The market is up 38. The SFE Futures were down 6 this morning.

The Dow closed down 6 overnight. Up 9 at best and down 56 at worst. The US 3rd Q Results season kicked off with the first major result from Alcoa after hours last night. The stock is up 5.8% in after hours trade (up 2.3% in normal trade). Result was ahead of expectations although sales were down 33%. Its JV partner Alumina is up 8c to 192.5c today. The Aussie dollar was also up to 89.10c and the Gold price help up, putting on $4.70 to $1044.

Making the news…

  • Employment surge in September — an extra 40,600 jobs were created, 35,400 of those being full time. Economists were expecting 10,000 jobs to be lost and the unemployment rate to come in at 6%. The unemployment rate fell to 5.7% from 5.8%.
  • Westpac Bank (WBC) announces it has lost a NZ High Court case against the Inland Revenue Department and now owes $NZ961m in taxes and interest. WBC up 8c to 2559c.
  • ANZ Bank become the first bank to lift its standard variable home loans and fixed-rate loan following the RBA’s decision to lift rates on Tuesday.
  • Sigma Pharmaceuticals (SIP) says its retail share offer fell short of expectations. It had hoped to raise $297m through an institutional and retail share offer. Can’t be good for the share price. SIP last traded at 103.
  • Bidding war — Indian based Essar Group has launched a $144.2m bid (50c a share) for Rocklands Richfield (RCI), beating Jindal Steel and Power’s previous bid of 42c a share. RCI last traded at 41c. Both bidders are cashed up and it’s likely this will be the final offer. RCI up 1.5c to 42.5c.
  • Street Talk report that private equity group Archer Capital has mandated UBS AG, GSJB Were and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to advise on the $700m-$900m IPO for Ascendia Retail, the old Rebel Sport.
  • The FIRB has told China’s Baosteel to resubmit its application to become a cornerstone shareholder in Aquila Resources (AQA). AQA up 8c to 749c.
  • The AFR reports that the Babcock & Brown Infrastructure (BBI) rescue plan will be announced today.
  • Transfield Services (TSE) has renewed its contract to provide maintenance services at Chevron Corp oil refineries. TSE down 1c to 424c.
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly highs today: Aditya Birla (ABY), DWS Advanced (DWS), Macquarie Airports (MAP), Seek Ltd (SEK) and WorleyParsons (WOR).

The Dow Futures are up 82 at midday.

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

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