The market is down 43. The SFE Futures were up 9 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 72 overnight on positive earnings results. March Q US GDP was up an annualized 1.8% (Est +2.0%) after being up 3.1% in 4Q10. Initial unemployment claims rose, while continuing claims fell. The US Dollar index fell to its lowest level in over 2 years while the Aussie dollar is now buying 108.99c, down from 109.33 this morning. The gold price was up $12.90 to $1530 an ounce, while oil was up $0.10 at $112.86.

Today’s main stories…

  • Macquarie Group (MQG) has reported a 9% fall in profit in full year profit, a bit better than expected with a generally improving (although cautious) trend in profits suggesting the downgrade cycle may be over for the stock. MQG up 11c to 3501c.
  • Fosters (FGL) has its shareholder meeting today to vote through the demerger. FGL in a trading halt at 575c.
  • US private equity group Blackstone has greed to buy Valad Property Group (VPG) for $1.80 per stapled security (a 56% premium to its Wednesday close) or $208m. The offer has been unanimously recommended by the Valad board and requires shareholder approval and certain regulatory approvals. VPG up 52%.
  • ResMed (RMD) reported 3rd Q results in the US overnight that were generally in line with expectations although margins fell courtesy of the rising A$ and comments on the outlook are expected to lead to some downgrades. RMD down 3.9%.
  • Extract Resources (EXT) says it will clarify comments from the Namibia Government plans to assign the state almost exclusive exploration and mining rights over uranium, copper, gold, zinc and coal. EXT fell almost 10% yesterday on the announcement. EXT down 3.8% to 728c.
  • Mt Gibson Iron (MGX) – Quarterly production numbers in line with expectations after recent weather related production downgrades. MGX down 2.6%.
  • There are some ConsMedia (CMJ) and Austar (AUN) downgrades around this morning to reflect the short term impact of Foxtel acquiring the AFL rights. CMJ unchanged at 279c, AUN down 3.2%.
  • RHG Limited (RHG) – John Kinghorn’s proposal to buy the company and take it private at 88c was rejected by shareholders yesterday and the company will pay a 79c fully franked dividend instead and wind up the company by the end of next year. RHG down 1.2%.
  • A report by the Australian Financial Review estimates that federal budget deficit could reach $50bn in 2010-11 due to low capital gains, low tax receipts, the strong Australian dollar cutting into government revenues. In the government’s mid-year budget review in November a budget deficit of $41.5bn was predicted.

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