Stocks to watch at close on Thursday

Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at the close on Thursday:

ABC - ADELAIDE BRIGHTON - up 29 cents, or 7.5 per cent, at $4.18

Construction materials group Adelaide Brighton expects prices and sales to increase this year after it notched up a record full year profit.

ASL - AUSDRILL - up one cent, or 2.6 per cent, at 40 cents

Mining services firm Ausdrill will cut more jobs as tumbling commodity prices drove a $177 million half year loss.

AWC - ALUMINA - down two cents, or 1.1 per cent, at $1.835

Alumina has slumped to a $US98.3 million full year loss after paying for a range of restructuring costs including closing the Port Henry Smelter in Victoria.

BBG - BILLABONG INTERNATIONAL - down 2.5 cents, or 3.9 per cent, at 61.5 cents

Billabong has swung into the black for the first time in three years thanks to asset sales, downsizing and cost cutting.

FAN - FANTASTIC HOLDINGS - up 14 cents, or 6.8 per cent, at $2.20

Furniture retailer Fantastic has issued a special dividend after lifting its half year profit 43 per cent.

GFF - GOODMAN FIELDER - steady at 67 cents

Shareholders in Australia's largest food maker have approved a $1.34 billion takeover by Singapore agribusiness Wilmar and Hong-Kong investment firm First Pacific.

NEC - NINE ENTERTAINMENT - up 17.5 cents, or 9.4 per cent, at $2.03

Nine Entertainment has tripled its half year profit and announced a $150 million share buyback.

PMP - PMP - down two cents, or 4.1 per cent, at 47 cents

Magazine, book and catalogue printer PMP has suffered a fall in earnings and revenue despite improvements in its business for self publishers.

PPT - PERPETUAL - down $1.24, or 2.3 per cent, at $53.59

Fund manager Perpetual has lifted its dividend to shareholders after a 76 per cent increase in its half year profit.

QAN - QANTAS AIRWAYS - up four cents, or 1.4 per cent, at $2.85

Qantas has swung back into profit, beating its own forecasts and bouncing back from losses of almost $3 billion.

RHC - RAMSAY HEALTHCARE - up $2.32, or 3.6 per cent, at $66.42

The head of Australia's biggest private hospitals operator says he expects health cover to continue to rise indefinitely by more than inflation and that Australians can afford the hikes.

SYD - SYDNEY AIRPORT - down 18 cents, or 3.5 per cent, at $5.00

Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather expects the number of Chinese visitors to Australia to soar in the coming years, particularly from regional cities.

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