The market is down 20. The SFE Futures were down 19 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 80 overnight after closing higher the prior four days. The Fed cut their 2011 economic growth forecast, raised their unemployment and inflation expectations and talked about temporary factors restraining the economy being more persistent than expected. The FOMC left rates unchanged and said they expect them to remain at exceptionally low levels for an extended period. The Greek cabinet approved a 2012-2015 austerity budget plan and laws for its implementation. The oil price was up $1.24 to $95.41 and the gold price was up $7.00 to $1553.40. The Aussie dollar was at 105.63c, down from 105.94c.

In the news today…

  • Telstra (TLS) – The NBN deal has been announced. Some details below. As expected the government will pay Telstra $11bn over many years to use its infrastructure for 35-40 years. There don’t appear to be any positive surprises leaving Telstra’s 16% outperformance of the market in the run up to the deal looking a bit vulnerable. TLS down 4.5c to 298.5c.
  • Fosters (FGL) Closed at 520c last night after a 490c a share bid from SAB Miller. Press talk about the next bid being at 550c to 600c if it becomes contested with Fosters apparently wanting 600c for their endorsement. FGL down 0.5c to 519.5c.
  • Crown (CWN) says it has no current intention of increasing its interest in either Tabcorp Holdings (TAH) or Echo Entertainment Group (EGP). The statement was in response to a report that it might want to buy Echo. CWN down 0.8%, TAH down 2.4%, EGP down 0.2%.
  • APA Group (APA) has launched a $300m capital raising and said it would spend $171m buying the Emu Downs wind farm in WA. New shares will be issued at $3.85 in an institutional placement, a 12% discount to Wednesday’s closing price. APA in a trading halt, last traded at 437c.
  • Qantas (QAN) – Some downgrades – QAN dodged the expected profit warning yesterday with guidance for a full year profit of $500-550m. It was still a profit downgrade from the $560m consensus but not as bad as some worst fears with some brokers downgrading by @10% this morning.  QAN down 1.5c to 181.5c.
  • Arafura Resource (ARU) down 16% after saying they will need an extra $50m-$60m for an expanded feasibility study into its Nolans Bore rare earths project due to an expansion of the planned scope.
  • Paladin Energy (PDN) is up 7.5% on takeover speculation in the AFR in the wake of significant share price weakness. Southern Cross calls it a sitting duck. Citi upgrade to BUY.

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