Good start to the week. The market is up 53. The SFE Futures were up 26 this morning.

The Dow closed up 24 on Friday. Dow up 32 at best and down 62 at worst. Nasdaq down 7, breaking its record of twelve rises on the trot. Couldn’t manage 13. Aussie dollar up to 81.80c. Gold price fell $1.70 and Oil price up 86c. Ben Bernanke defended the Fed’s response to the credit crisis saying it wanted to avoid a “second Great Depression”.

Virgin Blue (VBA) is raising $231m which will consist of a placement of shares worth $21m and a one for one non-renounceable rights offer at 20 cents seeking $210.4m. Also said it expects a full year group net loss of $160m to $165m in FY09. Also said Brett Godfrey CEO, plans to retire during 2010.

In the news today…

  • Australand Property (ALZ) is undertaking a 7 for10 entitlement offer at 40 cents per share to raise around $475m. The company also announced a net loss of $268.8m for the 1H to June 30,compared with a net profit of $25.5m in the previous corresponding period. Operating profit before unrealized property revaluation losses and development inventory impairments was down 11% to $60.0m. Revenue was down 29% to $311.3m. Interim distribution of 3 cents per unit also announced.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) announces $900m worth of new contracts, which includes building a hotel with a JV partner in Abu Dhabi. Also includes a $300m 3 year contract extension with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance for work at the Peak Downs coal mine.
  • Iron ore stocks — BHP, RIO and FMG — all doing well today after the Metal Bulletin reported the iron ore spot price increased US$2-US$3/ton to US$94-US$95. It also said some shipments were booked as high as US$96.
  • Macmahon Holdings (MAH) has received a $110m two year contract extension by BHP to perform work on its Olympic Dam copper and uranium sites in South Australia.
  • Avoca Resources (AVO) says it will extend its $50.8m all share takeover offer for Dioro Exploration (DIO) by one week to August 4.
  • Boral (BLD) has appointed Bob Every as its new chairman when Ken Moss retires next year.
  • Strike Resources (SRK) up a big 23% after announcing it might have settled the ongoing dispute over tenure of its large scale iron ore project in Peru.
  • Spotless Group (SPT) has reiterated its FY guidance saying it expects EBIT in line with the average market consensus forecast of $94.1m.
  • PanAust (PNA) has released quarterly production numbers and has agreed with its banks to cut its debt to US$100m.

Also in the news today…

  • Merrill Lynch upped its target price on ROC Oil (ROC) to 74.2c from 66.3c despite maintaining their Underperform recommendation. They are confident that management can control non-production related costs.
  • RBS Equities upped its recommendation on Toll Holdings (TOL) to Buy from Hold saying it will be one of the first to benefit from any economic rebound. It upped its target price to 725c from 618c.
  • RBS also believe that is it highly likely that Ten Network (TEN) will raise capital saying there is a “high chance”. They maintain their Sell recommendation.
  • The Australian Results season kicks off this week. See below. It really gets going next week.

The Dow Futures are down 9 at midday.

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

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