Poor finish to the week — down 38. The SFE Futures were down 17 this morning.

Wall Street closed down 25 overnight. Dow was up 44 at best and down 72 at worst. It was doing OK but early buying interest fell away. Both Oil and Gold fell, metals were much weaker after a strong session a day earlier, and the Aussie dollar fell to 84c from 84.08c.

There is speculation on US websites that the RBA will lift interest rates on the back of yesterday’s higher than expected employment numbers.

In the news today…

  • West Australian Newspapers (WAN) announced its FY result and a dividend shock. The result was within guidance but it lowered its final dividend to 10c a share when the market was expecting 12c. WAN down 7.7%. The yield has been a big support for the stock which is up 50% in a couple of months.
  • Suncorp-Metway (SUN) says it expects to report a FY operating profit lower than last years result of between $340m-$360m. It will take a FY impairment charge of between $690m-$730m, within guidance provided earlier in the year. SUN down 3% to 776c.
  • ResMed (RMD) announced a FY net profit of $US146.4m, up 33% with revenue up 10%. 4Q09 net profit was up 53% on year to $45.4m, slightly ahead of expectations, one broker expected US$41.8m.
  • Rupert Murdoch says News Corp (NWS) is close to putting an end to free online newspaper content. News Corp will begin charging a fee for their content, most likely by next June. He currently has such a business model with The Wall Street Journal that has attracted one million subscribers since taking it over in 2007. NWS up 1.0% today.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) has announced a $270m contract to redevelop a Perth healthcare facility. The AFR has also reported that the company ended the 2009 financial year with a near-record order book. LEI also priced a $50m increase in its 2014 fixed-rate medium-term notes issue at 400bps above the mid-swap rate. One broker expects it to announce a net profit (before write downs) of $602m.
  • Goodman Group (GMG) in a trading halt to facilitate the proposed capital raising to take place. It last traded at 49c.
  • Alumina (AWC) has received some positive broker comments this morning on the back of their result yesterday. One upgrade to Hold from Sell and a few others maintained their Buy recommendation. AWC down 2.7%.
  • Resolute Mining (RSG) said it will continue to make good progress in commissioning and ramp-up its 80% owned Syama gold mine in Mali.
  • Results season continues next week. Wednesday is a big day with BHP Billiton (BHP) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) both announcing results and Telstra’s numbers are due Thursday.

Also in the news…

  • Bradken announced results yesterday and had a heap of positive comments from brokers this morning. Goldman Sachs JB Were upgraded it Buy with a target price 899c — current share price: 600c — Says following better than expected FY09 result has significantly upgraded earnings forecasts from the group over the next few years based on the group’s strong leverage to GDP growth and mining production volumes. The group is trading on FY10 PE ratio of 11.5 times which it says is a discount to the ASX 200 industrial average of 13.5 times. Believes the group should be now trading at a premium. Macquarie has a Neutral rating on the stock target price 513c. UBS has a Buy on the stock target price increased to 695c.
  • Alumina was upped to Hold from Sell by UBS after its profit results yesterday. It closed up 8% yesterday but its down 3% today.
  • RBS Equities has raised its target price on Crane Group (CRG) to 1237c from 852c ahead of its results on Friday.

The Dow Futures are down 5 at midday.

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

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