The market is up 10. The SFE Futures were up 3 this morning.

Wall Street was closed overnight for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. European markets were mostly down. European finance ministers met to discuss a doubling of the eurozone debt rescue fund, although there is German resistance to the idea. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen may step down amid criticism of his handling of Ireland’s debt issues. The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3% after the bank reserve rate was hiked for the seventh time in a year. Metals struggled on the LME — all closed slightly lower. The Aussie dollar now at 99.11c, down from 99.75c.

Today’s main stories…

  • Watpac (WTP) has released a company update and profit guidance. Says net profit is likely to be significantly lower than the previous 1st half due to wet weather on the east coast. Profit for the six months is expected to be $3m-$4m, down from $10.4m. WTP down 11.8% to 163c.
  • Fortescue Metals (FMG) — Quarterly Production Report — Iron ore shipped up 12.6% on last year. Cash at the end of Dec stands at $US2.37bn. Says average selling price for iron ore was $US150 a ton with cash costs up 20% to $US41.50 a tonne. FMG up 9c to 682c.
  • BC Iron (BCI) says it is no longer seeking to build its own port to export the ore it producers. It has a JV with FMG “where access to rail and a port has been secured”. BCI down 2c to 317c.
  • Lend Lease (LLC) has received approval for its 4800-home Calderwood Project Plan. LLC down 9c to 890c.
  • IRESS Market Technology (IRE) has acquired South African based Peresys and Peresys’ technology for around $56.1m. IRE up 11c to 873c.
  • One broker predicts copper will average $12,100 a metric ton in the 2nd half of the year, almost one quarter higher than its three-month overnight close of $9,265.
  • Goodman Fielder (GFF) announced its CEO, Peter Margin, will be leaving the company on 30 April 2011. GFF down 2.5% to 131.5c.
  • Webjet (WEB) has announced several deals with companies around the world that it says will help with its growth ambitions. WEB up 1c to 246c.
  • GrainCorp (GNC) is continuing to suffer from the impact of floods in Victoria – down 2.7% to 735c.
  • Stocks hitting 52 week highs: Aurora Oil & Gas (AUT), Bannerman Resources (BMN), Resolute Mining (RSG), Westfield Retail Trust (WRT).

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