The market is up 31. The SFE Futures were up 17 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 4 on Friday. The Dow was up 17 at best and down 38 at worst. So much for October being a bad month for markets — the S&P 500 gained for the second consecutive month up 3.5%. It is now up 16% from its July low. The advance 3rd Q GDP estimates met expectations of 2% growth but stripping out inventories was down from +0.9% to +0.6%. Metals were mostly down, oil price fell 75c to $81.43, Gold put on $15.10 to $1357.60 and the Aussie dollar was up to 98.49c from 97.84c.

Busy week ahead. We have the FOMC & RBA meetings, Melbourne Cup tomorrow, US Mid term congressional elections, US jobs numbers  and a number of company results including WBC, LEI, WAN, NWS, MAP & CSR.

Today’s main points…

  • Ten Network (TEN) responded to media speculation over the weekend by announcing it already had a plan in place, before Packer’s raid on the company, for Nick Falloon to move away from the chairman role into a non-executive role. TEN are offering James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch seats on the board. TEN up 1.4c to 145.5c.
  • Russia’s largest steelmaker, Severstal, made a bid for uranium explorer Berkeley Resources (BKY) over the weekend. They are offering $2 a share cash with the deal being subject to Severstal conducting due diligence. BKY up 14% to 182.5c.
  • BHP Billiton (BHP) takeover target Potash Corp of Saskatchewan has revealed that it has been in talks with 15 potential rival bidders as it seeks to fend off BHP’s hostile takeover bid. The Canadian government said it will decide no later than Wednesday whether it will let BHP bid for Potash. BHP up 1.5% to 4240c.
  • Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) plans to buy back subordinated debt at $80 per note as part of its capital management program. BEN up 2c to 907c.
  • Sigma Pharmaceuticals (SIP) has been served with a statement of claim as part of its pending shareholder class action relating to a capital raising in 2009. SIP down 1c to 44.5c.
  • Pacific Brands (PBG) has agreed to sell its Dunlop Foams and Sleepmaker businesses to Sleepyhead for $55m. PBG up 1.84%.
  • Downer EDI (DOW) up 3% to 524c after signing a maintenance agreement with Main Roads in WA worth around $50m a year for the next five years.
  • UGL Ltd (UGL) has secured rail orders totaling $250m. Expects “healthy” expansion in rail business over FY11. UGL up 13c to 1487c.
  • The average price of established houses in Australian capital cities increased 0.1% in the 3rd Q.

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