The market is down 86. The SFE Futures were down 54 this morning.

Wall Street closed down another 58. The Dow was up 20 at best down 111 at worst. Volatility is picking up again and is now at a three month high. The S&P 500 fell below its 50 day moving average before closing above it. Metals struggled on the LME overnight — Nickel fell 11%. UK election tonight. Oil price fell $2.54 to $82.09, Gold up $5.80 to $1175. The Aussie dollar fell to 90.68c compared to 90.92c.

In the news today…

  • National Australia Bank (NAB) — Interim Result OK — 1st H cash profit up 8.2% to $2.193bn, slightly ahead of the figure analysts had expected of around $2.16bn but a few analysts have described the result as poor in quality … similar to Westpac’s result yesterday. NAB down 2.5% to 2610c.
  • BAD REACTION: Just about every broker has downgraded Westpac Bank (WBC) this morning on the back of their result yesterday. The numbers came in slightly better-than-expected, but the composition of the result was criticised. WBC down another 4.3% today to 2507c.
  • Brambles (BXB) — down 11c to 714c — after announcing a flat trading update. Revenue increasing slightly for the quarter but they are expecting yet another flat year.
  • Corporate Express<(CXP) — Trading Update — They say gross profit is down 0.9% to $78.9m. The stock currently under a takeover offer from majority shareholder Staples so the trading comment is a bit irrelevant. 556c down 2c.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Peabody will still pursue their $3.8bn takeover offer for Macarthur Coal (MCC) despite the new tax proposals.
  • Telstra (TLS) up 3c to 316c today. The McKinsey report on the National Broadband Network due at 1.30pm today is expected to conclude the NBN will still be commercial with or without Telstra.
  • Sims Metal Management (SGM) released their 2010 3rd Q result — Net profit came in at $30.4m on sales of $1.6bn. EBIT stood at $43.1m. Trading conditions improved from the previous quarter and they now expect sequential earnings growth in the 4th Q. SGM up 3.1% to 2099c
  • Centennial Coal (CEY) — up 21.5% to 485c — after a large parcel of 22m shares, a 5.6% stake, were traded this morning at $5 a share against a market price of 399c. CEY say they have no idea who the buyer is.
  • Due to the uncertainty of the new tax changes, Rio Tinto’s (RIO) head of iron ore Sam Welsh says RIO will put new Australian iron ore projects on hold, including a planned $10bn expansion of their Pilbara iron ore operations by 2015. RIO down 2.5% to 6660c
  • Stocks hitting a new 52 week low include: Australasian Resources (ARH), Hutchinson (HTA) and Infigen Energy (IFN)

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