The Dow Jones closed down 242 overnight. The Dow was down 300 at worst as the EU energy chief described the Japanese nuclear situation as out of control and advised French citizens to leave the country. He is credited with dropping global stockmarket value by half a trillion in ten minutes. The Dow has now lost 3.6% over the past three days, its worst 3-day loss since July last year. Metals were mostly up overnight on the LME, the oil price put on 80c to $97.98 and Gold increased $3.30 to $1396.10. The Aussie dollar fell to 98.32c from 99.10c yesterday.

Today’s main stories…

  • The Japanese market fell 3.5% on open. Our market opened down 81 and has recovered most of it although the Japanese nuclear crisis worsens with the latest being a comment from US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko saying “There is no water in the spent fuel pool and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”
  • MYER Ltd (MYR) — interim profit of $106.8m and declared an 11c dividend. The result was within guidance that was lowered on 8 Feb when it fell 11% in a day. 1st H sales down 3.5% to $1.73bn. Patersons maintain their Hold recommendation post their result. Bernie Brooks said it was a “challenging and patchy retail environment”. MYR up 2c to 312c.
  • The AFR says Woodside Petroleum (WPL) is set to benefit most from the short term rise in LNG demand following the Japan disaster considering they’re the only player actually producing LNG on a significant scale. WPL up 28c to 4223c.
  • It looks as if the takeover offer for Mantra Resources (MRU) is being withdrawn. MRU down 33% to 443c.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) has discovered gas at a key exploration well offshore in WA, lifting their chances of approving an expansion of their Pluto project this year. WPL up 27c to 4222c.
  • Lynas Corp (LYC) says cash costs for rare earths to be produced are expected to rise by at least 27% more than previously expected as a result of swings in exchange rates and rising prices for processing chemicals. LYC down 2.9% to 183c.
  • Kathmandu (KMD) announced an interim profit of $NZ10.51m and declared a dividend of NZ3c. KMD up 3% to 146.5c.
  • Toro Energy (TOE) MD Greg Hall believes the long term market for uranium will not be affected by the Japan nuclear crisis and that anti nuclear sentiment is a “knee-jerk overreaction”. TOE down 4.5%.
  • Sundance Resources (SDL) has announced a major resource upgrade for their Mbalam Iron Ore Project. SDL up 7% to 46c.
  • Uranium stocks back down after China halted approvals for new nuclear power plants pending changes to safety standards. Extract Resources (EXT) is down 22%, Paladin (PDN) down 10.5% and Energy Resources Australia (ERA) down 9.7%.
  • Stocks going ex dividend today: Adcorp Australia (1c), Melbourne IT (8c), M2 Telecommunications (7c) and Village Roadshow (8c).

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