Futures contracts for the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(ASX: XJO) index are pointing to a slightly positive open on Friday morning, with CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) in the news.

Here’s the key headline data:

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 75.12 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): down 0.2%

Oil (WTI): $US71.62 per barrel

Gold: $US1,289 per ounce

Overnight, London-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) finished 0.3% and 0.2% higher, respectively, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Australian Investing News

Making news in Australia, biopharmaceutical giant CSL provided a trading update to the ASX this morning. The Melbourne-based company increased its net profit guidance for its 2018 financial year to between $US1.68 billion and $US1.71 billion, assuming a constant currency. That compares to CSL’s previous guidance of $US1.55  billion to $US1.6 billion.

“I am pleased to report an improved Company outlook for the financial year, underpinned by a confluence of positive outcomes as we work to deliver on our strategy,” CSL Paul Perreault said. “Of particular note has been a positive product and geographic sales mix shift, particularly with better than expected sales of Idelvion® and Haegarda®.”

Also in the news, Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd (ASX: SYD) released its monthly traffic statistics for April showing a 2.6% increase in total passengers compared to April 2017.

In a public statement to the ASX, mining and communications company Codan Limited (ASX: CDA) said it expects to report a stronger second-half profit result. Strong metal detector sales and a contract with BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) were catalysts for the improved outlook. Codan said, “the Board expects underlying net profit after tax for the year ending 30 June 2018 to be in the region of $38 million.”

In a separate announcement, Codan announced that its Minetec business was awarded a contract with BHP worth $9.5 million.

Finally, following the market’s close on Thursday Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) released the transcript of CEO Andrew Penn’s interview at JP Morgan’s TMT Conference earlier this week. Of particular note is Telstra’s stance on dividends.

Commenting on whether the current dividend policy is sustainable, or if a dividend cut will be necessary, CEO Andrew Penn had this to say:

“Look I think ultimately the dividend is going to be a matter for the Board. You know clearly we have confirmed our guidance for dividend this year at 22 cents and ultimately our ability to pay dividend obviously will be a function of the performance of the business and that’s going to be impacted by obviously the market dynamics.”

“I note we have over the last couple of years returned significant amount by virtue, by way of dividends as well as on market and off market buybacks so we have a history of doing capital management initiatives to make sure that we manage the balance sheet as effectively as possible.”

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