The market is down 145. The SFE Futures were down 70 this morning.

The Dow closed down 303 points on Friday. Euro zone concerns overshadowed Obama’s President $447bn jobs plan. There is talk that Greece may default as early as this week. In a sign that Germany may be prepared to go it alone, a 2nd German representative and the ECB’s chief economist, Juergen Stark resigned from the ECB. He is known to oppose the ECB’s program of buying Spanish and Italian bonds.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the German government is preparing a plan to recapitalize German banks if Greece defaults. In other words the markets think Germany is about to pull the plug on the Greek bailout and possibly the euro. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries hit a 60-year low of 1.905%. The oil price was down $1.81 to $87.24 and the gold price was up $2.00 to $1859.50. The Aussie dollar was down at 104.17¢ from 105.83¢.

Today’s main stories…

  • Cochlear (COH) is voluntarily recalling a range of unimplanted hearing implants and is notifying healthcare professionals and regulatory authorities. They said there had been a recent rise in the number of Nucleus CI512 failures, even though less than 1% of the implants had failed since the 2009 launch. COH down 20%.
  • Metcash (MTS) has completed a $US225m debt issue with US institutional investors. The funds will be used to refinance existing debt and general corporate purposes. MTS down 0.7%.
  • The Australian Financial Review reports that Qantas’ (QAN) expansion into Asian could be delayed until 2012. A decision on where the airline will be based could be announced by the years’ end, but it could take another year to receive all necessary approvals to begin operating. QAN down 3.6% to 153¢.
  • Paladin Energy (PDN) has drawn down US$127.2m from the project finance facility for its Langer Heinrich uranium mine. PDN down 5.1%.
  • The ACCC says it will closely monitor any attempt by Wesfarmers’ (WES) Coles or Woolworths (WOW) to buy Franklins stores and block any sales that lessen competition. They say they will appeal a Federal Court judgment allowing Metcash to buy the Franklins supermarket business. WES down 1.7% to 3025¢, WOW down 3.2% to 2456¢.
  • § Treasurer Wayne Swan says he will impose a two-stage foreign approval process on foreign-government-related entities for resource exploration and mining. The decision has led to Chinese business leaders warning of an investment strike with the rule applying to 95% of Chinese investment in Australia. Swan said Chinese investments may also be subjected to an additional FIRB approval if it involves finance from a Chinese state-owned bank, with collateral in Australia.

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