The market is down 73. The SFE Futures were down 39 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 93 on Friday and was down 109 at worst. Retailers Gap and Aeropostale cut their full year profit forecasts suggesting weaker consumer demand. The IMF approved a €26 billion 3-year loan to Portugal, while Fitch cut Greece’s credit rating. The oil price was up $1.05 to $99.49 and Gold rose $16.50 to $1508.90. The Aussie dollar dropped to 106.35c from 106.71c. Metals mostly up.

Today’s main stories…

  • Elders (ELD) – Profit warning – Now expects full year underlying profit in the lower end of the $7.5m to $24.5 range, down from previous guidance of between $15m and $30m. Elders said risks to its earnings continue to emerge. ELD reported a $14.6m first half loss, smaller than last year’s $165.9m first half loss. ELD down 9.1%.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) announced it has discovered gas at the Xeres-1 exploration well offshore WA. The discovery supports plans to expand its $14bn Pluto project. WPL has previously said that success at Xeres-1 would likely provide it with confidence to order key equipment for a second production train at Pluto. WPL down 0.6%.
  • Stockland Capital Partners has sold a 50% interest in Waterfront Place in Brisbane to the Future Fund for $216.4m. SGP down 2%.
  • Territory Resources (TTY) has received a takeover offer from South Africa’s Exxaro Resources of $123m, or 46c per share, a 64% premium to its last closing price. The offer is recommended by the majority or the Territory Board. TTY up 60.7% to 45c.
  • Brambles (BXB) said its results for the 3 months to March 2011 were in line with expectations. Sales revenue rose 5% from the prior corresponding period, with all business units generating growth. BXB warned said it faced higher costs but continues to target an annual operating profit of $US740m to $US780m. BXB down 1.5%.
  • Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has announced a maiden iron ore reserve estimate of 716 Mt for the first stage of its Solomon Hub in WA. It supports the development of a 60mtpa mine. FMG has been downgraded to Neutral by UBS. FMG down 1.2%.
  • Morgan Stanley has gone cold on Australian Banks saying they’re disappointed with the reporting season and think there are now more investment negatives than positives associated with the sector. WBC and ANZ are also into their DRP pricing periods – it is in shareholders interests for the price to be stay low. A $5.3bn capital raising in the sector in Europe doesn’t help.
  • The Australian Financial Review notes the potential for a Railcorp sign off on the Downer EDI (DOW) Waratah rail contract this week. DOW down 3%.

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