The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(^AXJO) is expected to open lower today, the USA’s S&P 500 Index (.INX) went up 0.07% on Friday.

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 70.92US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): down 0.25%

Oil (WTI): $US52.72 per barrel

Gold: $US1,314 per ounce

ASX Sharemarket News

In ASX sharemarket news, Australia’s largest rail freight operator, Aurizon Holdings Ltd (ASX: AZJ), has announced its half year result to 31 December 2018.

Aurizon has revealed that revenue fell by 7% compared to the December 2017 half year. EBIT dropped by 16% to $406 million (click here to learn what EBIT means). Net profit after tax fell by 19% to $227 million. As a result of the profit decline, Aurizon reduced the dividend by 19% to 11.4 cents per share. In coal, volumes were impacted by supply chain constraints, weather events and protected industrial action.

Aurizon CEO Andrew Harding said: “Our confidence in the outlook for Australia’s coal export markets is driving a national growth plan in our Coal business. Since FY17, we have invested $110 million of capital in NSW to support tonnage growth.


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Electronics and home appliance business JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) has also reported its FY19 half year report.

Total sales were up 4.2% to $3.8 billion, with positive comparable sales growth across all brands. EBIT grew by 4.8% to $236.6 million and net profit after tax increased by 5.5% to $160.1 million. As a result of the profit growth, JB Hi-Fi increased its interim dividend by 5.8%.

JB Hi-Fi CEO Richard Murray commented, “In a competitive environment we remained focused on sales and market share whilst continuing to evolve the business.”

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Packaging business Amcor Limited (ASX: AMC) has announced a statutory profit of US$267.6 million for the December 2018 half year.

On an underlying business, the company said that underlying profit after tax (PAT) increased by 3.4% compared to last year.

Amcor CEO Ron Delia said: “Amcor had a good first half year with earnings growth in line with our expectations and balanced across the Flexibles and Rigids packaging segments.”

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Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are changing the world of investing. But with so many on the ASX, it's hard to know which ETF will be a top performer in 2019.

Every financial Tom, Dick and Harry seems to 'launching' (read: flogging) an ETF to investors. In our humble opinion, most of them could be a waste of time - and money. Worse, many of them could fail!

Here's the best part: we're willing to release the name and ASX ticker code of the ETF we've identified as our #1 for 2019.

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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).