The market is down 12. It has been up 13 and down 55. The SFE Futures suggested a 14 point rise in the market this morning.

Dow Jones was up 46 – It was up 110 at its best and down 40 at worst ending the worst quarter since 2002 – Dow Jones down 8% on the Q. In Australia is has been the worst Q since 1987 down 15.5%. The S&P 500 has had its longest losing streak (5 months) since 1990, ending just under 10% down for the quarter as the world’s largest financial institutions made in excess of $200 billion in write downs. NASDAQ down 14%. The MSCI World index is down 9.5%. Financials up 0.9% after the Treasuries’ 218 page plan for a financial system overhaul was spruiked as a potential positive for the sector. Realistically the changes will take years to implement and before they come into effect there will be a new President, a new White House Administration and it will all need legislative approval. In economic news, Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose to 48.2 in March better than the 47.3 expected by economists, but still below the 50.0 mark, denoting a contraction in manufacturing activity.

  • Both BHP and RIO up in ADR form overnight, 0.44% and 1.06% respectively. BHP up 39c to 3620c and RIO up 126c to 12376c.
  • Metals all down overnight – Zinc down 1.3%, Nickel down 2.5% and Aluminium 0.8%. Copper down 0.2%. Zinifex down 43c to 957c.
  • Oil price down $4.05 to $101.54 on the back news of calm in Iraq, where two attacks on oil pipelines occurred last week. Woodside down 62c to 5388c.
  • Gold down $14.40. Newcrest down 27c to 3310c.
  • US Bonds up with the 10 year yield down to 3.41% from 3.45%.

RBA Meeting – Interest Rate Decision 2:30pm. RBA expected to keep rates on Hold…for a change.

OPES Prime continue to dominate the headlines. Suggestions that the Administrator is open to the idea of doing placements to groups of investors in illiquid stocks rather than dumping them on the market. More on the OPES story in today’s newsletter including a Letter from one of the Victims and I invite anyone to email their own experience to me at [email protected]. I will publish those that are appropriate. Putting pen to paper can help. I will not publish unless asked to and no names unless requested to be included.

  • Midwest Corp (MIS) has announced a FY net loss of $6.4m for 2007 compared to a profit of $2.1m last year. MIS up 9c to 615c
  • WorleyParsons (WOR) announced the acquisition of Intec Engineering, the hydrocarbons engineering and services company from Heerema Group for $118.7m. Talk is it raised $144.5n in the US private placement note market. WOR up 18c to 3365c.
  • Provincial government-owned utility, Manitoba Hydro, said it will negotiate with a subsidiary of Babcock & Brown (BNB) to build a new wind farm in the Canadian Prairie province. BNB down 14c to 1458c.
  • MYOB has agreed to sell its UK and Ireland Accountants Division to Wolters Kluwer for $77.2m cash. MYO down 1.5c to 151.5c.
  • ROC Oil (ROC), Arc Energy (ARQ) and Australian World Exploration (AWE) all down after ROC announced previous drilling result from their Dunsborough-2 well might be non-producible. ROC down 25c or 10% to 207c, ARQ down 10.8% to 111c and AWE down 4.8% to 336c.
  • Credit Suisse expects Oil Search’s (OSH) PNG LNG FEED decision this week despite it originally being expected at 1Q08. OSH up 12c to 495c.
  • Talk is that ANZ Bank (ANZ) is one of the shortlisted parties to buy a controlling stake in Wing Lung Bank, a Hong Kong lender.
  • AWB rose 9.6% yesterday but is down 5.8% today to 259c. The US wheat growers’ lawsuit alleging AWB’s conspiracy with the Iraqi Government to undermine the UN’s Oil-for-food program has been turfed out of court.
  • Mount Gibson Iron (MGX) down 2.1% to 281c after the Takeover Panel order the sale of Gazmetal’s 19.7% stake to China’s Shougang be cancelled.

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