The market is up 6. The SFE Futures were down 47 this morning.

Wall Street continued its negative run falling 53 on Friday. The Dow was up 119 at best and down 77 at worst. January was a bad month — the Dow lost 3.46% and the S&P 500 finished 3.76% lower. It was the worst month since February 2009 and the first monthly fall in 6 months. Oil fell 1.2% and the Gold price continued its slide losing $6.80. The Aussie dollar fell a cent to 88.37c compared to 89.51c Friday morning.

In the news today:

  • Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) is the big mover today – up over 10% after announcing a profit upgrade. They expect a FY profit, excluding significant items, of $116m, which is ahead of analysts’ expectations.
  • Argo Investments (ARG) announces a 14.7% fall in 1H profit to $82.72m. EPS fell to 14.1c from 16.9c. Chairman Chris Harris is expecting growth in Aussie company profits and dividend ahead. He says, “The global and Australian economic data continues to support improving economic conditions, with both consumer and business confidence levels continuing to rise”. ARG up 3cd to 675c.
  • Map Group (MAP) has had their corporate credit rating withdrawn after it cleared its corporate debt. MAP up 5c to 283c.
  • Navitas (NVT) up 2% after announcing a 45% rise in 1H net profit on strong student enrollments. Patersons maintains its BUY recommendation and 431c target price
  • Crane Group (CRG) up 4.4% to 921c on talk Wesfarmers (WES) is set to launch a takeover bid. Street Talk says WES is interesting in their TradeLink division.
  • Eastern Star Gas (ESG) up 5.8% to 82c after beating their reserves target for calendar 2010.
  • Straits Resources (SRL) has reached financial close and has drawn funds on the US$380m 5 year club financing facility signed with Siam Commercial Bank in Bangkok. SRL up 1.5c to 143c.
  • Xstrata is planning to build a large 100m tonnes a year thermal coal operation in QLD that could cost $15bn and could overtake the Hunter Valley as Australia’s biggest coal producing region.
  • Gindalbie Metals (GBG) and Chinese steelmaker Sinosteel Corp have struck an agreement to share infrastructure at their iron projects that are close by. GBG up 2c to 97c.
  • Australia’s manufacturing sector grew faster than expected in January with the index increasing by 2.5 points to 51.0.
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly highs today include Webjet (WEB), Navitas (NVT) and United Minerals (UMC). Stocks hitting new yearly lows include Nexus Energy (NXS) and Geodynamics (GDY).

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