The market is up 24 The SFE Future were up 16 overnight. A busy day of the company news front.

Wall Street had another positive session. The Dow closed up 67 . Up 79 at best and down 37 at worst. Its seventh rise in a row. Ben Bernanke gave his semi-annual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee. Oil price up 88c and Gold down $2. Aussie dollar did well — up to 81.73c.

NAB in a Trading Halt — It has announced yet another $2.75bn capital raising at a 10% discount. Price to be set through a $2bn institutional bookbuild with a low price of 2120c. Last traded at 2358c. There is also a $750m retail share issue. It wants to boost its Tier 1 capital ratio to 8.8%. It has also provided a 3Q trading update which looks OK.

In the news today…

  • BHP Billiton (BHP) has released its 4Q production report. The numbers have been described as solid. No major surprises. Iron ore production was down 10% from the same time last year due to production issues. It did point out that China inventory build is “essentially complete”. BHP 55c today to 3676c.
  • Woolworths (WOW) has released its 4Q Sales numbers. Solid bunch of numbers across the overall business. CEO Michael Luscombe described it as another “solid performance”.
  • Asciano Group (AIO) has signed a new haulage contract with Xstrata Coal worth more than $800 over 10 years.
  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA) says funds under management were up 8% for the June Q compared to the March Q. The now total $138bn.
  • AWB Ltd (AWB) is out of a trading halt and announces it will wind down its business in Brazil. Expects it to result in a loss of $55-$65m.
  • Beach Petroleum (BPT) — production numbers — 4Q output was down 7% from the previous. FY output came in at 9.6m barrels of oil equivalent.
  • Centennial Coal (CEY) announces 4Q output of 3.18m tons.
  • Avoca (AVO) has upped its stake in Dioro (DIO) to 20.3%.
  • Newcrest Mining (NCM) said annual gold production fell more than 8% only just meeting its guidance.

Also in the news…

  • The Australian headline inflation rate increased 0.5% in 2Q, like most economists expected, with an annual rate of 1.5%. Core inflation was up 0.8% in 2Q, above expectations.
  • Macquarie maintains their Outperform recommendation on Toll Holdings (TOL) and 766c target price after TOL made half a dozen acquisitions in the past 3 months.
  • UBS upped its recommendation on Super Cheap Auto (SUL) to Buy from Neutral and its target price to 440c from 380c after announcing yesterday it expected to report a FY09 NPAT of $32m.
  • Lots of broker research on Harvey Norman this morning after it announced 4Q sales numbers yesterday. The general comment was that its international businesses are continuing to let the team down. Its Australian operations were the standout.

The Dow Futures were down 32 at noon.

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

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