MARKETS SPECTATOR: Against the flow

Trading desks say international events have dominated money flow but investors are finding solace in some recent company announcements.

Traders and sales people on brokerage desks are trying to convince their clients to keep their faith in stocks that have recently reported sales growth or have reiterated forecasts.

Despite the falls, traders and strategists such as Morgan Stanley’s Malcolm Wood are fans of retailers Woolworths and Wesfarmers after both companies reported better-than-expected sales in the three months to March 31. Woolworth’s sales from its continuing operations, rose 5.7 per cent to $14.42 billion. Wesfarmers unit Coles’ food and liquor business sales’ were up 6.6 per cent to $6.49 billion.

Wood also likes Harvey Norman. The retailer reported this week that its global sales rose 0.6 per cent in the three months to March 31, to $1.28 billion. Harvey Norman says “the market appears to be stabilising” with appliances and bedding sales solid. 

Morgan Stanley is also recommending casino operator Crown because increasing numbers of Chinese tourists will visit its Australia and Macau gambling dens.

Elsewhere, Santos shares have risen 26 cents, or 2.2 per cent, to $11.64 at 11:40am AEST after the oil and gas producer this morning reiterated its 2013 production guidance of 53-57 million barrels of oil equivalent. The company says in the three months to March 31 its average gas price was a record $5.43 a gigajoule because of higher eastern Australian and Asian gas prices.

Bank of Queensland’s shares are up 3 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $9.485 at 11:41am AEST after the lender reported yesterday that in the six months to February 28 it had a profit of $100.5 million compared to a $90.6 million loss for the same period a year earlier. Impairment expenses fell to $59.5 million, a decrease of $268.2 million.

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