The market is up 33.  The SFE Futures were up 18 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 161 overnight. The Dow was up 87 at best. The Nikkei closed down 1.4% while European shares gained. Economic data out of the US was positive. After increasing 0.4% in January, consumer prices edged higher and increased 0.5% in February and the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Index surged to a 25-year high of 43.4 in March, well above the consensus of 28.1. Commodity prices were up on the LME.

Today’s main stories…

  • Origin Energy (ORG) has raised about $1.13 billion from the institutional component of its $2.3bn equity raising, with 95% take up. The funds will be used mainly to refinance debt from ORG’s $3.6bn acquisition of NSW power retailers. “The success of the institutional component of the equity raising demonstrates strong support for the company’s acquisition of the NSW energy assets which positions Origin as the leading Australian integrated energy company,” said MD Grant King. ORG down 1.6% to 1496c.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO has now secured acceptances for over 33.05% of Riversdale Mining’s (RIV). They raised their RIV offer to 1650c from 1600c last week, and that seems to have done the trick. The offer is conditional on RIO obtaining a more than 50% stake in RIV by March 23. RIO up 2% to 8067c.
  • Qantas (QAN) has reached a $NZ6.5m settlement with the NZ Commerce Commission in relation to price fixing in its freight division. QAN down 1c to 206c.
  • Austal (ASB) had been awarded a fixed price incentive contract by the US Navy for the construction of Austal’s fourth 127 metre trimaran hullform independence class Littoral Combat Ship. The stock is up 10c to 289c.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) up 3% to 4446c. The oil price was up 3% overnight and LNG is viewed as an alternative to uranium following the disaster in Japan.
  • Telstra (TLS) down 1c to 264c after announcing negotiations with state owned NBN Co. over its part in the development of a $36bn NBN has been delayed.
  • Most brokers have remained positive on Myer Ltd (MYR) post their interim result yesterday. Patersons maintain their Hold recommendation while Macquarie Equities downgraded the stock to Underperform.
  • ANZ Bank released their ANZ Group Strategy update. The main message is that by 2017, they expect Asia, Europe and America to generate 25-30% of their profit. ANZ down 5 to 2241c.
  • Stocks going ex dividend today include AGL Energy (AGK) and Ideas International (IDE).

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