The market is down 6.  The SFE Futures were down 23 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 79 overnight. China downgraded its GDP forecasts from 7.5% to 7.0% for the next five years (they managed 11.2% in the last five years) and are seeking to boost imports to reduce their trade surplus. Fighting in Libya continues with no resolution likely in the short term. The oil price rose 58c to $105. Gold gained $5.90 to $1434.50 and the Aussie dollar fell to 101.16c.

Today’s main stories…

  • The Court has given final approval for the merger of AMP with AXA Asia Pacific with their Asian assets going to the parent AXA of France. Today is the last day of trading in AXA. AXA unchanged at 641, AMP down 1c.
  • Transurban’s (TCL) Chairman Lindsay Maxwell said that despite rejecting a $7.2bn takeover offer from its three largest shareholders last year, it would seriously consider another takeover offer — at the right price. TCL down 0.8%.
  • FairfaxMedia (FXJ) has paid $29.1m for website company “Occupancy” as it continues push to add more online transaction companies. FXJ said Occupancy has “huge market potential” and will merge the business with its existing accommodation site Stayz. FXJ up 0.8%.
  • Gunns (GNS) has offered to voluntarily impose far tougher environmental guidelines on its proposed new pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley. The mill will use only plantation timber and reduce chlorine emissions by a different bleaching process. GNS unchanged at 60c.
  • Lend Lease (LLC) has been awarded a $US170m contract to expand Delta Air Lines’ Terminal at JFK Airport in New York. LLC said there were some positive signs that market conditions were stabilising and that it was well positioned to benefit from a recovery in the US. LLC down 2c to 907c.
  • Clean Seas Tuna has raised $6.9m through a placement at 11c to Norwegian investor Frode Teigan whose holding has risen from 4.5% to 17%. CSS up 13.6% yesterday. CSS up another 4% to 13c.
  • Kalahari Minerals, which holds a 43% interest in Extract Resources (EXT), announced a possible cash offer from China’s state-owned Uranium Resources. EXT directors are considering the implications for the company. EXT up 6.6%.
  • Lynas Corporation (LYC) says it may sell its Crown polymetallic deposit at Mount Weld in WA to Forge Resources (FGE). LYC up 2.4%, FGE up 0.3%.
  • The Dun & Bradstreet business expectations survey shows sales expectations have fallen to the lowest level in 7 quarters, but remain above the 10-year average. The survey found “Expectations are particularly weak for the retail sector, which has struggled to stimulate consumer interest even with heavy discounting”.

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