The market is down 74. The SFE Futures were fell 56this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 130 overnight having been down 183 at worst. The S&P 500 fell 1.1% — its biggest fall since March 16. The CRB Commodities Index fell 3% sending the energy sector down 2.9% and the materials sector down 2.7%. The US trade deficit widened by $2.8bn in March to $48.2bn versus the expected $47.7bn. Metals were mostly down overnight, oil price fell $5.67 to $98.21 and Gold lost $6.40 to $1510.50. The Aussie dollar fell to 107.08c versus 108.42c.

Today’s main stories…

  • Disappointing jobs numbers this morning – Employment fell 22,100 in April against forecasts for a 15,000 job rise although the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9%. The A$ immediately dropped 1c to 106c – it suggests less need for an interest rate rise.
  • Bluescope Steel (BSL) – Profit downgrade – BSL now expects “the second half reported earnings for FY 2011 will result in a small reported net loss after tax”. This is down from earlier guidance of a breakeven profit.   Factors leading to the downgrade are the strong Australian dollar, falling global steel prices in April and weak domestic markets. BSL up 2.9%.
  • SP AusNet (SPN) has announced a net profit of $252.9m, up 21% thanks to a lower income tax expense. EBIT increased by 11% to $863.4m. They declared an interim distribution of 4c a share. SPN up 1.7% to 89c.
  • Suncorp-Metway (SUN) said their credit quality remained “relatively stable” during the 1st three months of the year, despite the weather in QLD and VIC. SUN up 1c to 823c.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) have completed their retail bookbuild. They say it was oversubscribed but the Australian Financial Review says it was disappointing with only 44% of the retail shares taken up. LEI down 1.2% to 2276c.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) has appointed Peter Coleman as CEO to replace Don Voelte, who will retire in October. Coleman used to work at ExxonMobil and will officially takeover over on May 30. WPL down 1.5% to 4550c.
  • Aurora Oil & Gas (AUT) down 4.8% to 278c after releasing an operational and production update on their Eagle Ford Shale-Sugarkane operation.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) has announced that a planned strike by engineers over pay and conditions have forced them to cancel 31 flights and delay another 46 services tomorrow. They also warned there may be further disruption due to industrial action next week. QAN down 3c to 211c.
  • ANZ Bank (ANZ) went ex dividend 84c today. Westpac Bank (WBC) goes ex dividend 84c on Thursday on 2nd June.

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