The market is up 18. The SFE Futures were up 45 this morning.

Wall Street closed up another 106 overnight. December is off to a flyer — 356 points in two sessions — best two-day gain since July. Dow up 118 at best and up 0 at worst. The European Central Bank delayed its withdrawal of emergency liquidity measures and bought more government bonds. Better than expected US economic data was the catalyst overnight. Metals were all up overnight on the LME. Oil price was up 1.4% at $88.00 per barrel for its highest close since October 2008. Gold was up $1 to $1389.30. The Aussie dollar improved to 97.60c from 96.80c.

Today’s main points… quiet finish to the week.

  • David Jones (DJS) held its AGM today. New CEO Paul Zahra did not provide earnings guidance but did say it had never been better prepared for a Christmas trading period. DJS up 3c to 445c.
  • Sonic Healthcare (SHL) will borrow $US250m on the US bond market to repay bank loans and fund future growth. Management said the transaction “has been well oversubscribed”. SHL up 4c to 1190c.
  • Talk of Westpac Bank (WBC) announcing a $2.5bn 3-part debt offering with price guidance being in the area of 75bps over 3-month LIBOR. WBC up 13c to 2209c.
  • Orica (ORI) says the Danish government has postponed its plan to accept waste shipment. The waste shipment was to be from ORI’s Botany site in Sydney. ORI up 10c to 2549c.
  • James Hardie (JHX) up 4.3%, hitting a 4-month high after U.S. pending home sales surged record 10.4% in October, beating expectations. JHX up 13% this week.
  • Citadel (CGG) directors have accepted Equinox Mineral’s (EQN) takeover bid.
  • The AFR says Nathan Tinkler’s Aston Resources (AZT) is close to a deal with Japan’s Itochu. AZT down 0.67%.
  • Australia’s services sector weakened in November to 46.2, down 4.5 points. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in activity.
  • Stocks going ex dividend today include: AHC, AKT and CPB.
  • Ardent Leisure (AAD) has closed a $240m debt facility with two banks. AAD up 1c to 103.5c.
  • Stocks hitting fresh yearly highs: Ausdrill (ASL), Aurora Oil & Gas (AUT), Bradken (BKN), Discovery Metals (DML), Iluka Resources (ILU) and Oil Search (OSH).

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