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Shares in Australia’s diversified company Wesfarmers Limited

Shares in Australia’s diversified company Wesfarmers Limited fell more than 2 percent after it reported a 0.3 percent rise in the first-half profit on Thursday.

At 1230 local time, Wesfarmers shares were 2.18 percent lower, at 29.20 AU dollars (31.18 U.S. dollars) while the broader market was down around 1.5 percent.

Wesfarmers said net profit after tax in the six months to Dec. 31, 2011 rose to 1.18 billion AU dollars (1.26 billion U.S. dollars), from 1.17 billion AU dollars (1.25 billion U.S. dollars) in the previous corresponding period.

Its diverse business operations cover supermarkets, department stores, home improvement and office supplies, coal mining, energy, insurance, chemicals and fertilizers, and industrial and safety products.

Wesfarmers said the company’s operating revenue for the half- year ended December 31, 2011 was 29.67 billion AU dollars (31.68 billion U.S. dollars), up 5.7 percent, from 28.07 billion AU dollars (29.97 billion U.S. dollars) a year earlier.

The company said it achieved retail earnings growth despite a tough trading environment with retail conditions affected by lower consumer confidence, widespread price deflation and increased levels of competition.

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