Our market is up 92 – outperforming the 32 point rise the SFE Futures predicted. The US market was closed for Thanksgiving Day. We have received a strong lead from the European markets — Resources outperforming, thanks mainly to BHP and RIO jumping 5.9% and 7.0% respectively. Metal stocks are all up. Energy stocks are doing well despite the slight fall in the oil price overnight. Financials are flat and the main banks are mostly down.

Making the news today…

  • The Age has a front page business section story about AWB Ltd (AWB) and ABB Grain being in a $2.3bn merger. They say discussions are at an early stage. Both stocks are doing well today on the back of the news.
  • Babcock & Brown (BNB) is hoping to convince its banking syndicate to approve a short-term $100m funding lifeline according to The Australian.
  • Moody’s has lowered Boral’s (BLD) long-term rating to Baa2 from Baa1 on “review of possible downgrades”.
  • Cockatoo Coal (COK) has provided an update on their Wiggins Island Coal Export project.
  • FKP Property Group (FKP) says it won’t pay a dividend this year and will retain cash due to the global liquidity crisis.
  • Chairman of Macquarie Group (GMG) David Clarke will take six months leave for health reasons.
  • OMH Holdings (OMH) said Consolidated Minerals has acquired a 10% stake in them.
  • Oz Minerals (OZL) was placed in a trading halt earlier this morning as it waits on an answer from lenders on a request for an extension of its debt facilities.
  • FKP Property Group (FKP) said it raised $104.5m in a non-renounceable share entitlement offer to pay debt and fund its development pipeline.
  • GPT Group (GPT) complete their $1.6bn capital raising.
  • UXC Limited (UXC) wins $25m in contracts and contract extensions.

Broker Stuff today…

  • A few broker recommendations and comments on BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) this morning now that there are no restrictions since BHP walked away from their 3.4-for-1 share takeover offer. ABN AMRO says Buy BHP and Macquarie Equities expect it to Outperform, but they have a Neutral recommendation on RIO on concerns about their balance sheet.
  • J.P. Morgan maintain their Overweight recommendation on Woolworths (WOW) after its AGM yesterday despite cutting their target price slightly to 3000c from 3100c.
  • Brambles (BXB) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy by Merrill Lynch saying margin pressures are “more cyclical than structural,” but they do expect US growth to slow. They also cut their target price to 804c from 937c.

In other news…

  • US Market Stockmarket closes early tonight at 1pm as does the bond market at 2pm.
  • It is also Black Friday in the US – the biggest shopping day of the year and the feedback on retail sales over the weekend is seen as a lead indicator of consumer sentiment and spending.
  • The RBA meets next week and is expected to cut rates by 50bp to 100bp.

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

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