The market is down 2. The SFE Futures were down 13 this morning.

Wall Street closed down 19 overnight after being up as much as 43 early in the session — it hit a 52-week intraday high at 11,519. The US Senate passed the $858bn two-year extension of Bush’s tax cuts. The NY Empire manufacturing index came in well above expectations. The consumer price index rose a lower than expected 0.1%, while industrial production grew more than expected. The gold price fell $18.10 to $1386.20 and the oil price was up 34c to $88.62. The $A dropped to 98.63c from 99.91c.

Today’s main points…

  • The National Australia Bank (NAB) held its AGM today. Not much in it. NAB up 4c to 2449c. Westpac was up just 7c on their AGM yesterday.
  • Analysts believe Boral, Wesfarmers and GWA International could also bid for Crane Group (CRG) and trump Fletcher Building. CRG down 1%.
  • There is a good chance that Woolworths (WOW) could bid for Cellarmasters, Australia’s largest direct seller of home delivered wine despite recently saying it wasn’t interested. WOW up 0.45%.
  • AMP Ltd (AMP) has completed due diligence on AXA Asia Pacific (AXA). The offer now remains subject to shareholder, court and other regulatory approvals. AMP up 5 to 531c, AXA down 0.5c to 624.5c.
  • Clough (CLO) is in a trading halt pending an announcement about a “major contract”. CLO unchanged at 66.5c.
  • Orica (ORI) has held its AGM — reiterates FY11 net profit guidance and says it will continue to assess acquisition opportunities. Says the demerger of DuluxGroup has been a positive for both parties. ORI up 2c to 2518c.Downer EDI (DOW) has won a $900m 5 year deal with Idemitsu Australia Resources to provide mining services at  the Boggabri open-cut coal mine in NSW. DOW up 1%.
  • Grant Blackley was named the new CEO of Ten Network (TEN) yesterday. TEN down 0.5c to 144.5c.
  • Talk is that by the end of the year, Lend Lease (LLC) will be announcing the acquisition of Valemus, the Australian construction and engineering arm of Bilfinger Berger that pulled its IPO this year. LLC is currently trading on a FY11 PE of 13.2x and only yielding 3.86%. The average target price amongst analysts is 828c. LLC up 14c to 842c.
  • December SPI Futures expired this morning … explains the large volumes on the open.
  • Brokers have cut their target prices on Billabong International (BBG) after its profit downgrade yesterday. BBG down 1c to 809c.

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