The market is down 19. The SFE Futures were down 17 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 19 overnight. It came within 2 points of 11,000 but closed at 10948. Unemployment claims were a bit better than expected. Most stores reported better than expected same store sales numbers. The 3rd Q results season started with Alcoa up 2.5% in after hours trade on its late results. Other stocks fell on results. The gold price fell $12.70 to $1347.70 and the oil price fell $1.46. The Aussie dollar closed at 98.24c having hit a record high of 99.18c at one point.

Today’s main points…

  • Harvey Norman (HVN) has signed a five-year extension with its finance provider, GE Money, which will allow it to offer consumers long-dated, interest-free deals in the lead-up to the Christmas trading period. HVN down 2.85% at 375c down from 395c three weeks ago.
  • Only two days to go before QR National releases its prospectus. Retail investors will receive a discount of up to 10% as a combination of a lower upfront price and a free loyalty shares entitlement. It will be Australia’s biggest IPO in more than 10 years.
  • Today is the last to elect to participate in the Woolworths (WOW) $700m off-market share buyback. WOW down 0.17%.
  • BHP Billiton (BHP) expects to pay about $90.07bn in royalties and taxes to government over the multi-decade operating life of its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada. BHP down 0.32%.
  • All the talk in recent weeks has been about a potential bid from SAB Miller for Fosters Group’s (FGL)  beer division, but it SAB appear more interested in buying Groupe Castle, a privately held company with operations in the fast growing African market. FGL down 0.81%.
  • Worth a mention, Westpac Bank’s CEO Gail Kelly has been named the world’s eighth most powerful woman.
  • The $1.24 billion takeover offer for AWB Ltd (AWB) by Canada’s Agrium is “fair and reasonable and in the best interests of shareholders”, according to an independent expert.
  • Northern Energy Corporation (NEC) has rejected a takeover approach from rival coal miner New Hope Corporation (NHC) as inadequate but says it is open to continuing discussions. NEC in trading halt. Market cap $143m.
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly highs today include: AWB, FMG, WSA, CMJ, PGA.

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