The market is down 87. The SFE Futures were down 72 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 280 overnight. The Dow fell 287 at worst and closed on its lows. The Dow Jones index broke a 4 day winning streak and had its biggest point drop since June 4, 2010, with all of its 30 component stocks finishing in the red. Disappointing US economic data overnight and over the last week has raised concerns for the US economic recovery. Weak ADP Employment numbers followed by a weak ISM Services index number compounded yesterday’s weak Chicago PMI, Consumer Confidence and S&P/Case-Shiller home price index data. Metals were all down overnight, the oil price fell $2.41 to $100.29, Gold put on $6.40 to $1543.20 and the Aussie dollar fell to 106.32c compared to 106.64c yesterday having hit a high of 107.54.

In the news today…

  • Rio Tinto (RIO) has announced it will be given, along with their partner Chinalco, unprecedented access to explore China for copper and other minerals. They signed a JV with Chinalco to explore for copper, coal and potash in mainland China. RIO down 140c to 8015c.
  • QBE Insurance (QBE) has completed their purchase of Balboa Insurance from Bank of America. QBE down 1.3% to 1775c.
  • Ausenco (AAX) has been awarded a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) contract for the Constancia copper project in Peru. AAX unchanged at 312c.
  • Aurora Oil & Gas (AUT) up 9% to 366c first thing after announcing Marathon Oil paid $3.5bn to buy Hilcorp Energy and KKR’s Eagle Ford acreage within the Eagle Ford shale trend in South Texas. Hilcorp is currently the operator of AUT’s acreage in the Eagle Ford.
  • Equinox Minerals (EQN) – Barrick Gold’s takeover offer has gone unconditional with 83% acceptances. EQN down 1c to 781c.
  • Mount Gibson (MGX) has announced a few board changes. MGX down 1c to 184c.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) announced they have carried 7% more passengers in April compared to March. QAN down 2c to 209c.
  • Wesfarmers (WES) have had an Investor Day presentation with no material changes to assumptions. WES down 1.5% to 3261c.
  • Australia has posted a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of $1.6bn for the month of April, lower than the $2bn surplus economists had expected, and down from the surplus of $1.69bn in March.
  • Retail spending has come in better than expected – up 1.1% in April compared to the 0.4% rise economists predicted.
  • The National Australia Bank (NAB) has gone 84c ex dividend today. Down 131c or 5% to 2476c. 3.2% of that fall is the dividend.

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