The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(^AXJO) is expected to open higher today, the USA’s S&P 500 Index (.INX) was flat on Friday.

Here are the data points:

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 72.09 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): down 0.03%

Oil (WTI): $US51.59 per barrel

Gold: $US1,288 per ounce

ASX Sharemarket News

In ASX sharemarket news, Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) has announced guidance and news about its upcoming December 2018 result. The retail conglomerate reminded investors that it had sold a number of assets & businesses during the period, leading to net debt reducing by $3.3 billion to $0.3 billion at the end of December 2018.

Some of those gains on the sales included: a $670 million to $680 million gain on Bengalla, a $265 million to $275 million gain on Kmart Tyre and Auto, a US$98 million gain on its Quadrant Energy interest and a $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion gain of the demerger of Coles. There will also be a $130 million to $150 million provision for the modernisation of the Coles supply chain.

Wesfarmers also revealed that Kmart total sales increased by 1% in the half year result, with comparable sales declining 0.6%. Target sales increased by 0.2% with comparable sales increasing by 0.5%.

The Managing Director of Wesfarmers Rob Scott said: “Wesfarmers enters the new calendar year with a strong balance sheet and operating businesses well positioned for the future.”


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Funds management business Pendal Group Ltd (ASX: PDL), formerly known as BT, revealed its funds under management (FUM) update for December 2018. The ‘FUM’ fell by $8.8 billion due to adverse markets. Pendal outlined that the fall would decrease annualised fee income by $3.2 million.

J O Hambro Capital Management (JOHCM), a Pendal UK-based business, generated performance fees of $4.4 million, which will add $1.9 million to the profit after tax figure. This compares to last year’s performance fees of $47.5 million, which added $17.8 million to profit after tax.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and its big bank peers may be examined by investors this morning with the Australian Financial Review reporting the banks are worried they won’t be able to meet APRA’s capital demands if they have to raise funds in the Tier II bond market.

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Disclaimer: Any information contained in this article is limited to general financial/investment advice only. The information has not taken into account your specific needs, goals or objectives, so please consider consulting a licenced and trusted adviser before acting on the information. Please read The Rask Group’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information. This article is authorised by Owen Raszkiewicz of The Rask Group, which is a corporate authorised representative No. 1264179 of Strawman Pty Ltd (ACN: 610 908 211) (AFSL: 501 223).