The market is up 46. The SFE Futures suggested a 21 point rise in the market this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 59 on Friday — It moved in a relatively large 75 point range and closed up for the eleventh time in 12 sessions mainly on the back of encouraging economic data. It was good news for inflation after the Producer Price Index came in unchanged and wholesale prices increased by a lower-than-expected 1% in March. Energy stocks finished higher for the week on the back of the oil price closing near $64 a barrel and retail stocks fell on the back of lower-than-expected consumer sentiment. The Dow had a good week posting its first back-to-back weekly gains since January. The NASDAQ had a good session on the back of takeover activity; Google announced it would buy DoubleClick for $3.1bn, its biggest acquisition yet. Merck was up 8.3%.

Resources all up today, BHP up 37c to 3022c and RIO up 145c to 8365c. Metals mixed on Friday, Copper up 0.2%, Aluminium down 0.8% and Zinc down 0.9%. Zinifex down 1c to 1560c. Nickel up 0.2%. Oil price down 24c to $63.63. First fall in 3 days on the back of colder-than-expected weather in the northeast of the US and a trade publication reporting a Texas refinery restarted operations ahead of schedule. Woodside up 6c to 3986c. Gold up $3.40. Newcrest up 3c to 2354c.

The market has begun the week in good shape. The G7 Meeting on Friday in Washington is making a few headlines. Main result is that the US$ has fallen further (A$ at US83.38) and that’s not good news for currency affected stocks. Good news for Gold though. G7 has left a clear road to US84c.

  • Energy Resources (ERA) up 9c to 2570c after announcing this morning that its 1Q uranium oxide output at its Ranger mine fell 28%. It reinstates its guidance saying its FY07 result is likely to be similar to 2006. All pretty much in line with expectations.
  • The AFR has reported this morning that Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) is still months away from selling its South Korean operations. CEO Terry Davis did say though that interest in the business had been stronger than anticipated. The initial offers are due by the end of this week, second offers unlikely until next month. CCL up 18c to 936c.
  • Austal (ASB) up 19c or 5.2% to 383c on the back of news that the US Navy cancelled its Littoral Combat Ship contract with rival shipbuilder Lockheed Martin. Bob Browning the CEO of the US operations, of course.
  • Tattersall’s (TTS) up 18c or 3.45% after announcing it has bought QLD’s states exclusive lottery operator, Golden Casket Lottery Corp. The acquisition will cost $530m and is expected to increase earnings per share in the 2008 financial year.
  • Woolworths (WOW) up 52c to 2878c. It has 3rd Q sales results tomorrow – unlikely to be bad news. ABN AMRO is expecting them to report a 8.8% increase to $10.6bn. Talk that they will partner KKR in a new bid for the Coles Group. Coles is ex dividend 19.5c this morning (CGJ down 14c to 1733c). Harvey Norman down 6c to 490c after going ex-dividend 5c.
  • Talk that Macquarie Bank (MBL) are going to make a higher offer for Alinta (AAN) early this week. The common expectation is that they will bid 1545c cash which would appear to top the Babcock & Brown consortium bid with a headline valuation of 1500c. AAN up 2c to 1502c, MBL up 95c to 8660c.

The main events on the company front this week are the Quarterly production numbers from Resources (RIO on Thursday, BHP next Tuesday), the US results season, Woolworths Quarterly sales numbers and the Rural Press shareholders vote on the Fairfax merger. If someone was going to bid for Fairfax you would have thought they’d have done it by now. Fairfax likely to lose some of the froth this week.

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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