The market is up 30. The SFE Futures were up 2 this morning.
The Dow Jones closed down 31 overnight and was up 31 at best. The Dow recorded its best quarterly performance since 1998, up 6.4%. Portugal reported a larger budget deficit than expected, raising the odds of a bailout. The oil price hit a 30-month high of $106.72 and the gold price reached a new high and recorded its 10th straight quarterly gain. The A$ remained above 103c having hit a high of 103.73c yesterday.
Today’s main stories…
- Biota Holdings (BTA) advises that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded them a contract estimated at up to $US231m over 5 years to its wholly owned subsidiary, Biota Scientific Management, for the advanced development of laninamivir. BTA up 38%.
- Foxtel is seeking to raise about $1.2bn in debt to fund a takeover bid for Austar United (AUN), after US-based Liberty Global, which owns 54% of Austar, and Foxtel agreed on a $1.9bn bid for Austar. The final structure of the deal is still being discussed and AUN says that there is no guarantee that the talks will lead to a proposal. AUN up 3.4%.
- ASX Ltd’s CEO says he is confident the FIRB will allow the deal with SGX. ASX expects the FIRB to still extend the decision timetable by up to 90 days allowing them time to lobby politicians on the deal. ASX down 7c to 3435c.
- Woodside’s (outgoing) CEO Don Voelte says he has no knowledge of a BHP move on Woodside and Citi yesterday said BHP can’t justify a bid. Talk that Shell is still trying to secure Shells’s 24% stake ahead of Japanese customers Mitsui and Mitsubishi. WPL up 2.3%.
- Gunns (GNS) has suspended operations at a woodchip operation in Tasmania amid ‘volatile’ global demand caused by a strong Australian dollar and the Japanese earthquake. GNS down 3.2%.
- The Housing Industry Association has revised down its previous estimates and now predicts that 25,000 fewer homes will be built in 2011 than 2010. New home building will fall 15% in 2011 as interest rates and poor affordability wipe out recent stimulus-driven gains.
- The AIG / PwC Performance of Manufacturing index showed the manufacturing activity weakened in March as the cost of raw materials rose and the Australian dollar appreciated.
- Europe may lift rates next week- Higher than expected euro-zone CPI data overnight adds to expectations that the ECB (European Central bank) will increase its benchmark interest rate at next week’s policy setting meeting.
- Stocks hitting 52-week highs today: ABY, ALK, AMC, AMM, CCP, EDT, HZN, NFK, REA, RES, RPX, SAI, SPL, STO, TAL.
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