The market is down 46. The SFE Futures were down 12 this morning.

Wall Street closed up 73 on Friday. The Dow was up 73 at best and down 15 at worst. The Dow registered its third consecutive week of gains and has only closed down three sessions in February. The NASDAQ also closed up and is now only 25 points off its 10 year high. Political unrest continued in the Middle East with protests in Libya and Bahrain. The oil price fell 16c to $86.20 and Gold put on $3.50 at $1388.60. The Aussie dollar improved to 101.41c compared to 101.16c on Friday.

US Markets will be closed tonight for the Presidents Day Holiday.

Today’s main stories…

  • Dominating the headlines is West Australian Newspapers (WAN) announcing they will pay $4.1bn for Seven Media Group owned 45% by Seven Group (SVW) and 45% by KKR. WAN is currently in a trading halt as they conduct a $1.15bn capital raising to pay for the transaction. Last traded at 634c. Seven Media Group is three times the size of WAN. They also announced a 1.2% rise in 1st half earnings to $50.1m and declared a 19c dividend. SVW down 12c to 897c.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) announced a slightly better than expected FY result. Net profit came in at $US1.57bn compared to the $US1.53bn analysts expected. Declared a 55c dividend, up from US49c, taking the FY dividends to $US1.05. WPL up 9c to 4283c.
  • BlueScope Steel (BSL) — down 5% to 225c — Their result failed to impress. Reported a higher than expected net loss of $55m, up from a $28m loss last year. They did declare an interim dividend of 2c.
  • Flight Centre (FLT) announced a 38% rise in 1st half profits but said that type of growth is unlikely to be maintained over the full year. Net profit reached $70.5m (in line with expectations) and they declared an interim dividend of 36c, up from 26c last year. FLT down 2.3% to 2288c.
  • UGL Ltd (UGL) announced a 17% rise in 1st half profit to $65m, in line with analyst forecasts. Says they’re on track to deliver 10 to 15% net profit growth for the financial year. UGL up 4c to 1544c.
  • Amcor (AMC) reported a 138% rise in profit to $226.1m for the 1st half. The result would have been even better if not for the weak A$ and Euro. Expects significantly higher earnings in the 2nd half. AMC up 2.6% to 690c.
  • Caltex Australia (CTX) 1st half operating profit was up 49% to $302m. Company has a positive long and medium term outlook. They will pay a 30c final dividend. CTX up 5.7% to 1515c.
  • Stocks going ex dividend today: Austereo (22c), Cochlear (105c), Telstra (14c).

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