WESFARMERS... THE OWNER OF COLES... CONTINUES TO DEFY THE RETAIL DOWNTURN POSTING A NINE PER CENT RISE IN PROFITS.

HALF YEAR NET EARNINGS REACHED ONE-POINT-TWO-NINE BILLION DOLLARS

GROSS EARNINGS FROM COLES ROSE 15 PER CENT IN THE HALF... WHILE EARNINGS FOR HARDWARE CHAIN BUNNINGS GREW NEARLY SEVEN ...

THE INTERIM DIVIDEND IS UP 10 PER CENT TO 77 CENTS, FULLY FRANKED.

PETER ESHO... FROM CITY INDEX.. SAYS FOOD AND LIQUOR SALES ARE KEY TO WESFARMERS STRONG RESULT.

INVESTORS WELCOMED THE MOVE...

SHARES IN WESFARMERS FINISHED UP JUST OVER ONE PER CENT ...

DJS SHARES FELL ON ITS POOR SALES REPORT.

SHARES IN ENGINEERING FIRM DOWNER EDI JUMPED ON ITS EARNINGS

SINGTEL... OWNER OF OPTUS WENT THE OTHER WAY ON A NINE PER CENT SLIDE IN Q3 PROFITS.

AND RIO TINTO SHARES ROSE AHEAD OF ITS RESULT

THE ASX 200 POINT-EIGHT PER CENT CENT

LOOKING ACROSS THE REGION...

NIKKEI UP HALF A PER CENT

LOOKING AT COMMODITY MARKETS... AND GOLD IS UP WHILE TAPIS AND CRUDE ARE DOWN

TO CURRENCIES AND THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS BUYING AROUND 103 DOLLARS AND 50 CENTS.