The market is down 22. The SFE Futures were down 54 this morning.

Wall Street closed down 140 overnight almost wiping out Friday’s gain of 164. Personal income was up 0.2% in July and below expectations. Personal spending up 0.4% above the 0.3% expected and zero growth in June, and PCE prices were up just 0.1%. The LME was closed but the oil price fell 47c to $74.70 and Gold rose $1.50 to $1239.40. The Aussie dollar was $89.28, down from 90.14c.

Today’s main points…

  • Market rallies on economic numbers — Current Account numbers have come in better than expected ($5.64bn deficit versus $6.5bn expected), Retail Sales rallied 0.7% in July (expected +0.4%) and Building Approvals up 2.3% (ahead of 1.0% fall expected).
  • Lihir Gold (LGL) were suspended from trade yesterday and officially merged with Newcrest. It is now the fourth largest gold company in the world. LGL shareholders received 1 NCM share for every 8.43 LGL shares they owned plus 22.5c cash. The shares will be distributed to shareholders on September 13. NCM up 1.42% to 3652c.
  • Centro Properties (CNP) reported an annual $652.7m net loss, better than the $3.54bn loss in the previous year thanks to significantly lower property devaluations. CNP down 5.71%.
  • Eleven more women appear likely to join the sexual harassment claims against David Jones’ former CEO Mark McInnes and against David Jones, some claiming harassment from McInnes whilst not at David Jones and some claiming sexual harassment at David Jones but not from McInnes. DJS up 1c to 500c.
  • Southern Cross Media Group (SXL) reported an $82.7m net loss for the year — a 2.2% improvement on the previous year’s $84.6m loss. CEO Rhys Holleran said “we remain cautiously optimistic about the second quarter of the 2011 financial year.” SXL up 0.85%.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) will invest $US1.6bn as it expands its Pilbara iron ore operations as part of its strategy to grow production by 100 million tonnes in order to exploit long term demand from China. RIO down 88c to 7013c.
  • HOLD recommendations everywhere — Fewer than 29% of worldwide brokerage stock ratings are “buys”. More than 54% of ratings for companies in the US, UK, Japan and Brazil are “holds”, the highest level since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 1997. “Sell” ratings in the US have fallen to 5.1%, half the level of 2003.
  • GSJB Were indicates that margins (measured as EBITDA over revenue) during the reporting season fell to 10.8% on average from 11.2%.

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