The market is down 20. The SFE Futures were down 16 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 31 on Friday but ended higher for the second straight week. The Nasdaq closed up 1.37% on strong results from Google (up 11% — its 4% of the NASDAQ) and talk of Seagate Technology going private. A Bernanke speech made it pretty obvious that another round of quantitative easing is on the cards. Gold lost $5.60 and the oil price fell $1.44 to $81.25. The Aussie dollar is at 98.74c after briefly hitting parity over the weekend.

Today’s main points…

  • The $116bn BHP Billiton (BHP) — Rio Tinto (RIO) iron ore JV has been terminated. BHP down 0.77%, RIO down 0.38%.
  • Perpetual (PPT) received an indicative $1.75bn takeover offer from private equity group KKR at a 25% premium ($38-40). PPT is up 22.7% at 3801c. Other fund management stocks (PTM, CGF, AXA, AMP) are up on the back of it.
  • Tabcorp Holdings (TAH) has been placed in a trading halt as they raise $430m in a rights issue and look to demerge their gaming and wagering businesses. TAH is in a trading halt.
  • News Corp (NWS) held its AGM on Friday in New York. Rupert Murdoch said its businesses were in a “fundamentally stronger” position than last year. NWS up 0.63%.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) has applied to the Australian regulator for protection of minority shareholder interests following a takeover approach by Spanish builder ACS for LEI’s German parent Hochtief. LEI up 0.64%.
  • Challenger Financial Services (CGF) says FUM totaled $25.5bn, up 18% from the previous Q. CGF up 4.76%.
  • David Jones (DJS) said it reached a settlement with Kristy Fraser-Kirk of $850,000. Fraser-Kirk was demanding $37m from DJS and former CEO Mark McInnes over a sexual harassment claim. DJS down 0.21%.
  • Oil States International has launched a $651m takeover bid (390c a share) for MAC Services Group (MSL). MSL was placed in a trading halt ahead of the announcement Friday and is up 14.6% to 385c after it was lifted this morning.
  • Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, is looking to sell a stake in her QLD coal business, Hancock Coal, in a deal worth up to $2bn.
  • Sigma Pharmaceuticals (SIP) has extended its exclusivity agreement with Aspen Pharmacare to Oct 29. to give more time to negotiate the $900m sale of its pharmaceuticals division to Aspen. SIP up 0.16%.
  • Centro Properties (CNP) is said to be working on the sale of a $2bn asset portfolio including the sale of the management of ING’s office and industrial trust. CNP unchanged at 16c.

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