The market is down 34.  The SFE Futures were down 5 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 51 overnight. The Dow was down 147 at its worst reacting to the full extent of the earthquake in Japan and subsequent nuclear power plant explosions. Japan‘s Nikkei fell 6.2% yesterday in its worst single session slide in more than two years and is at its lowest level in 4 months. European markets also struggled but metal prices were mostly up. Gold price put on $3.10 to $1424.90, oil price up 3c to $101.19. The Aussie dollar remains above parity at 100.94c.

Today’s main stories…

  • For more on the Earthquake impact sections below.
  • Origin Energy (ORG) has announced their anticipated share issue. They hope to raise $2.3bn to pay down debt associated with their acquisition of electricity assets in NSW. New shares will be issued at $13 a share, a 17% discount to last weeks close. They have reiterated FY underlying guidance of around 15% growth. ORG in a trading halt – last traded at 1566c.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) subsidiary has secured a $US600m contract for the construction of a hospital in Abu Dhabi. LEI down 28c to 2882c.
  • Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) announced the Japan disaster is unlikely to have a significant impact on their operations. ALL is down 2c to 334c.
  • Gindalbie Metals (GBG) announces a 1st half profit of $313m. GBG down 0.5c to 102c.
  • Resourcehouse (owned by Clive Palmer) and Galaxy Resources have put their ambitions of listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange on ice because of the uncertainty surrounding financial markets.
  • Talk of Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments (PMV) bidding for an online or unlisted retailer. PMV has been sitting on $315m worth of cash for over a year. PMV unchanged at 592c.
  • Stockland Group (SGP) has bought a 40 hectare residential development site in the NSW Hunter region of $22m. SGP down 2c to 361c.
  • The RBA Minutes out today suggest interest rates in Australia are unlikely to change in the next couple of months. They main message is that the outlook for economic growth is solid and inflation is not a major concern.
  • Westpac Bank (WBC) says the financial impact of last month’s earthquake in Christchurch will be hard to measure, with losses currently estimated to be between $NZ30m and $NZ100m. WBC down 1% to 2262c.
  • Stocks going ex dividend today: Billabong International (16c), Devine (1c), Envestra (2.75c), Symex Holdings (SYM).

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