The market is down 34. The SFE Futures were up 3 this morning after an 89 point fall in the ASX 200 yesterday.

The Dow Jones closed down 25 overnight having fallen sharply in the last 30 minutes of trade. Rating agency downgrades to Italy and for 14 out of 18 UK banks and building societies perpetuates the euro worries. New home sales were up 7.3% in April when a fall had been expected. Commodities were up, sending the Aussie dollar up to 105.49c from 105.19c yesterday. The oil price was up $1.89 to $99.59. Gold up $7.90 to $1523.30.

Today’s main stories…

  • Lend Lease (LLC) — Annual Investor day today — CEO Steve McCann said they are in very good shape, are well placed to deliver growth and that their strategy remains consistent. He said, “We have clear priorities over the next 12 to 24 months to achieve our target of becoming the leading international property and infrastructure group”. LLC up 2.9%.
  • Pharmaxis (PXS) down 71% after releasing the results of its marketing application for Bronchitol to the European Union. The response suggested they would vote against the approval of Bronchitol, although it is not a final decision.
  • Programmed Maintenance Services (PRG) — Net profit down 58% to $10.4m in the year to March 31, from $24.9m the prior year. The result includes an $11.8m loss from the PRG’s exit from the UK market. Profit from continuing operations was $17.5m, up from $14.1m. The group has forecast an improvement in earnings in FY12 on stronger demand and lower costs. PRG unchanged at 195c.
  • Westfield (WDC) has confirmed its operational earnings guidance of $1.7bn for 2011 at its AGM today. The guidance is down from the $2.06bn reported in CY 2010. They expect to pay a distribution of 48.4c per share in 2011. CEO Frank Lowy said Westfield was planning to start more than $10bn of developments over the next 5 to 7 years. WDC down 1c to 902c.
  • Iluka (ILU) down 11c to 1497c on its AGM today.
  • Japan has fallen into a trade deficit in April after supply chain disruptions due to the March earthquake and nuclear disaster. Exports fell 12.5% on the year. Japan recorded a ¥463.7bn deficit in April, a reversal from its surplus of ¥729.2bn the year before. But the deficit was smaller than the ¥700bn expected.
  • Total construction work done in Australia rose 0.7% in the March quarter and was valued at $42.327bn. It was expected to rise by 1.5%.
  • Stocks hitting 52-week lows today: BKY, BOQ, EQT, ERA, MQG, OMH, OST, PLA, PTM, PXS

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