The market is DOWN 16. The SFE Futures suggested a 3 point fall in the market this morning.

The Dow Jones was up 19 – Wall St moved in a narrow 46 point range and closed higher for the fifth consecutive session on the back of encouraging earnings results and another fall in the oil price. There was a bit economic data around but nothing significant. The oil price fell almost a dollar during the session after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad released the 15 British sailors and marines held in captivity for 13 days saying, “Their release will be given to the British population as a gift”. The NASDAQ also closed up for fifth day on the trot thanks to an improved profit forecast from Microsoft and computer stocks Oracle Corp and Cisco Systems hitting five week highs.

Resources mixed today. BHP down 22c to 3042c and RIO down 75c to 8024c. Metals all up overnight, Nickel up 1.6%, Copper up 2.5% and Aluminium 0.9%. Zinc was the big gainer, up 6.9%. Zinifex up 28c 1564c. Oil price down 19c to $64.40 after the 15 British sailors and Marines who were being held captive were released by Iran. The decision was a big surprise, only because the Iranian president left it to the last minute to announce his decision after an hour-long talk accusing the US and its allies of developing nuclear weapons. Woodside up 5c to 3883c. Gold down $8.10. Newcrest up 15c to 2415c.

A little quiet today, as one would expect leading into the Easter break. The market closes early (at 2:10pm) and is closed on Friday and Monday.

  • The talk is that Macquarie Bank are canvassing institutions about launching a 1545c cash bid for Alinta. Alinta have put out a fairly lengthy explanation (rebuttal) of the Macquarie consortium’s original bid for Alinta this morning. If Macquarie does bid and is successful Macquarie will be up for a “break fee” payable to Babcock & Brown. MBL down 25c to 8393c, BNB up 14c to 2814c and ANN down 3c to 1154c.
  • Coles Group (CGJ) up another 14c to 1700c today on speculation that a higher bidder will emerge. Talk this morning of Woolworths (WOW) showing some interest in Coles assets. Might have a few ACCC problems. Wesfarmers (WES) who made a 1647c cash bid for Coels yesterday is flying today, up 51c to 3911c. WOW down 19c to 2766c. It’s up two dollars since its bid.
  • Boart Longyear (BLY) listed today and managed a 2c premium to its 185c issue price. It was the biggest IPO in the past year, raising $2.35bn. More than a few people have suggested you avoid the listing, it’s OK to sell to private equity but not such a good idea to buy from them. The private equity firms selling BLY have made five times their money in two years. It follows a similarly disappointing IPOs of mining services company Emeco (EHL) and explosives company Dyno Nobel (DXL).
  • TABCORP Holdings (TAH) up 8c to 1668c. It appointed John O’Neil (former Australian soccer boss) as a Director of TAH, subject to regulatory approval. Hopefully he’ll kick a few goals for them.
  • Oxiana (OXR) up 10c to 313c. It was the talk of the town yesterday afternoon up 7.5% as 28m shares were crossed at 295c (up from 281c the day before). 75m shares traded yesterday. The seller of the 28m shares (2% of the company) is thought to be Newmont Mining selling the stock they got through the recent OXR acquisition of Agincourt Resources and selling to an institution.
  • Austar (AUN) down 2.5c to 167c. It announced yesterday it had been approached by number of parties. One broker believes it would attract a broad range of buyers and would particularly appeal to newspapers of free-to-air companies.
  • The US Department of Justice has approved the Cemex bid for Rinker. Rinker up 40c to 1847c.

You have until 7pm tonight to get your tender forms for the off-market buyback of Foster’s into the registrar. They will be sending $400m worth of cash out to shareholders on the 17 April. Should make for a good week in the stock.

Where are all those bids in the media sector?

THE MORNING MARKET REPORT is provided by the MARCUS TODAY daily stockmarket newsletter. You can subscribe for a free five day trial here.