The market is down 37. The SFE Futures were down 29 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 0.2 overnight, up 33 at best and down 57 at worst. The Nasdaq lost 0.78% and the S&P 500 closed down 0.34%. Factory orders rose more than expected in March. The Aussie dollar is now buying 108.11c, having fallen after the RBA’s interest rate announcement yesterday (left rates at 4.75%). The gold price fell $16.70 to $1540.40 an ounce while the silver price had its biggest 2-day fall since 1987. The oil price fell $2.47 at $111.05.

Today’s main stories…

  • Westpac (WBC) has reported total cash earnings of $3.17bn for the half year to March 31, up 7% from $2.98bn last year. The result was maybe 4% better than the $3.02bn that analysts forecast. The bank expects business credit growth to recover as sentiment improves, although the timing remains uncertain. OK but not setting the sector malight, much like the ANZ results yesterday. WBC down 45c to 2428c.
  • Macarthur Coal (MCC) says its full year net profit will be $185m to $205m, well above the profit of $125.1m in 2009/10 thanks to record prices for metallurgical coal. But MCC lowered its production guidance for 2010/11 due to wet weather that disputed production in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. MCC down 2.9 to 1083c
  • Extract Resources (EXT) has emerged from its trading halt. They say that although ASIC has not yet made a decision on China’s CGNPC Uranium Resource’s takeover offer for Kalahari Minerals, Kalahari have agreed to a lower offer meaning the Chinese are still interested despite the Fukushima nuclear accident. Kalahari which owns 42.76% of Extract. EXT up 13.8%.
  • Foster’s (FGL) beer and wine divisions demerger has been approved by by the Supreme Court of Victoria. FGL down 1.1%.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) said its passenger numbers were up 4.8% in March as travel was hit by the Christchurch and Japanese earthquakes. Passenger numbers were up 8.8% in the year to March 31. QAN up 0.5%.
  • Goodman Group (GMG) has reaffirmed its annual earnings and operating profit guidance, saying it continues to experience “solid operating momentum” and expects development and management activities to make a growing contribution to EBIT over the medium term. GMG up 2.8% to 72.5c.
  • Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) CEO Terry Davis said at the company’s AGM that he expects first half profit to rise 5%, before significant items, to $223m, up from $212.7m for H1 CY2010 as natural disasters, higher resin prices and the stronger Australian dollar slow earnings growth. CCL down 1.9% to 1163c.
  • The AIG/CBA Performance of Services Index (PSI) rose 5 points to 51.1 in April after 5 months of falls. Expansions in activity in the finance and insurance sector, personal and recreation services, as well as transport and storage led the recovery.

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