The market is down 58. Poor finish to the week. We have disappointing US employment figures to thank. The Futures were down 82 overnight.

Wall St. fell 233 on very low volume ahead of the long weekend. (4th July celebrations) Poor jobs numbers to blame. It was the 97th worst day since 1980. Closed on its low. Biggest drop since 20th April. Lowest volume this year ahead of the Independence Day holiday tonight. US non-farm payrolls fell by a larger than expected 467,000 in June, after a revised 322,000 fall in the preceding month. Economists were forecasting a fall of 365,000 after an 345,000 fall in May.

The US economy has now lost 6.5m jobs since late 2007 (population 306.8m – there are 6.7681 billion people in the world by the way). 26,500 job losses were in the auto sector.

RIO in a Trading Halt – RIO TINTO sold the remaining 3.03% shares offered in its rights issue in the UK overnight — not hard. Chinalco took up its portion of the rights issue and remains RIO’s largest shareholder. RIO has announced this morning it received acceptance of 94.76% (142.14m shares) for the Australian right issue. Credit Suisse, J.P Morgan and Macquarie will take care of the remaining 7.865m shares by way of a bookbuild. The new RIO shares will commence normal T+3 settlements trading on the ASX today.

Quiet day on the news front…

  • Dexus Property Group (DXS) has provided an update on its portfolio. Valuation has fallen by $870m-$890m and more importantly has completed refinancing for all 2009 debt maturities.
  • Avoca Resources (AVO) has experienced a record June Q production of 52,118 ounces.
  • BHP Billiton (BHP) has sold its Yabulu Nickel refinery to Clive Palmer Companies for an undisclosed sum. They estimate the write down on it will come to $500m and a further US$175m of unrecoverable tax benefits.
  • George Jones has stepped down as chairman of Gindalbie Metals (GBG).
  • Sundance Resources (SDL) has appointed Geoff Wedlock as Chairman.
  • Sims Metals (SGM) has acquired assets of Fairless Iron & Metals for an undisclosed sum.
  • ABB Grain (ABB) and Viterra have implemented Grain Volume Insurance and remove volume variation fee.
  • Wesfarmers (WES) have announced a few management changes naming Tom O’Leary as the MD of its energy division and Tim Bult as executive general manger of group business development.
  • Santos bought a 19.99% stake in Eastern Star Gas (ESG) at 100c a share yesterday against the share price of 81c. They bought it off Hillgrove Resources (HGO) for $176m. HGO up 47% to 25c.

In other news…

  • Credit Suisse cuts its recommendation on Crown (CWN) to Underperform from Neutral saying early indications show that City of Dreams appears to be gaining market share of6.7%, below estimates of 8-10%. CWN up 3c to 706c.
  • Morgan Stanley expects Bank of Queensland (BOQ) to fall in absolute terms in the next two months saying it has a funding disadvantage due to its credit rating. BOQ down 13c to 888c.
  • Merrill Lynch have an Underperform recommendation on Panoramic Resources (PAN) and upped their target price by 100% to 75c from 150c. PAN down 3.7% to 233c.
  • GSJB Were has changed its model portfolio and are now overweight Australian Banks.

Wall St. is closed tonight for 4th July celebrations.

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

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