Stocks of the Hour: National Australia Bank, Qantas & QBE Insurance

Company News

by Lauren Evans

National Australia Bank’s (ASX:NAB) expenses rose 2.6 per cent “reflecting additional bankers and resources to support growth.” However, the bank raised cash earnings by 4.1 per cent in the half year ending March 31 to $3.48 billion, and hiked its interim dividend to 73 cents, compared to 67 cents in the prior year period. Shares are trading 1.4 per cent lower at $32.00.

Qantas (ASX:QAN) is set buy the remaining 80 per cent stake in Alliance with the aim to raise $614 million in a share placement to pay for the deal. The transaction will not impact its long-term partnership with Alliance, where Alliance operates jets for QantasLink. Shares are trading 1.6 per cent lower at $5.58.

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) said that the year has started strongly with premium growth with a combined operating ratio of 94 per cent. A ratio above 100 per cent means that they are running at a loss. The insurer also said that new growth came from crop insurance, with premiums in the year likely to be US$3.3 billion, up from US$2.7 billion a year earlier. Shares are trading 3.5 per cent higher at $12.44.

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