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Published on: Monday, November 28, 2016

  • Major shareholders in BHP and Rio say that the companies should use stronger-than-expected commodity prices to drive down debt and invest in growth projects before considering special shareholder returns. Analysts have forecast rising dividends and possible share buybacks on the back of buoyant prices for commodities such as iron ore and coal. “We really want to see they have enough capital being invested in mines from a maintenance point of view and then second of all we would like to see them improve their balance sheets,” said Aberdeen Asset Management’s Jason Kururangi (Australian Financial Review).
  • Auction markets continued to deliver strong results this week despite a large increase in auction volumes. According to research house CoreLogic, auction volumes increased to 3,367 across the combined capital cities, compared to 2,987 last week. The preliminary auction clearance rate came in at 76% compared to last week’s 74.4%. Melbourne’s preliminary result was 76.9%, down from 79.4% last week, while Sydney’s preliminary result was 81.9% - up from 79.6%. 


  • Oil prices plunged almost 4% on increased uncertainty that OPEC will implement an output cut to curb global oversupply (and support prices). Saudi Arabia said it won’t attend talks on Monday with non-OPEC producers to discuss supply cuts, as it would rather focus on consensus within the organisation first. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet in Vienna on November 30 to discuss a production agreement. Brent crude fell 3.6% to $US47.24 a barrel. 
  • Grocery wholesaler Metcash has announced a first-half net profit of $75 million, down 38.6%. Revenue rose 0.3% to $6.63 billion in the six months to October 31. Group EBIT for the period declined 4.2% to $128.1m. “Continued earnings growth in the Liquor and Hardware pillars was more than offset by lower earnings in Food & Grocery. While there was continued positive momentum in the Food and Grocery pillar from strategic initiatives, and reduced operating costs from the Working Smarter program, they were insufficient to offset the impact of an intense trading period as well as weaker earnings in the Convenience business,” said a statement to the ASX. 
  • At 0645 AEDT on Monday, the share price index was unchanged at 5,514.

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