which has yet
to be determined, Stallings said. Woolworths Chief Executive Michael Luscombe said in a statement the
investment is expected to create up to 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in Victoria. The Coolaroo store will be
more than 10,000 square metres and will employ about 300 people when it opens. Victorian Premier John
Brumby said in the statement that Woolworths' $400m investment is expected to generate 4,000 retail jobs in
the next five years and construction of the stores will create 11,000 jobs. WOW remained unchanged at
Toll Holdings (TOL) and Brambles (BXB) - $7.57 HOLD
Toll Holdings Chief Executive Paul Little said he has moved on from any potential tie-up with Brambles. Little
said Toll was interested in doing a deal with Brambles but that the deal couldn't work without Brambles'
compliance. "We were only ever interested in Brambles had Brambles been of the mind that by joining forces
with our company that the two could create a better value offering in the marketplace," he said. "We believe
Brambles are not of that view and we're quite happy to accept that outcome and move on." Little said he is
looking to grow the company from being an Australian-focused business into a pan-Asian concern. Toll's
performance in August, he said, has outpaced expectations, as had been the case in July. The company said
last month that it was "very pleased" with July's performance. Within five years, Little expects 50% to 60% of
the transportation and logistics company's earnings to come from offshore operations, he told reporters on
the sidelines of a conference in New York. Little said Toll is "quite ambitious" in its search for acquisitions that
will add scale in the global forwarding business. That includes air and ocean freight forwarding. North
America, Europe and the Middle East are all regions in which Toll is "sub scale" in global forwarding, he said.
TOL firmed 2 cents (0.24%) to $8.52 and BXB rose 7 cents (0.93%) to $7.57.
Cochlear (COH) - $63.80 HOLD
Cochlear Chief Executive Chris Roberts said the rollout of the company's Nucleus 5 hearing aid system in the
US has been "hugely positive." Cochlear won US Food and Drug Administration approval earlier this month
for the medical device and launched it in the US last Tuesday. "Thus far the reaction has been very
enthusiastic," he said in an interview with reporters at a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch conference in New
York. "We're very excited." Cochlear has yet to offer profit guidance and Roberts had said previously that the
timing of the FDA approval would influence this year's results. The executive wouldn't give unit sales
forecasts for Nucleus 5 sales but Roberts maintained earnings growth will be skewed toward the second half
of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2010. As for Cochlear's development pipeline, the company is five to
ten years from developing a fully implantable device, which he called "the holy grail" of hearing devices.
Roberts said the acquisition of Otologics, unveiled this month, should help it achieve this goal because it
gives Cochlear access to patents and expertise to help the company in its development of an invisible
hearing aide. As for whether Cochlear expects to grow market share this year, as the company holds up to
70% of global share in its sector, Roberts said "we could, but our focus is on growing the market." The
potential for US healthcare reform, which impacts one of Cochlear's major markets, could be a positive for
the medical device maker because extended coverage for children could mean increased demand for its
products tailored toward younger patients. Roberts doesn't expect regulatory reform to hurt Cochlear's pricing
power. "Our intervention is incredibly cost effective," he said. "And my guess is that any intervention that's
cost effective is more likely to be protected." COH advanced $1.79 (2.89%) to $63.80.
Eservglobal Limited (ESV) - $0.51 BUY
A year to forget
A 17% fall in revenue to $147.2m coupled with an overgrown cost-base, saw EBITDA plummet to $2.4m from
Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (HDF) - $0.97 ACCUMULATE
1H09 on track
HDF’s1H09 result was decent with Epic Energy performing well and South East Water (SEW) struggling.
Net profit before specific items and income tax was $17.9m, flat on last year.
Sigma Pharmaceuticals Limited (SIP) - $1.07 ACCUMULATE
Interim result - strong cash flow continues
1H1 revenue increased 3.5% to $1,516.5m.
EBIT fell 4.6% to $76.8m.
On a normalised basis NPAT fell 5.9% to $30.2m, while diluted EPS fell 6.9% to 3.4c.
Telstra Corporation Limited (TLS) - $3.11 HOLD
Conroy introduces telecommunications reform
Government announces reforms to telecommunications regulation.
Australian Market Summary
Firmer offshore leads are likely to send local stocks higher today.
Ahead of the local open the September SPI futures were 21 points (0.50%) higher at 4,568.
The total number of houses and apartments that started construction in Australia in the second quarter of
2009 fell 3.7% from the first quarter to a seasonally adjusted 30,411. Economists according to a poll had
forecast growth of 1.0% in the second quarter from the first. The Bureau of Statistics also reported that the
number of private-sector houses started in the second quarter rose 3.7% from the previous quarter to 22,347.
The trend estimate for the total number of housing starts, which further smoothes the seasonally adjusted
numbers, fell 4.1% from the first quarter to 30,066.
Companies commencing Ex-Dividend Trading(ASX 300): Isoft Group
The continued steady stream of buying in Caterpillar, General Electric, DuPont and a host of other industrial
and materials companies paced all three major indexes to new closing highs for the year on Tuesday.
Going into September, many investors had preached caution on stocks, noting the month is historically one
of the market's weakest. Moreover, given the previous few months had provided significant market gains,
there was serious trepidation about a possible round of profit-taking among the investing public.
But so far this month, these concerns haven't come to fruition as each day's rally has been followed by
another one in the past two weeks. As the gains continue, even more trepidation seems to be building, which
some say could be a contrarian indicator.
Tuesday's market was helped by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said that from a technical
point, the "recession is very likely over at this point." Bernanke made his comments during a question-and-
answer session at the Brookings Institution.
Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 56.61 points (0.59%) to 9,683.41, marking its seventh
gain in eight sessions and its highest close since Oct. 6. Pacing the index, Caterpillar climbed $2.93 (6%) to
$51.70; General Electric rose 65 cents (4.2%) to $16; and DuPont increased 87 cents (2.7%) to $33.15.
The Standard & Poor's 500 tacked on 3.29 (0.31%) to 1,052.63, also making its highest close since Oct. 6.
The Nasdaq Composite rose 10.86 (0.52%) to 2,102.64, hitting its highest close since Sept. 26. Both indexes
have closed in the black in seven of the last eight sessions.
Genworth Financial tacked on 66 cents (5.8%) to $12.05, after the insurance company disclosed an offering
of $500m in Class A stock. Analysts said the company's ability to raise equity indicates a new level of
confidence in its ability to move forward.
For Australian ADRs listed on the NYSE, BHP Billiton firmed 76 cents (1.15%) to US$66.85, Rio Tinto Plc
added $3.18 (1.83%) to US$176.75, ResMed advanced 1 cent (0.02%) to US$45.77, Telstra Corporation
dropped 44 cents (3.13%) to US$13.64, Telecom Corporation of NZ shed 5 cents (0.52%) to US$9.52 and
Westpac lost $1.08 (1.03%) to US$103.89.
In economic news, Americans brushed aside rising unemployment and opened their wallets in August,
sending retail sales up by the most in more than three years, giving gas to an economic turnaround.
Separately, US producer prices jumped 1.7% in August and July business inventories dipped 1%.
Treasury prices fell after better retail sales and manufacturing data sparked some hopes that the end of the
recession could be drawing near. At 7:45 AM (AEST), the 10-year Treasury note yield was 3.45% and the five
year yield was 2.39%.
European shares continued to regain some of the ground lost since the collapse of US investment bank
Lehman Brothers, as better-than-expected US retail sales fuelled hopes of a sustainable recovery in the
The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index added 0.2% to 241.36 in a choppy session.
After making small gains early in the session, stocks were pulled lower after a gauge of sentiment among
German finance professionals rose in September, but at a slower pace than forecast.
However, gains resumed later on Tuesday following data that showed US retail sales rose a seasonally
adjusted 2.7% in August, the biggest increase in more than three years.
On a regional level, the German DAX index rose 0.2% to 5,628.98, while the French CAC-40 index gained
0.6% to 3,752.21 and the UK FTSE 100 index advanced 0.5% to 5,042.13.
On the FTSE 100, Rio Tinto improved 43.00 pence (1.65%) to 2,650.39 pence and BHP Billiton climbed 9.50
pence (0.56%) to 1,711.33 pence.
Asian markets ended mostly higher, with Japanese shares rebounding from the previous session's tumble as
gains on Wall Street and a weaker yen spurred buying.
The Nikkei 225 Average rose 0.2% to 10,217.62 in Tokyo, but analysts remained cautious on worries the
yen's recent strength may hit exporters' repatriated earnings. Shares of Canon gained 2.9%, while Honda
Motor added 0.5%.
Hong Kong markets were closed for the morning session due to a typhoon warning, and opened only for a
90-minute trading session in the afternoon. The Hang Seng Index ended 0.3% lower at 20,866.37 amid weak
trading volumes. China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.2%.
New Zealand shares ended lower on Tuesday, pushed down by some light selling in leading stocks, although
volume remained thin across the board. The benchmark NZX-50 ended down 0.9%, or 29 points, at
Base metals on the London Metal Exchange traded up slightly, but traders and analysts said the market was
quiet and indications of weak demand could cause prices to trade lower before renewing their rise next year.
Base metals on the LME finished up. Aluminium rose $30 (1.63%) to $1,865 while copper firmed $110
(1.78%) to $6,275 and nickel added $400 (2.41%) to $17,000. Zinc strengthened $25 (1.35%) to $1,875 and
lead gained $80 (3.77%) to $2,200. Comex copper was last quoted at 282.85 US cents per pound.
Gold futures settled above $1,000 for the third consecutive trading session, boosted by a weakening US
dollar and growing optimistic price sentiment as the metal continues holding around the psychologically
important benchmark. Spot gold was last quoted at $1,008.05. Comex gold futures climbed $5.20 (0.52%) to
$1,006.30. Spot silver was last quoted at $16.97.
Crude oil shot up on strong US retail sales and an improving economic outlook. West Texas Intermediate
was last quoted at US$70.93 per barrel.
The euro advanced to a new nine-month high against the US dollar on Tuesday for the sixth consecutive
At 08:05 a.m. (AET) the US dollar was quoted at 0.6821 euros, 90.99 yen, 1.159 AUD and 60.66 pence.
Key Indices: 16 September 2009
Equities Close Change %Change
All Ordinaries 4,547 11 0.24
Dow Jones (US) 9,683 57 0.59
FTSE 100 Index 5,042 23 0.46
HKSE 20,866 -66 -0.32
NASDAQ 2,103 11 0.52
Nikkei 225 (Japan) 10,218 16 0.15
NZ 50 3,100 -29 -0.93
S&P 500 1,053 3 0.31
S&P/ASX 200 4,540 9 0.20
Bonds: 16 September 2009
90 Day Bank Bill
3-yr Bond Rate 4.78
5-year Swap Rate 5.57
10-year Bond Rate* 5.39
Commodities: 16 September 2009
Commodities Close Change %Change
Aluminium 1,865 30 1.63
Copper 6,275 110 1.78
Gold 1,008.05 9.30 0.93
Lead 2,200 80 3.77
Nickel 17,000 400 2.41
Oil - West Texas crude 70.93 2.07 3.01
Zinc 1,875 25 1.35
Currencies: 16 September 2009
Currency Close Change %Change
$A / $CA 0.9258 -- --
$A / $NZ 1.2242 -- 0.01
$A / $US 0.8631 -- 0.04
$A / EUR 0.5887 -- 0.03
$A / GBP 0.5234 -- 0.02
$A / YEN 78.54 -- --
Top ASX/S&P300 Performers:
Best % Worst %
BTA 13.5 AEZ -7.6
VPG 12.5 SLX -5.6
MDT 10.0 REF -5.4
MAH 7.9 CXC -5.3
OEX 6.9 LYC -5.0
Recommendation Upgrades over the last 7 days:
Company Name Recommendation Date Changed
ESV ESERVGLOBAL LIMITED Buy 15 Sep 2009
SIP SIGMA PHARMACEUTICALS LIMITED Accumulate 15 Sep 2009
WHG WHK GROUP LIMITED Buy 15 Sep 2009
PBP PROBIOTEC LIMITED Accumulate 14 Sep 2009
GUD G.U.D. HOLDINGS LIMITED Hold 11 Sep 2009
VPG VALAD PROPERTY GROUP Speculative Buy 11 Sep 2009
BKL BLACKMORES LIMITED Hold 09 Sep 2009
Recommendation Downgrades over the last 7 days:
ASX Code Company Name Recommendation Date Changed
CFX CFS Retail Property Trust Reduce 15 Sep 2009
DXS DEXUS PROPERTY GROUP Hold 15 Sep 2009
TAL Tower Australia Group Limited Accumulate 15 Sep 2009
TLS Hold 15 Sep 2009
SUPER CHEAP AUTO GROUP
SUL Reduce 14 Sep 2009
BKN BRADKEN LIMITED Accumulate 11 Sep 2009
HIL HILLS INDUSTRIES LIMITED Accumulate 11 Sep 2009
IAG Hold 11 Sep 2009
ILU ILUKA RESOURCES LIMITED Hold 11 Sep 2009
RFG RETAIL FOOD GROUP LIMITED Hold 11 Sep 2009
ALS Accumulate 10 Sep 2009
AUN Hold 10 Sep 2009
CHC CHARTER HALL GROUP Reduce 10 Sep 2009
EHL Emeco Holdings Limited Reduce 10 Sep 2009
ELD ELDERS LIMITED Avoid 10 Sep 2009
GWT GWA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED Accumulate 10 Sep 2009
TSE Hold 10 Sep 2009
WTF Reduce 10 Sep 2009
BXB Brambles Limited Hold 09 Sep 2009
IVC INVOCARE LIMITED Hold 09 Sep 2009
BYL, CCV, CDA, CLO, CTY, DOM, FXL, GUD, IRE, JMB, PAN, PME
CAG, NXS, SSM
Div Ex Date:
HGO, ISF, LMW
Div Pay Date:
AAX, ITX, MOC, REF
AAF, AAK, AGV, AMM, AMU, AQP, AUB, AVZ, BEN, BKY, BLY, BTU, CLO, COY, CXC, EMG,
ESI, EVM, EZL, GCN, HTE, IMC, IPP, JHX, MIN, MMX, NAN, NIP, NSP, OST, PDN, SHL, STI,
SYR, UNI, WHE, WIC1
ALR*, ALX*, BCD*, CVA*, ENB*, GMI*, HIT*, IMD*, LSR*, MMB*, PWK*, WAA*, WAM*
* - Australian Government Bond Maturing 15/05/2021
# - SFE 90 Day Bank Bill Futures spot contract
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