Markets: Stocks to watch at the open

Colin Barnett has thrown a spanner in the works for Woodside, and David Jones reports today.

Woodside Petroleum Limited

Woodside Petroleum may have found itself in a spot of bother, with West Australian premier Colin Barnett saying he would refuse to amend leases that cover Western Australia’s share of gas, according to The Australian.

This could significantly hinder Woodside’s plans to sell the gas.

Woodside has been positioning itself as a yield play recently as growth options mature. Not being able to sell all gas produced could reduce final dividend amounts if it sticks to an 80 per cent payout ratio for the foreseeable future.

Trading at $38.60, Woodside is holding comfortably at levels not seen at all over the past two years.

David Jones Limited

Reporting today is Department store operator, David Jones. If the response to David Jones’ full year report is anything like that of rival Myer, it won’t be a good day.

Investors are aware of the structural problems facing the retail industry and much of this is already accounted for in David Jones’ share price. But commentary from management concerning the outlook will be the key focus of investors today – ultimately they are looking for an indication sales and margins are improving.

Currently David Jones is trading around 18 times forward earnings – for this to be justified, earnings need to pick up the pace and grow.

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