The market is up 28. The SFE Futures suggested an 18 point rise in the market this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 30 – It moved in a relatively narrow 126 point range and finished lower, its seventh loss in nine sessions on the back of energy stocks closing down thanks to a falling oil price (below $70) and investors still being unsure as to whether the Federal Reserve’s move to lower rates has been enough to stabilise the credit markets. The Fed had to inject another $3.75bn of overnight liquidity suggesting the rate cut has not been enough. There is still a flight to quality going on as well….something that wouldn’t be necessary if the market thought the Fed had the problem in hand already. Oil stocks took a hammering after Hurricane Dean missed US oil fields and was downgraded to Category 1, Exxon Mobil fell 1.6% and ConocoPhillips closed down 2%. With no major economic news released, earnings results took the spotlight and delivered mostly good news. Target Corp. closed up 2.5% after announcing a 13% in net profit and Wholesale Club Inc. reported a better-than-expected 37% increase in 2Q profit. The NASDAQ finished higher for the third consecutive session, putting on 0.5%. Apple Inc. put on 4.4% after announcing they may sell more than iPhones (800,000) this quarter than analysts expected. (730,000)

Resources mixed today…BHP up 15c to 3566c, looks undecided on which way it wants to go ahead of their results today. The results are expected this afternoon to coincide with the UK market opening (came out at 3.54pm last year). RIO down 39c to 8591c. Metals mixed overnight, Copper down 0.6%, Zinc down 2.7% and Nickel up 4%. Nickel stocks are up…Minara up 6%, Independence Group 8.2%, Mirabela up 9.0%. Aluminium was unchanged. Zinifex down 32c to 1615c. Oil price down $1.63 to $69.49 after Hurricane Dean missed US oil fields and was downgraded to a Category 1 storm by the US National Hurricane Centre. Woodside up 41c to 4141c. Gold down 30c. Newcrest up 36c to 2542.

  • Brambles (BXB) down 14c to 1325c after announcing a poor result this morning. NPAT down 12% to US$1.29bn from US$1.46bn – revenue up 10% to US$3.87bn from US$3.52bn last year and they declared a final dividend of 17c, up from 13.5c. They have a positive outlook for 2008 saying it should be another year of strong cash flow generation.
  • Woodside (WPL) up 85c to 4185c – they announced a 16% in 1H07 NPAT to $610.1m, slightly better than analysts expected. UBS Warburg expected them to announce a 1H net profit before significant item of $556.9m. They have a BUY recommendation on the stock and a 5093c target price. WPL, like the overall market has had a shocker of a month, down 10% but up 3% this week.
  • Healthscope (HSP), who has made a friendly $2.86bn takeover offer for rival Symbion Health (SYB), up 7c to 544c. Net profit after tax but before significant items was up 39% to $68.7m, up from $49.6m, analysts were expecting $70.1m. They declared a final dividend of 9c compared to 7.5c last year.
  • Their takeover target, Symbion Health (SYB) announced a solid profit despite being irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things. NPAT up 10.5% to $105.6m on revenue of $3,779.2m, up 11.1%. They also declared a fully franked final dividend of 5c. SYB up 2c to 402c.
  • Perpetual (PPT) down 6c to 7574c after announcing an expected FY07 operating profit of $145.3m, up 19% from last year. (Macquarie Bank expected $148m) Funds under management up 18% to $39.1bn and company says it expects strength in equity markets and solid inflow of funds from retail and institutional investors.
  • Downer EDI (DOW) up another 32c or 5.7% to 593c today on the back their profit result yesterday. They have received some positive broker feedback this morning, both ABN AMRO and JPMorgan upped their recommendations to BUY and OVERWEIGHT respectively. JP Morgan have a 695c target price.

There is an article in the Marcus Today newsletter today called The Idiots Guide to building an Australian equity portfolio – Step 6. We also have an article with a view on the market and another listing the stocks that have contributed the most to the fall in the All Ords index recently. Twenty stocks accounted for 48% of the fall. Fifty stocks accounted for 79% of the fall.

We await BHP’s results.

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