The market is up 17. The SFE Futures were up 13 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 64 overnight. The Dow was up 95 at best and up 1 at worst. The Dow and the S&P 500 both hit six months highs and the Dow at one point moved above its highest closing level since the Lehman Brother’s collapse. The Federal Reserve is expected to announce plans to buy $500bn of long-term securities tonight in a second round of quantitative easing. Metals were mostly up, the oil price put on 95c to $83.90 and Gold was up $6.30 to $1356.90. The Aussie dollar hit parity at around 6pm yesterday after the RBA surprised many by lifting rates.

Today’s main points…

  • RATE RISE — The RBA surprised the market by lifting the cash rate 25bps to 4.75% yesterday after six consecutive months of keeping them unchanged. Only six of 23 economists predicted a rise. The Commonwealth Bank upped its variable mortgage rate by 45bps, 20bps more than the RBA. Treasurer Wayne Swan has told CBA customers to look for better options.
  • Westpac Bank (WBC) — Result in line with expectations — FY cash profit up 26% to $5.879bn, in line with the $5.844bn expected. Declared a fully franked final dividend of 74c a share, consensus was for 70c. Say they are positive on the domestic economy in the medium term but funding costs continue to remain high. WBC up 0.8% to 2349c.
  • Westfield Group (WDC) — Trading Halt pending a split of the group into a new company called Westfield Retail, which will take half of their Australian and New Zealand assets, with the rest including the international assets remaining with WDC. The split will include a $3.5bn share issue. (Up to $2bn public offer and up to $1.5bn offer to eligible Westfield security holders). WDC last traded at 1281c.
  • CSR Ltd (CSR) — Results in line — Net profit up 140% to $63m but down 8% to $89m after taking into account significant items. Declared an interim dividend of 3c. CSR up 1.5c to 181.5c.
  • Downer EDI (DOW) held its AGM this morning. It expects 2011 EBIT in line with underlying NPAT in 2010 and around 5% growth in earnings before tax in 2011. DOW down 4c to 513c.
  • QBE Insurance (QBE) has completed the takeover of Belgium’s Secura after receiving regulatory approval. QBE up 4c to 1750c.
  • SP Ausnet (SPN) has executed three bank debt facilities to raise $400m. SPN down 1c to 92c.
  • Stocks hitting 52 week highs include: Acrux (ACR), Bendigo Mining (BDG), Brockman Resources (BRM), Mount Gibson (MGX) and Tatts Group (TTS).
  • Stocks hitting fresh 52 weeks lows — Crane Group (CRG) and Harvey Norman (HVN).

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