The market is down 36. The SFE Futures were up 32 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 47 on Friday. It was up 4% for the month, while the ASX 200 fell 0.8%. US Consumer spending and personal income were both up in March with Consumer Sentiment better than expected. The Aussie dollar is now buying 109.65c having hit 110.1c overnight. The gold price was up $25.20 to $1556.40 an ounce and approached $1570 overnight. The oil price was up $1.07 at $113.93.

Today’s main stories…

  • Orica Interim Results (ORI) this morning described as “Solid”….profit from continuing operations up 5% on last year to $263.8m. Dividend down from 41c to 37c against forecasts for 42c. The falling US$ has cost them $17m in the first half and will cost $30m for the full year if it remains around 110c. Unlikely to see any big forecast changes. ORI up 0.6% to 2675c.
  • Inflation continues to rise in April according to the TD Securities-Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge. It rose 0.3% in April, after rising 0.6% in March on rising costs of travel, health services and gasoline. In the year to April it is up 3.6%, after rising 3.8% in the year to March.
  • OZ Minerals (OZL) acquisition of the $250m Carrapateena Copper-gold project from Canada’s Teck Resources has been approved by the SA government. OZL down 2.1%.
  • BT Investment Management (BTT) H1 profit rose 51% in the 6 months to March 31 from a year earlier. BTT will pay a 6c fully franked interim dividend.  BTT down 0.37%.
  • Extract Resources (EXT) is in a trading halt relating to the CGNPC bid for Kalahari Minerals. EXT also says that proposed changes to Namibia’s mining policy won’t adversely affect its US$1.48 billion Husab project. EXT unchanged at 668c.
  • Asciano (AIO) has forecast higher annual operating earnings despite hauling less material at its port and railway businesses in the 3rd quarter. They said AIO “expect general business conditions to slowly improve across all divisions in Q4”.  AIO down 1.2%.
  • Moody’s has reaffirmed the top rating for Australia’s government debt of Aaa thanks to the country’s very high economic resiliency, fiscal strength and low susceptibility to event risk.
  • The AIG/PwC Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) showed that manufacturing activity contracted in April for a 7th month in the past 8. The index rose just 0.5 points in April to 48.4. Readings below 50 indicate contraction in activity.
  • Origin Energy (ORG) says a final investment decision on its $35bn CSG joint venture with Conoco Phillips will be made once negotiations with principal contractors are finalised and government approval is received. It could be just months away. ORG down 22c to 1613c.

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