The market is down 50. The SFE futures suggested a 42 point fall in the market this morning. Only healthcare and utility stocks up. All other sectors down. Resources doing the worst — BHP and RIO down 2.0% and 3.1%. Alumina (AWC) down 11% on the open. Banks all down — WBC down 3.9% having gone ex dividend 56c. Energy stocks down 1.5%. Most the big industrials down. Coca-Cola doing well — up 0.7%. Gold stocks all up.

The Dow was down 62. Up 63 at best. Down 101 at worst. Dow down 5% for the week. Worst week in two months. The worse-than-expected Euro zone GDP data didn’t help sentiment in the US. Financials down 2.5% – worst performing sector. BHP and RIO both down in ADR form Friday – 1.51% and 0.28% respectively. Metals mixed. Oil down 3.5%. Gold up $2.90.

Making the news today…

  • Great Southern (GTP) has been placed into voluntary administration after its banking syndicate turned down a request for further loans. The CEO said he believes in GTP’s strategic plan and is committed to working with administrators to extract value for shareholders.
  • Billabong (BBG) in a trading halt planning a $290m 2-for-11 $7.50/share entitlement offer at a 29% discount and an additional $90m retail offer to pay down debt — downgrades its expectations for FY NPAT to $160-165m due to weak US earnings — down from $176.4m last year.
  • GrainCorp (GNC) posted an expected 1H09 NPAT profit of $32.3m up from the $6.5m loss in the 1H08 — in-line with guidance last week. Planning a $6.25/share $60m institutional placement and a $30m retail offer.
  • Gloucester Coal (GCL) have said the $7/share Noble Offer is superior to the proposed merger with Whitehaven Coal (WHC) — the Whitehaven merger will not proceed.
  • AXA Asia Pacific (AXA) raised $166m through their share purchase plan.
  • Apex Minerals (AXM) raised $14m through their 20c/share institutional share placement. Plans to raise another $14m at 20c/share through a rights issue.
  • Iluka (ILU) announced that Unimin Australia will increase its offer for all Consolidated Rutile (CRL) shares to 45c/share and make the offer unconditional.
  • Avoca Resources (AVO) gets FIRB approval for Dioro Exploration (DIO) acquisition.
  • Oz Minerals (OZL) increased their resource deposit at Prominent Hill with the Western Copper deposit upped 32% to 245,000 tons. Up 2.8% at midday.

Other…

  • Credit Suisse reinstate Macquarie Group with an OUTPERFORM and 4200c price target — like MQG’s highly liquid balance sheet and modest 53% gearing.
  • Citi says Rio Tinto is unlikely to turn to a JV with BHP, despite attractive iron ore synergies, if the Chinalco deal falls through. Says a $10bn rights issue would be a better plan B.
  • GPT Group tells majority shareholder Stockland Group to either make a bid or move off the register to erase investor uncertainty.

The Dow Futures suggest a 41 point fall on Wall Street.

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

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