The market is down 8. The SFE Futures suggested a 2 point fall in the market this morning. Asciano making the news this morning.

Dow closed up 28 on Friday — very late rally into positive territory — low volume day. Metals down, Oil price down and Gold down $21. BHP down 69c to 3736c. RIO down 64c to 7656c.

$2bn PLACEMENT — Asciano Group (AIO) in a trading halt — They have announced a $2bn equity raising — 1 for 1 entitlement offer at 110c — a 40% discount — last traded at 183c. (UBS the broker). The offer includes a $779m rights issue to current shareholders ($330m retail and $439m institutional) at 110c a share, a $231m placement to sophisticated investors and a $1bn placement to other institutions. They will also raise $151m from a placement to Mark Rowsthorn subject to shareholder approval. They will use the capital to reduce debt.

Making the news…

  • Atlas Iron (AGO) will raise up to $116.7m to fund the expansion of its Pilbara operations. $105m though a placement of domestic and international clients of Hartleys Ltd, and a $11.7m share purchase plan to existing shareholders at 139c a share.
  • Oil Search (OSH) announces the PNG LNG Project participants have agreed to begin Early Works activities on the PLNG LNG project. Expects construction to begin in early 2010.
  • Macquarie Office Trust (MOF) has entered into negotiations with the loan administrator after Quintana Campus defaulted on its $US106m loan.
  • Paperlinx (PPX) Step-up Preference Security distribution will not be paid on June 30 after talks with its lenders.
  • Resolute Mining (RSG) has poured the first gold from its processing circuit at the Syama gold mine in Mali.

In other news…

  • Boart Longyear (BLY) up 25% on no announcement. It is up 150% in two weeks.
  • Goodman Group (GMG) up 8.9% on talk of China Investment Corp buying a stake.
  • Talk of resource giants Xstrata merging with rival Anglo American.
  • RIO goes ex entitlement to their rights issue on Wednesday.
  • According to the Sunday Times, Commonwealth Bank is interested in buying a good chunk of Llyods Banking Group’s fund management arm, Insight Investment Management.
  • Morgan Stanley believes concerns about Brambles’ (BXB) rival iGPS is overdone and maintain their equal weight recommendation. The broker is also cautious on Australian banks, expecting a “second round” of dividend cuts in 2010.

The Dow Futures suggest a 44 point fall on Wall Street tonight.

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

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