Market loses early gains as banks decline
The local sharemarket has failed to hang on to earlier gains, as losses in the financial, consumer staples, consumer discretionary and telco sectors weighed on the market. The ASX 200 (XJO) is down 16 points or 0.3% to 6,090.
A slew of companies released earnings results today, including Lovisa (LOV), Seven Group Holdings (SVW), OceanaGold (OCG), The a2Milk Company (A2M), Fortescue Metals (FMG), APA Group (APA), Asaleo Care (AHY), Stockland (SGP), Woolworths (WOW), Domino’s Pizza (DMP), Crown Resorts (CWN) and WiseTech Global (WTC).
Woolworths (WOW) shares have been sold down by 4.8% to $28.80, after the supermarket operator’s first half earnings missed analyst expectations. First half net profit rose 1% to $979 million, while sales from its ongoing operations were 2.3% higher at $30.59 billion. WOW says it plans to return up to $1.7 billion to shareholders when it completes the sale of its fuel andconvenience store sites to U.K.-based EG Group.
Domino’s Pizza (DMP) shares have dropped 5.6% to $43.33, after the company reported a 9.2% fall in first half net profit to $53.3 million. The result was impacted by $10.9 million in one-off legal and settlement costs in Australian and New Zealand, as well as $13 million to convert Germany’s Hallo Pizza and France’s Pizza Spirit to Domino’s-branded stores. DMP now sees FY earnings at the lower end of its prior guidance.
Crown Resorts (CWN) has slumped 5.6% to $11.52 after reporting a 26.7% fall in first-half profit to $174.9 million. CWN has hit by difficult trading conditions across the high-end casino market.
The a2 Milk Co. (A2M) shares have jumped 5.6% to $11.52 after the company reported a 55% rise in first half net profit to $152.7 million. Investors have also cheered Seven West Group’s (SVW) 61% spike in first half underlying NPAT to $257.5 million. SVW shares are up 10.3% to $18.69.
Fortescue Metals (FMG) shares have climbed 5.2% to $6.68 as investors welcomed a special dividend and better than expected first half earnings. FMG will pay an interim dividend of 19 cents a share, up from 11 cents a share a year ago. It will also pay a special dividend of 11 cents next month.
 In economic news, the Wage Price Index rose by 0.5% in 4Q (consensus +0.6%) taking annual wages growth to 2.3%.
1.11 billion shares have been traded, worth $2.75 billion. 489 stocks are higher, 450 are weaker, while 348 are unchanged.  Published by CommSec