The market is down 12 was up 23 earlier. The SFE Futures suggested a 3 point fall in the market this morning. Resources and industrials up. BHP and RIO have pulled back a bit — still up 1.1% and 1.7%. Financials down. Zinc, copper and nickel stocks flying on the rise in commodity prices Friday. Bit quite on the news front.

The Dow was down 14. Up 72 at best — down 35 at worst. US markets closed tonight for Memorial Day. UK Markets also shut. Dow up 0.1% for the week. Financials down 1.2%. Material stocks up 0.2% — metals up, oil up, gold up. BHP and RIO both up in ADR form Friday — 0.71% and 2.13% respectively.

ASIC HAVE REMOVED THE SHORTING BAN ON FINANCIALS THIS MORNING — The shorting ban on financials was due to expire at the end of this week but ASIC surprisingly ended it early. Perhaps the holidays in the UK and US tonight were a good moment to do it without massive international attention and without a week of pre removal hype and anticipation. No obvious damage in the sector although Macquarie Group is down 3.7%. Major banks down 0.5-1.5%.

  • CSL Limited (CSL) will meet with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to discuss the Talecris acquisition with FTC commissioners to vote by Thursday — FTC staff recommend blocking the US$3.1bn takeover on antitrust grounds.
  • BlueScope Steel (BSL) said the damage from the fire at its Western Port plant will cost $20m-$25m to repair.
  • Crown (CWN) to cut back executive share plan.
  • Mineral Deposits (MDL) pour their first tonne of gold at Sabodala.
  • Extract Resources (EXT) in a trading halt.


  • RIO failed to sell its $1bn Borates business to assist in the pay-down of $38.7bn in debt.
  • ABB Grain (ABB) is currently under a $9.11-$9.41/share takeover bid from Viterra who require 75% shareholder support — many ex grower shareholders are critical of the deal and say the offer is too low — Viterra says the offer represents a 30-50% premium given recent transactions globally.
  • Virgin Blue (VBA) moved to UNDERPERFORM by Macquarie Equities with a 19c price target saying yield decline is the major downside risk. Credit Suisse says VBA is priced to fail. They have an outperform and an 84c target price.
  • Santos (STO) upped to BUY from Hold by Citi whilst they cut their price target to 1730c from 1745c — they expect STO to raise up to $3bn from the 2-for-5 rights issue.
  • Seek (SEK) upped by Deutsche to a price target of 355c from 260c as they predict higher forward earnings.

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