The market is down 24. The SFE Futures were down 27 this morning.

Wall Street St. closed down 122. It was the biggest drop in two months. The main issue was China tightening its lending controls on some banks — something seems to threaten global recovery but is more probably a sign of Chinese economic strength. The Dow was down 208 at worst. Metals were all down overnight as was oil and Gold. The Aussie dollar fell to 90.96c versus 92.42c.  We have Chinese GDP numbers today around 1pm our time — after the Chinese move the suggestion is that they will be strong numbers.

In the news today…

  • Oz Minerals (OZL) has exceeded its FY production guidance for its Prominent Hill mine thanks to a solid 4Q production result. In short: 2009 copper output of 96,310 metric tons beats guidance for between 85,000-90,000 tonnes Gold production of 75,535 ounces exceeded guidance for between 60,000- 70,000 ounces. OZL up 2.5c to 117.5c.
  • AXA Asia Pacific (AXA) says it expects 2009 profit after tax and significant items to come in at $675m and group operating earnings of $185m. AXA down 1c to 659c. AMP up 2.64%.
  • Santos (STO) has released its quarterly production report. It produced 54.4m barrels of oil equivalent in 2009, in line with guidance of 53m-56m. They reiterated guidance for 2010 of 51m-54m barrels and capital expenditure guidance of $2.8bn. Revenue fell 7% to $600m for the quarter. STO down 23c today to 1340c.
  • OM Holdings (OMH) remains in a trading halt but announces a strategic investment in Northern Iron (NFE). It will subscribe for 28.25m Northern Iron shares at 145c (now 136.5c, which will give it a 10% stake worth $40.96m. OMH up 1c to 199c.
  • Transpacific Industries Group (TPI) forecasts a fall in 1H earnings as improved operating conditions in its municipal waste management business were offset by weak activity in its commercial vehicles, construction and liquid waste units. TPI up 0.5c to 139c.
  • Fortescue Metals has Quarterly production numbers today. FMG down 11c to 503c.
  • Talk of (WTF) launching a takeover offer for Webjet (WEB). WEB up 2c to 232c, Wotif down 1c to 699c.
  • BHP Billiton – Good response from brokers this morning following their solid quarterly production numbers yesterday. Brokers generally prefer BHP over Rio Tinto but the share price is nearing most target prices. BHP down 54c to 4287c on the China issue.
  • Australian new motor vehicle sales increased by 3.3%, seasonally adjusted, to 89,741 units in December.
  • Strong Consumer sentiment numbers yesterday have kicked off talk of a rate rise next month.
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly highs include Virgin Blue (VBA) and Treasury Group (TRG).

The Dow Futures were up 17 at midday.

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