Looks like the good times in resources will keep on rolling,
with mining giant Rio Tinto announcing plans for a bumper $US4 billion ($5.3
billion) capital return, double the market’s expectations. Which should clear up any lingering doubts about the impact of China
on this country, says Malcolm
Maiden
in The Age.
As well as giving BHP directors something to think about on day two of
their Melbourne board meeting today, says John Durie on the Financial Review‘s back page (not online).

The current spat between Toll Holdings and the ACCC hinges
on whether or not Toll can change its mind and decide to walk away from its bid
for Patrick Corp., says Bryan Frith in The Australian.
Toll is today
expected to confirm a further extension of the bid – for at least a month. Meanwhile, speculation is
rife that Patrick is set to buy Linfox, says Durie.

Robert Gottliebsen is at the World Economic Forum in Davos where the Chinese have announced the
outline of their coming five-year plan, making those with iron ore interests a
little nervous.

Hutchison Telecom’s decision this week to merge its two
mobile brands, Orange and 3, and migrate Orange’s 2G CDMA network customers to
3’s 3G network, heralds the next phase in the already torrid battle for telco
customers, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Smage. It’s also a very bold
move.

It didn’t take long; Forbes
Asia
puts James Packer at the top of its rich list. And another day, another broker slapping a sell on Telstra, says
Michael Evans in The SMH – but this time it’s someone
from inside the T3 tent.

As the Enron trial continues in Houston
evidence has emerged that the company hid losses. No! – The Motley Fool dusts off a January 2001 radio interview they
hosted with then Enron prez and COO
Jeffrey Skilling, on his views of the California
power shortage, among other things. Skilling now faces 31 counts of conspiracy,
fraud, insider trading, and lying to the company’s auditors.

On Wall Street, Amazon announces a fourth-quarter
profit down 43% from last year, thanks to higher costs and lower-than-expected
sales. US stocks finished lower Thursday, partly on
speculation America
may raise its terror alert level. The Dow Jones was down 101.97 points at
10,851.98.

Peter Fray

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