The market is down 74. The SFE Futures were down 72 this morning.

Wall Street closed down 115 overnight. The Dow was up 23 at best and down 181 at worst. January is looking like the worst month for the Dow since the market bottomed last March — down 4.03%. All the fall (650 points) has come in the last 7 days after the Dow hit a new high on January 19th. This is the third year on the trot that the markets have fallen in January. Metals had a shocker overnight, oil also fell 68c to $73.64. Gold hit a 3 month low – down $10 to $1074. Microsoft down 0.24% in after hours trading after announcing a 60% rise in net profit in the 2Q and Amazon down 2.61% in after hours results.

Reporting season picks up next week with Argo Investments, News Corp and TABCORP Holdings announcing results.

A quiet day on the news front:

  • Ben Bernanke has won Senate approval for a second term as Federal Reserve Chairman by a 70 to 30 vote.
  • BHP Billiton is expanding its operations in potash after acquiring Canada’s Athabasca Potash Inc. for around $320m. BHP has also approved a $US1.93bn expansion of its iron business in WA to increase capacity to 240m tonnes per annum in 2013. Its share of the expansion cost will be $1.73bn. Potential iron ore partner RIO will have the option to join in the expansion program once the two have established their JV officially. BHP down 2.38% to 3975c.
  • Programmed Maintenance Services (PRG) has released a trading update – It has successfully acquired KLM Group and says its 2H trading results to date were in line overall with their 2H operating performance last year (EBITA of $36m). PRG down 10.3% to 327c.
  • Australian World Exploration (AWE) down 5.1% to 261c after downgrading their FY output forecast to 6.2m barrels of oil equivalent from 6.5m.
  • Energy Resources of Australia’s (ERA) result has come in as expected. They announced a 23% rise thanks to higher uranium contract prices. ERA down 9c to 2079c.
  • Arrow Energy (AOE) down 4.5% despite lifting their 2P gas reserves by 50.3% this week.
  • The big mover today is SmartTrans Holdings (SMA), a $25m market cap company. Up 960% to 5.3c after announcing China Mobile has executed a MOU with the company. 443m shares have changed hands.
  • Macarthur Coal (MCC) down 6.4% after announcing its three way transaction with Gloucester (GCL) as well as assets held by GCL’s major shareholder Noble Group have been scaled back. Talks for a majority stake in Donaldson Coal Holdings have stalled.
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly highs today include Mantra Resources (MRU) and Macquarie Atlas Roads (MQA).

The Dow Futures are down 27 at midday.

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