Market flat despite solid results, Greek bailout

THE sharemarket tracked sideways yesterday despite a string of solid earnings results and a deal being struck on a second Greek bailout.

THE sharemarket tracked sideways yesterday despite a string of solid earnings results and a deal being struck on a second Greek bailout.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 1.9 points at 4,293.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 3.9 points to 4372.1.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was steady at 4273 points.

IG Markets strategist Stan Shamu said earnings results had driven the key indices towards a key resistance level of 4300 points.

Mr Shamu said the energy sector led the gains after the oil price jumped and Woodside Petroleum delivered a solid result.

Woodside's full-year profit fell by 4.3 per cent due to the cost of delays at its Pluto liquefied natural gas project. Stripping out non-recurring costs, the company's underlying profit was up 16.7 per cent at $1.56 billion. The shares closed up 91?, or 2.53 per cent, at $36.86.

Oil Search rose 24?, or 3.57 per cent, to $6.96 while Santos rose 19?, or 1.35 per cent, to $14.31.

Jobs website Seek posted a first-half profit of $60.6 million. Its shares rose 61? to $6.31.

Vaccines maker CSL reported a 3.4 per cent fall in net profit to $483 million but upgraded its full-year profit forecast. The shares rose 77?, or 2.49 per cent, to $31.74.

Suncorp said it would pass on more insurance premium rises to offset claims costs after Melbourne's Christmas Day hailstorms topped off the company's worst year for natural disasters. Its shares fell 18? to $8.25.

Shares in Ten Network tumbled to a two-year low after the free-to-air broadcaster forecast a steep drop in earnings and revenue. Ten was down 8? at 78?.

Broadcaster and newspaper publisher Seven West was up 26? at $3.79 after it said a 40 per cent share of the lucrative free-to-air metropolitan television advertising market was within reach.

BHP Billiton was down 3? at $36.41 and Rio Tinto was 63? lower at $68.53. The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1756.25 ($1644) per fine ounce, up $US16.70. Gold miner Newcrest was up 75?, or 2.14 per cent, at $35.85 after it received conditional approval for a secondary listing on Canada's Toronto Stock Exchange.

Miner OneSteel was the biggest mover by volume, up 15.85 per cent at 95? after almost 88 million of the company's shares had changed hands. It was also the top performer on the S&P/ASX 100 index, a day after flagging a better second-half result and job cuts following a $74 million interim net loss.

Market turnover was 2.01 billion shares worth $4.93 billion.

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