The market is down 34. The SFE Futures were down 17 this morning. We are doing OK considering we are in Day 5 of a “National Emergency”.

US and UK Markets were closed overnight for Memorial Day Holiday and the Spring Bank Holiday respectively.  The general impression is that European stockmarkets held up well overnight despite the Spanish Fitch credit rating downgrade on the weekend. The RBA decides on interest rates this afternoon. Most economists expect them to leave rates on Hold. Futures suggest a 14% chance of a cut (!)

In other news today…

  • Metcash (MTS) — FY Result — FY net profit increased 12.4% to $227.6m, up from $202.5m. It was slightly above Patersons’ expectations of $225m. MTS up 4c to 389c.
  • AXA Asia Pacific Holdings (AXA) and National Australia Bank (NAB) have extended an exclusivity agreement as NAB continues to satisfy the ACCC after its initial bid for AXA was rejected.  AXA up 5c to 587c and NAB down 43c to 2420c.
  • Downer EDI (DOW) down nearly 20% to 508c after announcing they have made a pre-tax provision of $190m for cost overruns at their Waratah train JV with the NSW government.
  • Gunns (GNS) down 2c today to 46c after putting on more than 30% in the past couple of sessions on the back of their CEO resigning and speculation that they will be bid for. Deutsche Bank has emerged as a 5.51% shareholder in GNS.
  • Cape Lambert (CFE) agreed to sell Lady Annie in QLD to China Sci-Tech for a total consideration of $135m. CFE up 3.7% to 42c.
  • GrainCorp (GNC) has appointed Alison Watkins at their new CEO. GNC down 5c to 585c.
  • Flight Centre (FLT) sees no evidence of a slowdown in demand in Australia and says the ash cloud in Europe and British Airways strikes had no material impact on earnings. FLT up 4c to 1676c.
  • Australian government final consumption expenditure increased 0.8% in the 1st Q.
  • Total number of Australian houses and apartments approved for construction fell by a seasonably adjusted 14.8% in April from March. Economists had expected a 5% fall.
  • Australian retail sales increased by higher-than-expected 0.6% in March. Economists expected a 0.3% rise. Hasn’t done much for the share price of retailers. WOW down 20c to 2645c, WES down 16c to 2894c, HVN down 4c to 340c, DJS up 1c to 441c, JBH up 9c to 1865c.
  • India’s economy grew by 8.6% in the last quarter, slightly below the 8.8% economists expected.
  • Stocks hitting fresh 52 week highs include: Healthscope (HSP) and Silver Lake Resource (SLR). Stocks hitting fresh yearly lows include ASX Ltd (ASX) and Geodynamics (GDY).

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