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.

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

For a free 21 day obligation free trial of the MARCUS TODAY newsletter (and no we won’t ask for a credit card number) please START A FREE TRIAL –   you will receive two daily emails about the stockmarket, our MORNING EMAIL with all the stuff you need to know ahead of the trading day ahead and a DAILY EMAIL with all the midday events, news, comments and Ideas from Marcus and his Team.

You will also be given a password to the MARCUS TODAY website including access to all the emails as well as Educational, Entertaining and Researched Articles from Marcus and his Team and an archive where you can catch up on a whole week or month in just a few minutes. Or Browse at length. We are sure you will enjoy and profit from what we offer.

Find out now. GET STARTED and hopefully one day we will Welcome you onto the Membership List. We have one of the highest re-subscription rates in the financial newsletter industry.

Thousands of subscribers enjoy and profit from our services every day. Join us

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey