The market is down 39. Resources underperforming with BHP and RIO taking 22 points off the ASX 200. The SFE Futures were down 6 this morning.

Wall Street closed up 5 overnight. The Dow was up 66 at best and down 75 at worst. Economic data was generally good. We have Employment numbers tonight. Banks were the major disappointment, the Energy sector outperformed. Gold fell $12.60 to $1210, the Oil price up $1.75 to $74.61 and the Aussie dollar up to 84.23c from 84.18c.

In other news today…

  • The National Australia Bank (NAB) announce they’re in talks with potential buyers of AXA’s North Investment platform, an asset they need to sell in order to satisfy the ACCC’s regulatory concerns about their bid for AXA. NAB down 3.3% go 2426c.
  • Front page of the business section in The Australian tells us the National Australia Bank and the ANZ Bank were considering merging in 2008 during the GFC. They held talks for several months in the 1st half of 2008 but the idea didn’t win support from the Rudd government. ANZ CEO Mike Smith would have been CEO of the combined group because at the time the NAB hasn’t appointed their new CEO. ANZ down 18c to 2257c.
  • The takeover $3.5bn bid for Arrow Energy (AOE) from PetroChina and Royal Dutch Shell (479c a share) has been described as fair and reasonable by an independent expert. AOE down 1.2% to 484c.
  • The RSPT is said to be making it difficult for OZ Minerals (OZL) to find a copper project to acquire as it looks to expand its asset base. Analysts believe OZL will have to look overseas for growth opportunities. OZL down 3c to 105c.
  • Vale wants to exercise their option to acquire Aquila’s (AQA) 24.5% stake in the Belvedere coal project but the two of them are bumping heads on what is a fair and reasonable price. AQA up 15c to 898c.
  • Tabcorp Holdings (TAH) is rumoured to have put their expansion plans into the pub sector on hold on the back of talk that John Nicholson may buy Castello Group’s gaming hotels for around $80m. TAH up 1c to 658c.
  • Cochlear (COH) has paid $US950,000 to resolve a long running case with the US government. COH down 29c to 7470c.
  • Centro Properties (CNP) announce they won’t be paying a distribution in 2009/10. CNP down 2.7c to 18c.
  • Cougar Metals (CGM) up 59% to 3.5c on big volume after announcing high grade gold assays their Alta Floresta project.
  • Nido Petroleum (NDO) is in a trading halt. Last traded at 19.5c.
  • Stocks hitting fresh 52 week lows include: Ausenco (AAX), Alliance Resources (AGS) and Nexbis (NBS)

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