The market is down 7. The SFE Futures were down 9 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 50 on Friday. The Dow was up 89 at best and ended the week up 3.1%. The 3rd estimate for 4th quarter GDP was revised upward more than expected to reflect growth of 3.1% versus 2.8% before and forecasts of 3.0%. Portugal’s parliament rejected budget cuts as they continued to rule out a rescue. The oil price fell 20c to $105.40 and the gold price fell $8.70 to $1426.20. The Aussie dollar is at 102.53c and it hit a new high over the weekend of 102.94c.

Today’s main stories…

  • Big currency deal – After a large ($9bn) purchase of A$ with euros in the currency market last week there has been talk about a bid for Woodside from BHP or for the Fosters beer division from SABMiller. One broker comment is that no-one does a currency deal before a bid so the speculation is premature. AXA on the other hand has to settle their $9.8bn acquisition of AXA Asia Pacific’s Asian assets at the end of the week. Maybe that is the explanation.
  • Fortescue Metals (FMG) is said to be considering a dual listing on the Hong Kong exchange after executive director Andrew Forrest met with HKEx officials last week. The move would give FMG access to new sources of capital as it undertakes a massive capacity expansion. FMG up 0.5%.
  • The deadline for acceptances of Rio Tinto’s (RIO) bid for Riversdale Mining (RIV) closes tonight and it “looks like it will go down to the wire,” sources close to the deal say. It may come down to what Brazilian steel maker CSN decides to do with its 20% stake. RIO now has an interest and acceptances of 39.66% but needs 50% by today’s end. RIO down 0.2%, RIV down 0.1%.
  • Transurban (TCL) has confirmed its FY distribution guidance to be at least 26c at its investor day. TCL down 0.6%.
  • Sigma Pharmaceutical (SIP) reported underlying EBIT of $129.2m, in line with company guidance. SIP cut its full year net loss to $235.38m for the year to January 31, 2011 from a net loss of $398.28m a year earlier and announced a 15c special dividend. JB Were said the “outlook for the underlying business remains poor, the single digit PER and ongoing working capital realisations mean that share price risk remains on the upside”. SIP up 10.8%.
  • An independent expert has declared Lynas Corp.’s (LYC) proposed $20.7m deal to sub-lease 2 assets from Forge Resources fair and reasonable to Lynas’ shareholders. LYC unchanged at 214c.
  • GreenRock Energy (GRK) says results from temperature logging at its joint venture geothermal heat project with BHP Billiton (BHP) in the Collie Basin are “encouraging”. GRK up 13.6%, BHP down 0.7%.
  • Stocks going ex-dividend today: CMJ, CTN, CWN, SVW, WHK.
  • Stocks hitting 52-week highs: ALK, ARP, ELM, ESB, REA, RPX, SRQ, TSO.

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