S&P/ASX 200 Morning News

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): 71.92 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): up 0.1%

Oil (WTI): $US68.63 per barrel

Gold: $US1,202 per ounce

Australian Investing News

Investors will again be watching Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) after the telecommunications company revised downwards its 2019 profit guidance.

In a statement to the ASX, Telstra noted that its previous estimate for how many homes would be nbn ready in 2019 was slightly ahead of current rates. An updated nbn Corporate Plan 2019 means Telstra’s total income is expected to decline by $300 million from the previous range of between $26.5 billion and $28.4 billion.

However, Telstra said the updated guidance will not affect the company’s free cash flow in 2019, which is expected to fall to between $3.1 billion and $3.6 billion.

Telstra has been a focal point for investors and the media in recent times following the landmark announcement by TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) and Hutchison Vodafone Australia Ltd (ASX: HTA) to merge and become a $15 billion competitor. We covered the TPG-Vodafone Australia tie-up in detail in this article.

Also making headlines today, pharmacy business Sigma Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SIG) publicly released its 2018 half-year financial report to investors showing a 2% fall in revenue to $1.96 billion and a profit of $13.8 million, down 51%. A dividend of 1.5 cents per share was declared.

Sigma’s CEO Mark Hooper said, “The twin impacts of ongoing PBS pricing reform and the continuation of manufacturer exclusive direct distribution continue to weigh on the industry and our results.” 

However, Hooper said Sigma expects to achieve its 2019 underlying operating profit guidance. “We are on track to meet FY19 guidance of Underlying EBIT of $75 million, with the 2H19 set to benefit from cost savings already achieved in the business.”

Sigma’s first-half underlying EBIT result was down 23% to $25 million. Click here to learn what EBIT means.

Finally, Sydney-based aerial imagery company Nearmap Ltd (ASX: NEA) announced it will sell $70 million worth of new shares to institutional investors to pursue, “key strategic objectives and provide additional balance sheet flexibility.”

Nearmap said the money from the share sale will be used in sales and marketing, for organic and acquisitive technology developments and for “strategic flexibility”. The new shares have been offered to large investors only at an 11% discount ($1.60) to the last traded price of $1.80. The capital raising is fully backed by Macquarie Capital and Canaccord Genuity.

Click here to learn what ‘capital raising’ means

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