The market is down 2.  The SFE Futures were down 18 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 84 on Friday.  The Dow was up 153 at best but closed the week down 1.5%, its biggest weekly fall since August last year. The S&P 500 fell 1.9% and the Nasdaq lost 2.6%. A coalition of forces including the U.S., the U.K. and France launched air strikes on Libya and Gadhafi announced a ceasefire. The Federal Reserve provided permission to financial companies assisted during the GFC to lift their dividends. Oil price fell 35c to $101.07, Gold put on $11.90 to $1416.10 and the Aussie dollar increased to 99.53c from 98.12c.

Today’s main stories…The AFR went with the story this morning that the merger between ASX Ltd (ASX) and SGX would be knocked back by the Australian government. Treasurer Wayne Swan said that isn’t true and that it is yet to decide on whether to approve the $8.4bn deal. The SGX needs to firstly receive approval from the FIRB which can take up to 90 days before parliament decide. ASX down 2.3% to 3399c.

  • Lundin Mining has rejected the takeover offer from Equinox Minerals (EQN) and instead agreed to be bought by Inmet Mining Corp. EQN down 1c to 530c.
  • Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) has signed a new 10 year agreement with Beam Global Spirits and Wine Inc to sell the Beam premium spirits portfolio in Australian. CCL down 6c to 1134c.
  • Fairfax Media (FXJ) down 0.5c to 124c — they announced this morning that Brett Clegg CEO of the Financial Review Group.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) has extended their takeover offer for Riversdale Mining (RIV) by 3 trading days to March 28. RIO up 28c to 8078c, RIV down 5c to 1566c.
  • Talbot Group is planning to sell all its investments and has already sold their $190.9m stake in Sundance Resources (SDL). SDL down 1c to 48c.
  • Lend Lease (LLC) expects to start work next month on the $122m redevelopment of two secondary schools in London. LLC down 4c to 856c.
  • Merchandise Imports were adjusted upwards by 6% for the month of February.
  • Both Santos (STO) and Woodside Petroleum (WPL) up today on speculation that LNG will come into favour post the Japan disaster. WPL up 59c to 4500c and STO up 36c to 1541c.
  • People’s Bank of China announced on Friday a further 50bp increase in the reserve requirement ratio effective from 25 March.
  • Companies goes ex dividend today include: Newcrest Mining (10c), Primary Health Care (3c), REA Group (10c) and Woolworths (57c).

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