The market is down 14. The SFE Futures were down 3 this morning.

Wall St. closed up 66 on Friday. The Dow was up 78 at best and down 6 at worst. Better than expected economic data lifted the market. Metals had a good session but the oil price fell over again – down 67c to $69.87. Gold continued its downward momentum falling another $6.30 to $1119.90. The Aussie dollar fell to 91.10c from 91.71c.

A couple of big stories this morning…

  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) has launched a $2.5bn rights issue to meet a $1.1bn cost blowout on their Pluto LNG project in WA. It is a 1-for-12 accelerated renounceable entitlement issue priced at 4210c – a 10.9% discount to its last closing price of 4718c.
  • AMP Ltd (AMP) has upped its takeover offer for AXA Asia Pacific (AXA) — It has left its scrip ratio the same (0.6896) but lifted its cash component 54c to 192c from 138c implying an offer of 622c a share based on AMP’s last closing price of 623c. Surprisingly, AXA is only up 3c to 582c. AMP up 1c to 624c. AMP doesn’t see any regulatory obstacles to the deal.
  • The Chinese steel industry has sent a delegation to see Vale in Brazil, the biggest iron ore producer in the world in an apparent move to develop competitive relationships in the face of the BHP RIO iron ore merger. They are thought to be discussing a rival joint venture which would presumably operate in competition and to the detriment of BHP and RIO. BHP down 31c to 4019c and RIO down 7c to 7011c.
  • Mirabella Nickel (MBN) in a trading halt pending a capital raising. It lost 6c to 242c before making the announcement.
  • The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia wants managed fund descriptions such as “growth” and “balanced” banned and replaced with high medium or low risk.
  • Street Talk suggests Suncorp (SUN) could fall into Asian hands or find a foreign cornerstone investor. The ACCC won’t allow one of the big 4 banks to take them over in a post crisis environment. SUN down 10c to 856c.
  • Woolworths CEO Michael Luscombe says there are early signs that retailers will enjoy a good Christmas. This complements Gerry Harvey’s comments not to long ago that Harvey Norman was experiencing bumper sales. WOW up 49c to 2732c.
  • According to The Australian, Telstra (TLS) is considering listing SouFun Holdings unit. A dual listing on the Hong Kong sharemarket and NASDAQ is likely. TLS down 2c to 345c.
  • Stock hitting fresh yearly highs today include: Cash Converters (CCV), Domino’s Pizza (DMP), Lend Lease (LLC) and Wilson HTM(WIG).

The Dow Futures were up 55 at midday.

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

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