The market is finishing the week strongly — up 49 — the SFE Futures were up 61 overnight.

The Dow finished up 188. It was up 215 at best and down 15 at worst. Highest close since January. S&P at the highest close since November. The NASDAQ at its highest close since October — up 2.5% overnight. A number of companies, including Microsoft (down 7% in after hours) and American Express announced disappointing earnings numbers after the close of market. Oil price closed up 2.35% and Gold up $1.50.

Nufarm (NUF) announced it has been approached by China’s Sinochem about a potential takeover. It will consider offers but stressed there is no certainty any agreement will take place. It also said net operating profit may be more than 10-15% below its previous guidance. NUF up 10.7%.

In the news today…

  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) has released production numbers this morning. 2Q revenue down 36% to $938m due to lower oil and LNG prices. Also mentioned its 1H profit will contain a FX gain of around $350m. WPL up 1.21%.
  • Murchison Metals (MMX) says the ongoing talks with Chinese companies regarding its jointly owned Oakajee Port & Rail project have been “very positive”. MMX up 13%.
  • Macquarie Airports (MAP) announced plans to internalize its management after reaching a deal with Macquarie Group (MQG). No further management fees will be paid to MQG, and in return, MAP will issue 150m new shares to MQG worth around $345m at 230c.
  • Trading Halt Lifted — FKP Property (FKP) has completed its retail bookbuild, the final phase of its $324m entitlement offer. (162m new securities at 40c) FKP down 4.5%.
  • ROC Oil (ROC) said it’s on track to meet 2009 FY production guidance of 4m barrels after producing 936,699 barrels in the 2Q. ROC down 6.25%.
  • ANZ Bank (ANZ) has appointed John Morschel to replace Charles Goode as its Chairman, effective February 2010.
  • Country Road (CTY) expects profit before tax to increase by up to 56% over the previous year.
  • Santos (STO) getting some positive write ups from brokers this morning after it released production numbers yesterday. One upped its target price by 12%. STO is now considered a takeover target by most brokers.

In other news…

  • David Jones (DJS), Independence Group (IGO), Mitchell Communications (MCU) and Biota Holdings (BTA) all hit new yearly highs this morning. BTA had its target price lifted to 225c from 153c from one broker this morning.
  • Biota (BTA) up 7% after RBS Equities upped its target price on the stock to 225c from 153c.
  • Credit Suisse have upped its target price on Bradken (BKN) to 550c from 420c. They say, “We believe BKN is fair value at current levels.”

The Dow Futures are down 21 at midday.

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

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