The market is down 31. The SFE Futures were down 31 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 61 overnight. Dow down 81 at worst. It closed down for the 4th consecutive session. The S&P 500 fell 1.1% and below the psychological 1300 level — it is 6% off its recent peak. Gold hit a five week high of $1555 an ounce and oil fell to its lowest level in two weeks, down $1.21 to $99.01. Metals were mostly down except for Copper which was up on strike disruptions at Codelco in Chile. The Aussie dollar was unchanged at 107.27c while the Volatility Index was up 3% to 18.49c.

In the news today…

  • Metcash (MTS) – FY result slightly below expectations – Announced a net profit of $241.4m and EPS of 31.5c. Analysts on average were expecting EPS growth of 1.3% to 32.4c…NPAT was up 4% in line with the recent profit warning that they would see growth of 3-5%. Patersons maintain their Hold recommendation. MTS up 2c to 390c.
  • BHP Billiton (BHP) has become the first company to bring a new deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico into production since a moratorium was enacted in May 2010. BHP down 1% to 4257c.
  • ConnectEast (CEU) says their average daily revenue is up 10% on the year, with daily traffic up 7.4%. CEU down 0.5c to 47c.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) announced they have been awarded a $222m contract extension to continue mining operations at the Wilpinjong Coal Mine in NSW. LEI down 26c to 2176c.
  • Macquarie Group (MQG) down 2.2% to 3197c after Citi cut their recommendation to Sell from Hold and their target price to 3050c from 3800c.
  • Just about every broker upped their target price on Iluka Resources (ILU) this morning after they announced product prices increases yesterday. ILU down 3.1% to 1645c.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) down another 5c to 290c after Virgin Blue announced plans to enter a long term partnership with Singapore Airlines.
  • According to Credit Suisse, Australia’s big 4 banks could be downgraded by S&P 500 by up to two notches from AA to A-plus. Such a downgrade could hurt FY12 earnings by up to 9%. CBA down 44c to 4924c, ANZ down 7c to 2118c, NAB down 2c to 2442c and WBC down 5c to 2130c.
  • Coffey International (COF) is on a nine year low with talk that Cardno (CDD) are interested in buying their geotechnical engineering division and may therefore bid for the whole company. COF last traded at 49c.
  • RBA meet today – Rates expected to stay at 4.75% – 6th month on hold since the rise in November. There is a 16% chance of a rate rise, down from 40% last month.

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