THE SHAREMARKET HAS SLIPPED ON GROWING EXPECTATIONS OF INTERVENTION IN SYRIA. STOCKS FELL ACROSS THE BOARD. THE ALL ORDS IS OFF ONE PER CENT. THE SELLING CONTINUED IN ASIA. JAPAN'S NIKKEI LOST ONE-AND-A-HALF PER CENT. THE SPOT GOLD PRICE IS NEAR A 12-WEEK HIGH. OIL PRICES ARE RISING QUICKLY AS CONCERNS MOUNT THAT SUPPLY OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST WILL BE AFFECTED. UNSURPRISINGLY... RISK CURRENCIES LIKE THE AUSTRALIAN WAS SOLD DOWN OVERNIGHT. IT'S NEAR A THREE WEEK LOW.

THE HEAD OF RETAIL GIANT WOOLWORTHS HAS ARGUED THERE IS COMPETITION IN THE GROCERY MARKET. THE COMMENTS COME AS WOOLWORTHS POSTS A 24 PER CENT RISE IN ANNUAL PROFIT OF TWO-POINT-THREE BILLION DOLLARS. DURING THE YEAR IT'S FACED CRITICISM OVER ITS ANTI-COMPETITIVE BEHAVIOUR WITHIN THE FUEL AND GROCERY MARKETS. BUT CHIEF EXECUTIVE GRANT OBRIEN BRUSHED THIS OFF SAYING COMPETITION IS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT CONSUMERS ARE PAYING AROUND THREE PERCENT LESS FOR GOODS THIS YEAR.

TO THE MARKET REACTION TO THESE RESULTS... WOOLWORTHS JUMPED TWO PER CENT. WESFARMERS MANAGED GAINS IN A DOWN BEAT MARKET. AGL WAS AMONG THE BEST PERFORMERS AFTER ALMOST TRIPPLING ITS EARNINGS. BILLABONG AMONG THE WORST PERFORMERS. MARKET HEAVY WEIGHT BHP BILLITON FELL TWO-AND-A-HALF PER CENT.

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