The market is down 32. The SFE futures suggested a 20 point rise in the market this morning. Not a huge reaction to the Federal Budget. Most sectors down. Resources down 0.8% with RIO down 4.8%. BHP down 0.5%. Energy stocks down 1.4%. Gold stocks all up on the higher gold price. Healthcare stocks up 0.5%.

The Dow was up 50. Up 99 at best. Down 53 at worst. S&P 500 down 0.1%. Nasdaq down 0.88%. Financials down 1.8%. Energy stocks up on the higher oil price. Defensive stocks outperformed. March deficit widens after contracting in February. BHP and RIO both down in ADR form overnight — 1.45% and 8.39% respectively.

The Federal Budget was softer than the preceding rhetoric – hasn’t influenced the market much. Total result to boost GDP by 1.25%. Infrastructure sector supported as expected — good for engineering, building materials and infrastructure stocks. Qualifying age for the pension upped from 65 to 67. Future deficit projects based on a hokey-stick rebound in GDP.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) in the quarterly update said 3Q cash earnings were $1.15bn comparing to 1H cash earnings of $2.01bn – gives an implied full year run rate marginally above consensus. Impairment charges up to $630m, as expected. Provision coverage looks strong. Will cut final dividend 25% to $1.15 to preserve cash to cushion against the escalating bad debts and weakening economic environment. Tier 1 capital ratio solid at 8.33% inline with expectations — noted it would improve further with the dividend cut. Credit quality was inline with expectations. Grew home loan lending by 22.1% over the period — has a 24.3% market share. Achieved $30bn in new loans to retail and corporate clients over the quarter.

  • CSR Limited (CSR) posted underlying FY09 NPAT down 30% on the pcp slightly above expectations. EBIT was right on its February guidance in the middle of the $310-$330m range at $320.1m.
  • Stockland Group (SGP) in a trading halt ahead of a $2.70/share $1.98bn capital raising.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) at a global metals and mining conference last night said the outlook remains uncertain despite signs of recovery. Noted the $19.5bn Chinalco deal would position them well for the future.
  • Macmahon Holdings (MAH) in a trading halt relating to a capital raising.
  • Santos (STO) down 7% completed its oversubscribed $1.75bn institutional component of its non-renounceable rights offer to underpin its LNG projects in PNG and Gladstone.
  • Pacific Brands (PBG) out of their trading halt having raised $165m in an oversubscribed institutional raising.
  • Noble Group, Gloucester Coal’s (GCL) biggest shareholder, is launching a High Court case to try and win the right for Gloucester shareholders to vote on a planned merger with Whitehaven Coal (WHC).
  • Origin Energy (ORG) confirms Pangaea CSG acquisition.
  • Kagara Limited (KZL) up over 8% more than doubled their Red Dome gold resource to 1.447m oz.
  • Primary Health Care’s (PRY) Chairman Gregory Gardiner will be replaced by non-executive board member Brian Ball as acting chairman.
  • Bluescope Steel (BSL) had a fire at Western Port Plant brought under control.
  • Sonic Healthcare (SHL) said the changes in healthcare spending announced in the federal budget will lead to 4%-5% net growth a year in the company’s public funding.
  • Woolworths (WOW) plans to expand its upmarket Thomas Dux Grocer chain in Victoria and New South Wales by acquiring nine Macro Wholefoods store leases.

The Dow Futures suggest a 23 point fall on Wall Street.

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