The market is down 66. The SFE Futures were down 45 this morning.

Wall St. down 94 overnight. The Dow was down 1 at best and down 170 at worst. Biggest fall in a month. Economic figures were in line with expectations. Oil finished down $2.12 to $77.46 and Gold slightly up — 70c to $1141.90. The Aussie dollar fell to 91.96c versus 92.96c yesterday morning.

Making the news today…

  • Insurance Australia Group (IAG) down 6.5% after QBE Insurance (QBE) CFO Neil Drabsch told CNBC that when putting the numbers together on an IAG/QBE merger in current conditions, at any premium, “would only give very modest earnings per share”. Street Talk reported on Wednesday that QBE was again beginning to run the numbers over IAG. QBE up 10c to 2266c.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) down 2.08% after announcing costs associated with its Pluto LNG project would be higher than expected. It now predicts costs to increase by between $672m and $1.1bn, on top of the July 2007 estimate of $11.2bn.
  • Street Talk says there is talk out of London that Western Areas (WSA) could be the next takeover target. WSA’s crown jewel, its Flying Fox mine in WA, makes it an obvious target for a larger player. WSA up 7c to 520c.
  • Sims Metal (SGM) — Trading Halt — plans a fully underwritten capital raising of around $400m via a placement at $21 a share, 5.4% discount to its closing price yesterday. It is also planning a non-underwritten share purchase plan to raise $75m. The funds will be used to repay debt and pursue growth opportunities. SGM last traded at 2220c.
  • Adelaide Brighton (ABC) — Investor Presentation — Expects a net profit of $105m-$115m and expects the 2009 dividend to be at the lower end of 65-75% payout ratio. Says residential building activity is rising and sees its debt at year end to be at $225m. ABC down 5c to 263c.
  • Amcor (AMC) says its proposed Brilliant Circle transaction will not go ahead as it did not receive the appropriate level of support votes at its EGM. It is now exploring alternative possibilities to asset sales. AMC last traded at 565c.
  • Arrow Energy (AOE) says it’s targeting a final investment decision on its Fisherman’s Landing liquefied natural gas project in QLD by late March 2010. AOE down 2.1% to 413c.
  • Spotless Group (SPT) unchanged at 262c. It held its AGM today and says it expects improved earnings in fiscal 2010 from both of its key divisions.
  • ANZ Bank (ANZ) has sold its custodian services business in Aust and NZ to JP Morgan. ANZ down 2.65%.

The Dow Futures were down 28 at midday.

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey