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S&P/ASX 200 News Today

Here are the headlines from the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(ASX: XJO) and Australian finance circles on Thursday morning.

But first, here are the data points:

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 73.08 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): up 0.2%

Oil (WTI): $US69.67 per barrel

Gold: $US1,212 per ounce

Australian Investing News

Making finance news today are a host of ASX 200 companies which release their financial results as part of the last week of Reporting Season.

TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) and Vodafone Hutchison Australia Ltd (ASX: HTA) have announced a merger of equals which will create a $15 billion telecommunication heavyweight.

Read more: TPG’s $15 billion Merger With Hutchison Vodafone

Private hospital operator Ramsay Health Care Group Ltd (ASX: RHC) released its 2018 financial report to the market revealing a 5.5% increase in revenue and a 20% fall in profit to $388 million.

“Despite the headwinds we faced in all our markets, Ramsay Health Care has delivered a good result driven by the quality, diversity and scale of our hospitals, which continue to achieve above market growth, as well as our disciplined cost management focus,” Ramsay’s Managing Director Craig McNally said.

A proposed final dividend of 86.5 cents per share was declared, fully franked (click here to learn what franking means).

Read more: Ramsay’s Tough Year

Funds management firm Perpetual Limited (ASX: PPT) reported a 4% increase in revenue for its 2018 financial year with a profit of $140 million, up 2%. A final dividend of $1.40 per share was declared.

Chris Green, Perpetual’s CEO, said the company maintained its market share despite challenging conditions.

“Perpetual Investments this year maintained its market share position in Australian Equities in challenging conditions for a true-to-label value manager,” Green said.

“Both Perpetual Private and Perpetual Corporate Trust delivered double-digital profit growth, building on strong client support and positive market conditions.”

Slater & Gordon Ltd (ASX: SGH) filed its 2018 full-year results showing a 12% decline in revenue and operating cash outflows of $8 million, up from outflows of $22 million last year. CEO James MacKenzie said the results in 2018 reflected the group’s ongoing transformation program.

“The last twelve months have been a period of significant change for Slater & Gordon,” MacKenzie noted. “We have implemented a strong program of initiatives we believe will set us up for long-term sustainability so we can continue to unlock access to justice for the thousands of Australians who need our help.”

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