Asian stocks surge higher; Woodside Petroleum reports $1.65 billion profit

<p>Asian stocks continued in their upward charge following yesterday’s European news. Corporate news was dominated by reports that Alibaba Group was in talks with global […]</p>

Asian stocks continued in their upward charge following yesterday’s European news.

Corporate news was dominated by reports that Alibaba Group was in talks with global heavyweight Yahoo!, in a deal to that could potentially value Alibaba at HK$19.6bn.

Yahoo! is offering around HK$13.50 per share for the 27% of Alibaba it doesn’t already own, sending shares up by as much as 43% – one of the largest rises in the group’s listed history.

Elsewhere, the MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.3% higher in early afternoon Tokyo trading.

In currencies, the Australian dollar was last buying 1.0655 against the US dollar, despite positive wage inflation data suggesting a small and healthy rise in incomes. All eyes are on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s next monthly meeting where a rate cut is possible although probably unlikely.

The Euro was last trading at 1.3230 against the US dollar while the US dollar struggled to rise above 80 against the Japanese Yen, last trading at 79.95.

In Australian corporate news, online jobs and education provider Seek was the standout, last trading 11% higher after reporting better than expected first half numbers.

Financial group Suncorp’s net profit of $389m was above expectations of around $330-350m, mainly around assumptions on the insurance business. It’s been a tough year and while losses have constrained the insurance earnings base, the market is willing to forgive if the outlook has some prospects of improving.

One of the most watched energy groups across the whole Asia Pacific region, Woodside Petroleum, reported underlying net profit of $1.65bn, which is in-line with market expectations. Production numbers were previously guided to the market so there was some relief that at least expectations were met.

For 2012, guidance is for production of 73-81 million barrels of oil equivalent which again is in line with expectations.


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