In this section we look at all the important announcements affecting companies this week.

  • Sigma Group (SIP) – Shares fell this week on a trading update which showed that pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca will exclusively distribute a portion of its products direct to pharmacies. This means it will wipe roughly 1.0% of Sigma’s sales.
  • Vita Group (VTG) – Has issued an earnings guidance downgrade. The company now expects FY18 earnings guidance for $36m-$43m EBITDA, around 20% lower than previous consensus forecasts. Earnings have been impacted by the timing of new device releases, in particular delayed availability of the iPhone X stock. Morgans says “Whilst this maybe a short-term impact, VTG does not expect to recover all the lost ground experienced in 1H18 and the wide guidance range highlights the earnings uncertainty that exists.”
  • Woolworths (WOW) – Posted its 1Q sales results. Total sales in Australian Food rose by almost 4.7% to $9.6bn. Same store sales rose by 4.9%. The results were cheered by the market.
  • Citi has outlined stocks that will benefit from Trumps proposal to slash US corporate taxes. The broker says these stocks will benefit – James Hardie (JHX), Westfield (WDC), Aristocrat Leisure (ALL), BlueScope Steel (BSL), Computershare (CPU), Janus Henderson (JHG), Ansell (ANN), Cochlear (COH), CSL and Treasury Wine Estates (TWE).
  • Origin Energy (ORG) – Has increased its September Q oil and gas revenue by 58% all due to its APLNG gas project in Queensland together with higher energy prices. Sales volume for the quarter were up 16% on a year ago at 91.4 petajoules.
  • Orocobre (ORE) – Olaroz produced a low 2,135t of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) in the September 2017 quarter (previous Q 2,536t). Cash operating costs were reported at US$4,986/t LCE (US$4,279t). Morgans has an Add recommendation with a target price of $5.36.
  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (BEN) – Shares have fallen following its AGM. The bank issued a soft growth outlook and profits will be hit by stiff competition, regulation, and cuts to fees.
  • Myer (MYR) are holding an investment strategy day today. Q1 sales for the 13 weeks t28 October 2017 of $699m was down 2.8%. Sales on a comparable store sales basis were down 2.1%. Sales during Q1 FY2018 reflect the continuation of challenging retail conditions characterised by heightened competition and subdued consumer sentiment. The retailer’s largest shareholder, Solomon Lew is threatening legal action over the department store chain’s alleged lack of disclosure.
  • Fortescue Metals (FMG) – Is panning for lithium in the vast Pilbara region of WA due the strengthening outlook for lithium and electric vehicles worldwide. The tenements it held were neighboring the current lithium operations of Pilbara Minerals and Mineral Resources.
  • CSR – Shares have fallen after the company posted its HY results. Rising power costs and concerns about the outlook for housing construction are growing concerns. CSR posted a NPAT of $118.7m up 4% on the pcp. Whilst the company remains confident in the overall housing outlook the apartment market is softening and the detached market is stable.
  • AMP is coming under pressure by shareholders to spin off its life insurance division and its New Zealand operations. Some are even calling for the resignation of the company’s current CEO. AMP has vowed to improve its performance by growing its financial planner network and even take up a share buyback.
  • Oil Search (OSH) – Is purchasing into oil blocks in Alaska for U$S400m. It is the company’s first major expansion beyond Papua New Guinea.
  • Nib Health (NHF) – Expects to begin selling health insurance in China towards the end of the 2018 calendar year. The Australian Government has announced a reform package for the private health industry which many consider is a positive development.
  • Amcor (AMC) – Has reaffirmed its FY guidance but delivered a cautious outlook after a challenging first quarter. Macquarie says whilst the commentary was soft Amcor did maintain guidance and expects another strong year.
  • Harvey Norman (HVN) – ASIC has concluded its investigation and doesn’t intend to make any further inquires after querying the company’s 2016 accounts.
  • CIMIC — Has maintained its FY guidance after it increased 3Q profit by 20%. It posted a NPAT of $178.2m for the September Q. Revenue was up 21.9% tro $3.3bn.