The market is down 5. The SFE Futures were down 22 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 84 overnight and was down 134 at worst. The S&P 500 closed down 0.7% for its 3rd straight day of losses. The ADP employment report saw more jobs created in March than expected and employment up for the 7th consecutive month. But the main theme for our market is a short term peak in the A$, or a rally in the US$, which has lead to lower commodity prices and a sell off of Australian equities by international funds.The Aussie dollar is now buying 107.16c, down from 110c last week. The gold price fell $26.90 to $1513.50 an ounce. The oil price fell $1.67 at $109.38.

Today’s main stories…

  • National Australia Bank (NAB) first half profit was better than expected, up 16% to $2.428bn. Cash earnings increased 21.7% to $2.668bn (consensus $2.54bn) after market share gains in retail and business banking and lower bad debts and cost management. They declared an interim dividend of 84c a share, up from 74c. NAB up 52c to 2691c.
  • News Corp.’s (NWS) 3rd Q profit dropped by 24% with a drop in its movie and newspaper income, along with litigation costs. Those were offset by strong gains in cable networks and TV. Revenue fell 6%. Price fell 3.34% in the US after hours. NWS down 3.6% to 1666c.
  • UGL Ltd (UGL) MD and CEO, Richard Leupen has confirmed earnings guidance of 15-20% growth and says the company had been awarded $3.2bn in new contracts in the 9 month period ended 31 March 2011. UGL down 4c to 1492c.
  • AMP Ltd (AMP) said the AMP Financial Services business recorded net cashflows for the 1st quarter of $42m, down from $236 million a year earlier as inflows slowed and outflows increased. AMP down 1%.
  • Fitch has upgraded the credit rating of the Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) to A- from BBB+. BEN up 0.6%.
  • Alumina (AWC) CEO John Bevan said at the company’s AGM today that he expects the aluminium market to grow by 12%. Recent rumours of a RIO bid for AWC’s JV partner Alcoa have been talked down in the press today. AWC up 1.3%.
  • Santos (STO) said at its AGM today that it will reduce its dividend in light of high capex requirements for its LNG projects. The reduced dividend will remain in place through to 2015. The dividend is expected to be 30c per share for the year to December 2011. Santos down 12c to 1474c.
  • Navitas (NVT) up on a broker upgrade today. NVT up 2.3%
  • ASX Limited down 2% as the government licence competitor Chi-X to start in the 4th Q of this year. ASX down 2%.

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