The market is down 41. The SFE Futures suggested a 33 point rise in the market this morning. Resources doing the damage — down 2.1% — BHP and RIO down 2.3% and 4.1%. Financials down 0.7% despite the solid performance in the US Friday. Property down 0.4%. Industrials down 0.7%.

The Dow was up 5. Up 65 at best. Down 39 at worst. Financials up 1.3% and regional banks up 8.1% on positive comments from BB&T about the continuing viability of banks making profits despite rising provisions and said the residential construction market was leveling out in some States. Google and GE (up 1% each) top quarterly earning expectations. Citigroup’s losses not as bad as expected (down 9%). Technology stocks underperform. BHP and RIO both down in ADR form Friday — down 1.09% and 3.37% respectively. Metals all up. Oil price up 39c. Gold down $11.90. Bonds down. A$/US$ down.

Rio Tinto’s (RIO) Chairman Paul Skinner at their AGM reiterated the board’s endorsement of a tie-up with Chinalco. “A strategic partnership that strengthens our platform in the Chinese market and gives us access to the sources of capital within its economy has strong appeal.” The main highlights for 2008 were:38% increase in underlying earnings. Underlying EBITDA up 60%. Trying to conserve cash to pay down debt. Project developments have slowed.

  • Wesfarmers (WES) quarterly statement highlight coal contract prices would decline this year by about 59% and that that coal sales would be at the lower end of the 6.5m-6.9m ton range.
  • OneSteel (OST) out of their trading halt having raised $584m through a $1.80 per share “well oversubscribed” entitlement offer.
  • Kingsgate Consolidated (KCN) posted March quarter gold output at 32,992 ounces at its Chatree Gold Mine. Cash costs were US$364 per ounce of gold for the quarter. Positive outlook with June quarter production is expected to be higher than the March quarter.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) announced that they have formed part of the consortium to deliver QLD’s $1.1bn SEQ Public Private Partnership Schools Program.
  • Macquarie Airports (MAP) posted March passenger numbers down on-year — its largest asset, Sydney Airport was down 5.4% on-year. MAP said their European airports were more severely impacted due to capacity reductions during the northern hemisphere winter.
  • Mount Gibson Mines (MGX) released their quarterly report — ore sales up 39% on-quarter. Produced record quarterly iron ore sales from Tallering Peak. Koolan Island production came in below expectations. Major Shareholder, Shougang Concord commenced iron ore shipments from Tallering Peak and Koolan Island under Medium Term offtake agreement.
  • Linc Energy (LNC) note they’ve finalized the Marubeni Vietnam deal — will now trial the UGC coal project.
  • GRD Limited (GRD) awarded a contract for Moolarben Coal.

Other…

  • Australian 1Q Producer Prices fell more than expected– down 0.4% — market was expecting a 0.6% rise in the 1Q.
  • Asciano (AIO) up 16% as the Australian and the AFR’s Steet Talk report that AIO is apparently pleased with bids for part/all of its business.
  • Brokers are relatively positive on Woolworths this morning after their sales numbers of Friday — Two BUYS, an OUTPERFORM, and a HOLD and a NEUTRAL. Price targets between 3550c and 3498c.
  • Fortescue Metal (FMG) CEO Andrew Forrest said Saturday he is confident China’s government will approve Hunan Valin Iron & Steel Group’s $1.2bn investment in FMG. He admited to a “plan B” if the deal fails.
  • Lots of quarterly production numbers from resources companies this week: Tuesday: Oil Search, Wesfarmers coal division. Wednesday: BHP, Falcon Minerals Thursday: Newcrest, Santos Friday: Woodside
  • Coles sales numbers out tomorrow with the Wesfarmers Investor Briefing — one analyst expects them to disappoint in the light of strong sales numbers from Woolworths last week.
  • Metal prices continue to rally today and remain one of the hottest trading themes in the market — some reports the Chinese government is investing directly in commodities.
  • Gold stocks getting thumped again on another fall in the gold price.
  • Suncorp Metway (SUN) cut by Citi to HOLD from Buy due to their recent share price run. Ups their EPS forecasts for FY’s09-11 by 3%, 5% and 7%.

The Dow Futures suggest a 60 point fall on Wall Street.

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

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