The market is down 27. The SFE Futures suggested a 6 point rise in the market this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 65.

ASIAN MARKETS CLOSED.

RIO REJECTS BHP – A lot of commentary on the BHP bid for RIO. Main development is this statement from RIO – they have REJECTED the bid: Main quote “BHP Billiton’s offers, while improved, still fail to recognize the underlying value of Rio Tinto’s quality assets and prospects. Our plans are unchanged, and will remain so unless a proposal is made that fully reflects the value of Rio Tinto”. The immediate interpretation is that they would accept an offer in the “right ballpark” … which by implication from the “two ballparks away” comment is 5 to 1. In other words the debate is about value not principle. The rejection is not a surprise but is not good for the RIO price this morning. Looks like the whole process is going to be hard and long fought, something that will cool the resolve of traders looking for short term upside. BHP down 25c to 3641c and RIO down 164c to 12550c. ABN AMRO cut its target price on BHP to 4472c but maintained their BUY recommendation after its profit result yesterday. There are remarkably few bits of research out on BHP today. Seems everyone is an advisor and therefore muzzled.

Resource sector slightly down today. Metals up all down overnight, Copper up 2.7%, Nickel up .04% and Zinc up 0.6%. Aluminium up 0.8%. Zinifex down 11c to 957c. Oil price down $1.16 to $87.16 after a government report announced an unexpected jump in crude inventories. Woodside down 15c to 4615c. Gold up $14.80. Newcrest up 35c to 3470c.

Not a lot going on today…

  • The National Bank have had their AGM – They reaffirm profit guidance. Share price has jumped 75c off its low and is lifting the whole bank sector – relief that there is no major credit market fall out. NAB now 3280c up 2c and up from a low of 3201c. Bodes well for the CBA results next week that everyone has been worrying about
  • Corporate Express (CXP) released its earnings numbers this morning. FY NPAT was a little under expectations. CXP down 2c to 582c.
  • Futuris Corp (FCL) announced an 18% fall in 1H. FCL unchanged at 215c.
  • According to The Australian, Wesfarmers (WES) will announce its new Coles supermarket boss today. WES down 39c to 3664c.
  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA) yesterday upped its variable home mortgage rate by 30bp to 9.08%, higher than the 25bp increase by the Reserve bank. CBA have results next week. CBA down 45c to 4810c.
  • Mineral Deposits (MDL) up 4c to 111c after it organized a debt package of US$130m.
  • API (API) up 5% to 160c after announcing an 18% increase in 5 months sales.
  • Origin Energy (ORG) has bought Woodside Petroleum’s (WPL) 62.5% interest in the Halladale Black Watch exploration permit. ORG down 11c to 865c and WPL down 3c to 4629c.
  • Macquarie Equities maintain their NEUTRAL recommendation on AXA Asia Pacific (AXA) after it announced its FY07 cashflows yesterday. They have a 695c target price. Now 590c.
  • Citigroup are still happy to BUY Macquarie Bank (MQG) despite the company’s operational briefing suggesting the majority of its business will report lower profit in 2H08 and CEO & MD Allan Moss announcing his retirement. They have a 8048c target price. Now up 160c to 6270c.
  • Goldman Sachs JBWere maintain their BUY recommendation on Telstra (TLS) and 485c target price. TLS up 3c to 451c.

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Peter Fray

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