The market is up 74. The SFE Futures were up 59 this morning.

The Dow closed up 18 on Friday. Up 39 at best and down 69 at worst. It closed above 10,000 despite weaker job numbers. The US jobless rate hit 10.2%, up from 9.8% in September. The oil price went backwards $2.25 to $77.43. Gold closed up $6.40 to $1095.70. The Aussie dollar increased to 92.20c from 91.06c.

Making the news today…

  • The big news today is AXA Asia Pacific (AXA) knocking back a takeover offer from AMP Ltd (AMP). AXA is up 30.9% to 563c, AMP down 7c to 580c. AMP’s offer —  0.6896 shares and $1.37 cash — implies a takeover price of 534c a share.
  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has released its Trading Update — CBA up 4.1% to 5492c — it revealed a 1Q cash profit of about $1.4bn. Says the environment remains challenging but bad loans are stabilising.
  • Orica (ORI) announces a better-than-expected 0.4% rise in FY net profit to $541.8m, compared to the $530m figure analysts were expecting. FY EBIT up 12% to $1.08bn, sales were up 13% to $7.41bn. It will pay a final dividend of 57c, up from 55c bringing its FY dividend to 97c. ORI up 6.3% to 2376c.
  • Boral Ltd (BLD) says it is too early to project earnings for FY10 but 1Q earnings were above expectations. It expects 2009 to be the bottom of the cycle in the US and Australia. There hasn’t been any material life in demand. BLD up 2% to 567c. BLD up 3.6% to 575c.
  • Seven Network (SEV) has held its AGM this morning. Management says it is in good shape after a tough year and there have been positive signs over the past few months. SEV up 6c to 641c.
  • Ten Network (TEN) says it is in a strong position and that media remains an exciting sector. CEO Nick Falloon says the company has improved its position since its major shareholder, CanWest, sold it position. He recently bought about 500,000 shares in TEN. TEN up 1c to 152.5c.
  • Housing-finance approvals in Australia increased by a seasonally adjusted 5.1% in September from August, economists had expected a rise of 3% in Sept.
  • Job advertisements in Australian newspapers and on the internet fell 1.7% in seasonally adjusted terms in October from September. First-time advertisements have gone backwards since July.
  • Westpac Bank (WBC) goes 60c ex divided today, as does Macquarie Group (MQG) 86c.
  • Companies hitting fresh yearly highs today: AXA Asia Pacific (AXA), Bell Financial Group (BFG), Kingsgate Consolidated (KCN) and Medusa Mining (MML).

The Dow Futures were up 42 at midday.

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As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

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