The market is down 1. It was down as much as 38 earlier. Good result considering the SFE Futures were down 35 this morning.

The Dow closed down 97 overnight. It was weaker for the second day in a row and hit its lowest close since July 31. Down 4 at best and down 121 at worst. Metals closed lower with Oil slightly weaker and Gold steady. The Aussie dollar fell to 82.95c from 83.74c.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) — Slightly better — announced results this morning. They look OK — better than expected in fact. Cash earnings fell 9% to $4.415bn — slightly above expectations. Final dividend of 115c ff was declared, down on last year but in line with market expectations. It goes ex-dividend on August 17. On top of their result, it is doing a new PERLS (preference share) issue to raise $700-$750m. CBA up 2.3% to 4492c.

In other news…

  • Computershare (CPU) — Slightly better — announced a FY09 NPAT of $US255.7m, down 9.3% on last year. Before significant items, the result was $US289.5m, which was slightly ahead of expectations. Management say conditions have been tough and will focus on keeping costs low. CPU breaking even today at 994c.
  • Stockland Group (SGP) has announced a FY net loss of $1.8bn on writedowns and an operating profit of $631.4m, down 6%, which was below the $687.1m analysts’ were expecting. SGP also announced it will be selling its UK assets in the next 2-3 years.
  • We are expecting BHP Billiton’s results later this afternoon. Expectations are for an underlying result of somewhere between $9.3bn and $US11.8bn. BHP up 3c to 3764c ahead of its result.
  • Flight Centre up another 12% today after announcing a profit upgrade yesterday when most brokers were expecting a downgrade. Lots of upgrades to recommendations and target price’s this morning. One broker upped its target price by 140% to 1168c and another lifted it by 209% to 1370c from 440c. It finished up 20% yesterday.
  • Western Areas (WSA) has committed to a major expansion of its Forrestania operation that will help it reach its 2010 target of nearly doubling output to 20,000 metric tons annually. WSA up 2%.
  • Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) said it raised around $177m from the underwritten institutional component of its capital raising.
  • Ramelius (RMS) has waived almost all conditions of its takeover bid for Dioro Exploration (DIO), including the 50.1% minimum acceptance.
  • Sonic Healthcare (SHL) has acquired two US pathology laboratories for US$20m as it continues to expand on the US eastern coast.
  • Macquarie Airport (MAP) has released 1H 2009 results for Brussels Airport — 1H EBITDA fell 15.5% to EUR88.3m.
  • Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group (BBI) expects to suffer an asset impairment charge of between $900m and $920m for the year.
  • Australand (ALZ) has completed the Initial Allotment under its entitlement offer.

In other news…

  • Consumer confidence has hit a 2 year high. The consumer sentiment index increased by 4 points to 113.4 in August, its highest level since October 2007.
  • Rio Tinto’s executive Stern Hu and his three Chinese colleagues have been charged with receiving bribes and receiving state secrets.
  • JB Hi-Fi (JBH), OrotonGroup (ORL), Premier Investments (PMV) and Webjet (WEB) have all hit a fresh yearly high

The Dow Futures are up 10 at midday.

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

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