The market is down 20. The SFE Futures suggested a 31 point rise in the market this morning.

The Dow Jones was 53 – It moved a 91 point range and closed in record territory on the back of the Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates on hold at 5.25%. The statement from the Federal Reserve was relatively unchanged from the previous month; it basically said reducing inflation remains the priority despite a slowing economy. In takeover news, Rio Tinto closed up 11.9% on the back of talk that rival BHP Billiton might bid for the company, and office supplier OfficeMax finished 7.9% higher after a broker report said it was likely to be bid for. Automakers closed lower after Toyota announced an expected slowdown in sales due to higher fuel prices and the NASDAQ closed slightly higher.

Resource doing well today. BHP up 15c to 3208c and RIO has given up some of yesterday’s gains, its share price is down 118c to 9432c. Metals down overnight. Aluminium down 0.3%, Zinc down 0.7% Zinifex up 19c to 1807c, and Copper 1.4%. Nickel down 3.5%. Oil price down 72c to $61.54 after the US government announced a larger-than-expected increase in US oil and fuel inventories. Woodside up 11c to 4352c. Gold down $4.90. Newcrest up 8c to 2324c.

The market is taking a breather today (as expected) and is a bit all over the place. RIO hit a record high of 9550c yesterday and nearly put an end to the race of which Australian stock would become the first to hit $100 a share. A few brokers this morning have said a RIO bid would not be out of the question and further consolidation in the industry is likely.

  • National Australia Bank (NAB) down 71c to 4335c despite its result coming in better-than-expected this morning but predictably after the recent price rises, the share price is going nowhere. Better to travel than arrive. Cash profit up 23% to $2.2bn, up from $1.79bn last year. Brokers were expecting something along the lines of $2.08bn. The interim dividend increased by 4c to 87c, up from 83c a year earlier and slightly better than the 86.5c dividend expected.
  • St. George Bank (SGB) Chief Executive Officer Steve McKerihan has decided to resign after 20 years with the bank. SGB has Michael Cameron lined up for the position once he joins the bank from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in July. SGB up 19c to 3642c.
  • Exco Resources (EXS) up 3c to 34c on news of an equity placement of 40.9 million shares at 30c, including 26.4 million shares to Ivanhoe Australia which will now own 12.2% of EXS, becoming its largest shareholder.
  • Austar (AUN) down 4c to 167c today on talk that Foxtel has walked away from a potential deal because of price according The Australian.
  • Tabcorp (TAH) down 28c to 1745. Looks like the share price is fizzling along with the takeover talk that Publishing & Broadcasting (PBL) will bid for it.
  • ARC Energy (ARQ) down 8c or 5.2% to 145c after a $90.4m “heavily oversubscribed” placement at $1.40c a share to institutional investors. The funds will be used to purchase some assets from Wandoo Petroleum.

We have a mini Buffett Biography in the MARCUS TODAY stock market newsletter today, highlighting his unique story and the investment principles he has used to accumulate a $40bn fortune.

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

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey