The market is up 45. The SFE Futures were up 40 this morning.

Wall Street closed up 44 on Friday. The Dow was up 57 at best and down 49 at worst. The S&P 500 ended the week 1.4% higher. The Dow was up 1.5% for the week. Markets did well after Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak announced he would stand down. The Dow was down 49 early on as he tried to remain in office. Metal prices were mostly down in London, Gold fell $2.10 to $1360.41 and Oil dropped $1.15 at $85.58. The Aussie dollar is floating around parity at 100.09c.

Today’s main stories…

  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (BEN) — Results in Line with Expectations — Cash profit increased by 16% to $162.1m thanks to business and home loan lending growth. Declared an interim dividend of 30c. BEN down 1.5% to 999c.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) — Results in Line With Guidance — Announced a 25% fall in 1stH net profit to $216.7m. Natural disasters affected the result. LEI has jumped around today — fell to a low of 2988c, now up 1.2% too 3111c.
  • Insurance Australia Group (IAG) — Market Update (Not Good) — They have cut their FY insurance margin guidance to 9-11% from 10.5%-12.5%. IAG down 4.2% to 360c. Not a great year for insurance stocks so far.
  • The AFR suggests that Alesco Corp (ALS) could be bid for by GWA Group (GWA). ALS recently announced results that the market liked and goes 1.5c ex dividend today. ALS up 2.3% to 352c and GWA down 1c to 323c.
  • Western Areas (WSA) announced a 1st H net profit of $67.2m, up from $10.7m last year. Declared an interim dividend of 10c compared to 3c last year. The market likes the result – WSA up 4% to 651c.
  • Specialty Fashion (SFH) — 1stHprofit fell 37% target price $16.8m due to difficult trading conditions saying apparel retailers face “a new headwind” with rising input costs from China. Declared a full franked interim dividend of 4c, in line with last year. SFH down 4c to 122c.
  • Horizon Oil (HZN) will announce a final decision within 6 months for its $US200m plus gas liquids project in Papua New Guinea. Talk is that Oil Search (OSH) will eventually bid for the HZN given their position in PNG, NZ and their China project. HZN unchanged at 35.5c.
  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA) goes ex-dividend today 132c – the stock is up 7.2% in the past 30 days. Bradken (18.5c), Alesco Corp. (1.5c) and Reckon (4.5c) also go ex-dividend.
  • Stocks hitting 52 week highs today: BHP Billiton (BHP), Austereo Group (AEI), Henderson Group (HGG), Metals X (LMX) and Linc Energy (LNC).

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