The market is up 16. The SFE Futures were up 6 this morning.

Wall St. closed down 18 overnight. The Dow was up 42 at best and down 50 at worst. Economic data was promising but the market failed to hold early gains. Oil fell 2.1% to $76.88 but Gold continued its record breaking run putting on $12.90 to $1212. The Aussie dollar crept higher to 92.53c from 92.48c yesterday morning.

In the news today…

  • Bank gouging — A lot of media about how much the Westpac Bank will make out of raising its interest rates by 45bp instead of 25bp making it even more profitable … to the benefit of shareholders of course. It prompts me to reiterate the golden rule of being a bank customer… “Don’t get mad, get even, become a shareholder”. The banks are merely a funnel for all their customers fees and charges to flow into the pockets of shareholders. WBC up 13c to 2440c.
  • Talk of a bid for Corporate Express (CXP) – US office supplier Staples emerged as a 59% shareholder of CXP after acquiring its Dutch parent company. The idea of it being bid for was brought up again after CXP announced a disappointing 3Q trading update. CXP down 5c to 416c.
  • Nufarm (NUF) up 1.3% after telling shareholders that it expects 1H profit to be down but in line with previous estimates. It expects margins to improve and to recover in FY10 as well as FY cash flow. It also says Sinochem’s delay doesn’t affect the boards view on what the company is worth and discussions will begin tomorrow and that it can’t comment if any other bidders had entered the takeover race.
  • Street Talk says BHP and RIO will miss their self imposed December 5 date for completing the binding agreement for their iron ore JV. BHP up 21c to 4213c and RIO up 23c to 7377c.
  • Consolidated Media Holdings (CMJ) has completed its $210m on-market share buyback. James Packer now owns 45.3% of it and Kerry Stokes 22.1%. CMJ last traded at 312c.
  • Retail Sales increased by a higher-than-expected 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted $19.75bn. Economists expected a rise of 0.2%. JB Hi-Fi (JBH) up 1.2% to 2348c, David Jones (DJS) up 4c to 578c, MYER Ltd (MYR) up 5c to 379c and Harvey Norman (HVN) up 7c to 449c.
  • Origin Energy (ORG) — AGM — tells shareholders its capital position is strong and has access to $4.4bn cash. It also expects underlying profit to increase by 15% on last year. ORG up 17c to 1594c.
  • Carbon Energy (CNX) in a trading halt. Last traded at 70.5c.
  • Companies hitting fresh yearly highs: BHP Billiton (BHP), Avoca Resources (AVO), Domino’s Pizza (DMP), James Hardie (JHX), Equinox Minerals (EQN), Newcrest Mining (NCM) and PanAust (PNA).

The Dow Futures are up 15 at midday

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

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