The market is up 10. The SFE Futures were up 12 this morning.

Wall Street closed up 68 overnight. The situation in Egypt was partially defused by an army statement that they would not harm citizens causing the Dow to rally 50 points in the last hour. Better than expected quarterly results from Exxon Mobil and positive US consumer spending helped. The oil price was up $2.85 to $92.19. Gold was down $7.20 to $1334.50. The AUS was down slightly to 99.72c from 99.98c.

Today’s main stories…

  • Wesfarmers (WES) announced solid 2nd Q sales numbers yesterday. The general consensus from brokers is that the sales numbers were good but that it is mostly reflected in the share price. WES down 0.9%.
  • Cougar Energy (CXY) is down 55% this morning on the news that the Queensland Government wants to shut down their underground coal gasification operations at Kingaroy. CXY down 51.1%.
  • Asciano (AIO) has secured a long term contract with Anglo American Metallurgical Coal to haul a further 3.5mtpa of coal.  It is worth $200m over 9.5 years. AIO unchanged at 160.5c.
  • Singapore’s Republic Investment plans to revamp Innamincka Petroleum (INP) and fund its development of large and potentially lucrative, but risky oil resources in the Cooper Basin. Arrow Energy’s former CEO Nick Davies will head the project. INP up 16.7%.
  • New Hope Corp (NHC) has raised its bid for Northern Energy (NEC) to $1.75 per share from $1.50, valuing NEC at $225m, up from $193m. NHC up 0.4%, NEC up 0.6%. ROC Oil (ROC) met its 2010 production guidance, and said China’s CNOOC has approved the US$300m development of two offshore oil fields southern China. ROC up 3.9%.
  • Toll Group (TOL) has acquired Dubai based sea-air service provider SAT Albatros for an undisclosed sum. Toll said it expected the acquisition to add to EPS in its first year. TOL down 0.5%.
  • Sundance Resources (SDL) confirmed it held preliminary talks with Korean steelmaker POSCO about joint venturing in its Mbalam project in West Africa. But it denied that any agreement has been struck yet. SDL unchanged at 49.5c.
  • The NAB Monthly Business Survey showed business confidence fell to an almost 2-year low in December due to the Qld floods. But business conditions improved in December with the economy expected to grow at a moderate 2.4% in 2011.
  • The Australian house price index rose 0.7% in the December quarter after a 0.3% fall in the September quarter.
  • The AIG/PwC Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) showed that manufacturing remained soft in January, rising 0.4 points to 46.7. It was below 50 for the fifth consecutive month due to weak domestic demand and a stronger AUD. Readings below 50 indicate a contraction in activity.

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