The market is down 8. The SFE Futures were down 36 this morning.

Wall Street closed down 74 overnight and closed below 10,000 for the first time since July 6. Initial unemployment claims were better than expected after the prior week’s 9-month high.  Continuing claims were also down but this was due to benefits expiring, not a pick up in hiring. Metals were mostly up on the LME, the oil price rose to $73.36 and Gold was fell $3.60 to $1237.70. The Aussie dollar was up to 88.57c from 88.49c.

Today’s main points…

  • Fairfax Media (FXJ) — beats analyst forecasts — Underlying profit was up 23% to $278.7m, above analyst forecasts of $262.1m. Final dividend is 1.4c. FXJ up 5.51%.
  • Harvey Norman (HVN) underlying net profit was $290m up 15.8%, bang in line with analysts’ forecasts of $289.5m. It represents a substantial reduction in growth from the first half which was up 38.4%. Final dividend is 7c. HVN down 0.56%.
  • Sims Metal Management (SGM) — Ahead of Expectations — Up 7.8% first thing. Profit was $126.7m up from a $150.3m loss and ahead of the $117m analysts expected. Will pay a final dividend of 23c, up from 10c. SGM up 6.24%.
  • Atlas Iron (AGO) reported an annual net loss of $42.1m, down from $67.6m the previous year. Company says it is transforming “from a development company to a mining company with rapidly growing production and sales revenue.” AGO up 2.5%.
  • Abacus Property (ABP) FY profit was $25.44m up from a $102.41m loss thanks to improved property revaluations. Says it is well positioned going forward. ABP up 1.23%.
  • Intoll has recommended the improved takeover bid from Canadian suitor CPPIB. They say “the proposal of $1.52 per Intoll stapled security represents an enhancement of approximately 2.5c per stapled security to CPPIB’s initial proposal based on current exchange rates.” ITO up 1.72%.
  • Woolwoths (WOW) has gone ex-the-opportunity-to-exploit-the-off-market buyback today. Down 0.5% first thing. If you are going to collect less than $5000 worth of imputation credits this tax year as an individual or you are a super fund or corporate you can still qualify for the franking — if so you have until 31/8 to buy WOW and still be eligible for the buyback. WOW up 0.54%.
  • Merrill Lynch research points out that only 29 Australian companies had 2011 earnings upgraded for every 100 earnings downgrades in the past month. Europe had 122 upgrades for every 100 downgrades, US 144 and Hong Kong 171.

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