The market is down 50. The SFE Futures were down 32 this morning.

Wall St. had a disappointing session overnight falling 133. The Dow was down 1 at best and down 133 at worst. Market closed on its lows for the day on big volume. All ten major sectors finished lower. Gold fell $29 to $1107.20 and the oil price also dropped slightly by 1c to $70.65. The Aussie dollar fell to 88.70c compared to 88.74c yesterday morning.

In the news today…

  • Rio Tinto making a few headlines. It has agreed to ship iron ore to India for the first time ever. It will sell ore to India’s Essar Steel. The AFR says RIO has taken its Northparkes copper and gold mine off the market for the second time and is no longer for sale, and The China Iron and Steel Association have described the RIO/BHP iron ore JV as a threat to the global steel market and called for a unified global opposition to the project. RIO down 73c to 7090c.
  • A few might have missed this, but AXA Chairman Rick Allert said yesterday that parties other than NAB and AMP have expressed interest in AXA’s Australian/NZ assets. Worth pointing out now that AMP’s revised bid is currently superior to the NAB’s cash and scrip bid from yesterday. AXA up 14c to 651c and AMP down 8c to 627c.
  • Mount Gibson (MGX) has suspended mining at its Koolan Island operation in WA due to Tropical Cyclone Laurence with full mining operations predicted to resume next week. MGX down 1.5c to 146.5c.
  • ANZ Bank (ANZ) — AGM — CEO Mike Smith says net profit should be higher in 2010 and that the level of provisions for doubtful debts is expected to fall more significantly in 2011. ANZ down 25c to 2133c.
  • Iron Ore Holdings (IOH) has signed an agreement with RIO on a previously announced mine gate sales deal as well as the possible sale of the junior miner’s Iron Valley project. IOH up 0.5c to 155.5c.
  • Ben Bernanke was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year on Wednesday – he is otherwise known as “nerd from South Carolina”.
  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has completed the sale of its Fijian business – Bank of South Pacific. CBA down 70c to 5138c.
  • MAp Group (MAP) says its three major airports recorded their best monthly traffic results in over a year during November. MAP down 8c to 278c.
  • GrainCorp (GNC) will sell its merchandise outlets and exit the sector by the end of the fiscal year at a cost of $3.5m. GNC down 6c to 577c.
  • Asciano Group (AIO) has been selected as preferred operator for the Xstrata copper project. The tender is expected to be worth $400m over 10 years. AIO up 3c to 171c.
  • MEO Australia (MEO) in a trading halt. Last traded at 47c.
  • Domino’s Pizza (DMP) and Axa Asia Pacific (AXA) have hit fresh yearly highs today.

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

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