The market is up 27. The SFE Futures suggested a 45 point rise this morning. All sectors bar telecom and healthcare up. Property leading the way — up 2.9%. Banks mixed — NAB down 1.4% and CBA up 1.4%. BOQ down 4% on 1H results. Resources up — BHP and RIO up 1.3% and 1.5%. Major gold stocks down despite the $2 rise in the gold price.

Dow Jones up 47. Up 98 at best. Down 39 at worst. The two day slide comes to an end. Volumes low ahead of the Easter break. Financials down. According to reports, Treasury is planning to extend TARP bailout funds to Insurers. Insurance stocks up 6.3%. Technology stocks also led the way. The SEC is looking to vote on shortselling restrictions. Homebuilders up on Pulte Homes bidding for Centex at a premium. Home retailers up on some better-than-expected March quarter results from Bed Bath and Beyond. Wholesale inventories had a record fall in February. FOMC minutes reveal fears about vicious cycle of high unemployment and slumping business and consumer spending. BHP and RIO mixed in ADR form overnight — BHP down 0.31% and RIO up 4.58%. Metals all up. Oil price up 0.5% to $49.37. Gold up. Bonds down. A$/US$ down 0.08% to 70.98c.

Bank of Queensland (BOQ) posted 1H09 NPAT down to $46.3m from $61.7m a year ago and cut its interim dividend to 26c per share from 35c a year ago. Most analysts had expected the bank to maintain the 35c dividend so the cut could surprise the markets. Costs from loan impairments and advances up $18.4m to $27.6m for the 1H09. Net interest margin was eroded – down to 1.52% from 1.67% compared to the prior six months.

  • Transurban Group (TCL) released revenue data for the March quarter — no major negative surprises — revenue across its six Australian toll roads up by 7.3% from a year ago to $243.9m with traffic growth across five of the motorways.
  • Transpacific Industries (TPI) said talks continue with potential investors and bankers and said their shares will remain suspended.
  • Adelaide Brighton (ABC) fell over this morning having raised $85m through the institutional share placement component of its capital raising — sold 47.75m shares at $1.78 each, including 11.04 million to Barro Group, to strengthen its balance sheet and pay debt.
  • Mirabella Nickel (MBN) enters into a US$190m senior loan agreement — subscription receipts can now be released.
  • CSL Limited (CSL) expect their FY09 result will be at the upper end of guidance between $1.02-$1.06bn.
  • Citigold Corp (CTO) struck its highest grade drill intersection to date at their Warrior mine.
  • Fosters Group’s (FGL) peer in the US, Constellation Brands, reported a disappointing FY09 result – it preannounced two weeks ago but still disappointed at the EBIT line.

Other…

  • UBS Warburg keep QBE Insurance (QBE) at NEUTRAL with a 2100c target price as they confirm they are is on tract to deliver FY09e guidance.
  • Alumina research after the Alcoa result in the US yesterday. Macquarie keep Neutral with 138c target price. GSJB Were says Sell — 150c target price. UBS Warburg keep BUY with 190c target price. Merrill Lynch maintain Underperform with 100c target price.
  • The FOMC forecast annual growth rates of 2.5% to 3.3% in 2010 with a gradual recovery beginning in the second half of this year.
  • Market closed tomorrow and on Monday for Easter. Expecting to see some selling as traders close positions ahead of the long weekend.
  • Credit Suisse says copper is the best exposure in the base metals and Patersons says Equinox is the best copper exposure.
  • China Business News reported yesterday that BHP Billiton is withdrawing from its coal-seam gas project in China as part of its business plan to only focus on core businesses.
  • March Australian Jobs numbers down more than expected from the February reading – unemployment up to a 5-year high of 5.7% from 5.3% in February. 34,700 jobs lost last month — economists expected a loss of only 25,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.4%.

The Dow Futures suggest a 45 point rise on Wall Street.

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

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