A lack of macro data in today’s Asia Pacific trading session means Australian investors are likely to focus on company results. Although around two thirds of the top 200 companies have already reported, the likes of BHP, Qantas, QBE and Seven Group make it an important day for corporate Australia.
BHP’s half year result could drag its shares lower, after large write downs and a weaker than expected operating profit. Although management flagged a changed dividend policy, some investors may be surprised to see it slashed by around 75% to US 16 cents. Buoyant oil and metals prices overnight may cushion any investor backlash in trading today.
Qantas’ fortunes continue to improve. Lower oil prices and a changed competition policy saw H1 profit triple, and management announced a $500 million buyback. Qantas could be a star performer today. Looking at other reports so far, QBE and Seven may come under pressure after missing expectations, but Healthscope could garner support after a better than expected earnings result.