The market is up 33. It was up 36 at the peak. Not a bad performance in the face of a 131 point fall on Wall St and a 35 point fall in the Futures this morning. Main driver was a fall in the US dollar lifting commodities, metals, oil and gold. Financials down 0.7% following the lead from the US on unrelenting credit market concerns. Resources up 2.5% with metal prices well up — nickel up 7%. Nickel stocks flying as are copper stocks.

The Dow Jones closed down 131. Down all session — down 161 at worst. Main drivers: Wholesale prices (PPI) rose at twice the rate expected, housing starts and permits down steeply, oil up, and financials down on unrelenting credit market concerns. Homebuilders hammered. Resources up with metal prices well up — nickel up 7%. 8 out of 10 sectors down. Steepest 2-day fall since June. It was economic data that did the damage. July Producer Price Index up 1.2% above consensus of 0.6% – not a complete surprise after last week’s high CPI numbers, July Housing Starts down steeply losing 11% – fell to an annualised rate of 965,000 — a touch above the consensus of 960,000 and Building Permits also down 17.7% to 937,000 annualised rate — well below consensus of 970,000. The NASDAQ also closed down 1.35%.

  • Both BHP and RIO up in ADR form overnight, 1.47% and 2.88% respectively.
  • Metals had a great night – Nickel up a big 7.3%, Zinc up 4.8% and Copper up 3.31%. Aluminium up 0.89%.
  • Oil price up $1.47 to $114.39 despite the easing threat from Tropical Storm Fay.
  • Gold up $11.20 to $813.00
  • US Bonds down with the 10 year yield up to 3.84% from 3.82%.

Results today…

  • AGL Energy (AGK) — GOOD — FY net profit (excluding significant items) increased to $355.5m, up 7.6%, slightly ahead of the $355.1m analysts’ expected. AGK up 4% to 1447c.
  • Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) — BETTER THAN EXPECTED — Announces a 22% increase in 1H net profit to $171.9m from $140.9m, ahead of GSJB Were’s expectations of $168m and JP Morgan’s forecast of $167.6m. CCL up 5.3% to 836c.
  • Macquarie Airports (MAP) — Reports a net loss of $274.3m for the 1H, compared to a $939.2m last year. MAP 7.8% to 304c.
  • Pacific Brands (PBG) — IN LINE — Announce a FY net profit of $116.6m in line with analysts’ expectations of $117.2m and management guidance. PBG down 3c to 204c.
  • Brambles (BXB) — OK — Profit result has come in 50% lower at $648.7m from $1.29bn last year, which was helped by several asset sales. UBS Warburg expected $608.6m. BXB down 8% to 777c.
  • Centennial Coal (CEY) — GOOD — announces a net profit of $288.6m, up from $3.3m last year helped by the sale of the Anvil Hill project and the company’s stake in Austral Coal. UBS Warburg expected $280m. CEY up 5.7% to 497c.
  • Perpetual (PPT) has announced a 29% fall in net profit to $128.8m, down from $182.1m. Funds under management took a hiding thanks to the volatile markets. PPT down 54c to 4536c.
  • Crown (CWN) announces a normalized net profit of $370.1m. Analysts’ expected a profit of $376.5m, GSJB Were expected $363.2m. CWN down 2.4% to 803c.
  • James Hardie (JHX) announces a $US1.4m profit for the 1Q, down 96%. Excluding asbestos — result came in at $US41.6m, down 39%. GSJB Were expected $35.9m. JHX down 5.6% to 425c
  • Ausenco (AAX) has announced a $28m 1H net profit, up 55%. Good result considering GSJB Were expected $18.3m. AAX up a big 15% to 1348c.
  • Macmahon Holdings (MAH) — GOOD — Reports a 9.7% rise in net profit to $48.8m. Analysts’ expected $47.2m. MAH up 2.4% to 152.

Other announcements…

  • Babcock & Brown (BNB) in a trading halt — its directors will consider changes to its management. Talk is that CEO Phil Green will be replaced. The stock closed down 24% yesterday. Board will meet on August 21 (tomorrow) the same day it announces its result. BNB last traded at 345c.
  • Orica (ORI) says FY08 expectations haven’t changed and that speculation about an earnings downgrade is incorrect. It does concede the Australian dollar will reduce earnings. ORI down 2.5% to 2325c.
  • Sims Group (SGM) expects its FY net profit to exceed consensus market estimates of $364m by around 10-15%. SGM expected to release its result on August 29. SGM up 1.8% to 3115c.
  • MYOB (MYO) has acquired SmartyHost Web Hosting Services for $7m.
  • Perilya (PEM) is in a trading halt pending an announcement on the company’s Broken Hill operations and Hedge Book expected by Friday.
  • Leighton Holdings is ex entitlement to the rights issue today. LEI up 3% to 4321c.

MARCUS PADLEY is the Author of the MARCUS TODAY Daily Stockmarket Newsletter.

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