As we write the market is effectively closed with the ASX struggling under technical difficulties. A few stocks opened this morning before the problem hit. The SFE Futures were up 27 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 162 points after falling 207 the prior day. The S&P 500 gained 1.1% and is now up 9.5% in the month. The EU Summit rolled past midnight in Brussels without a major “solution” being delivered.

Euro zone leaders appear agreed on leveraging the €440 billion bailout fund to around €1 trillion. But details have not yet been finalised. The banks are a sticking point, not willing to take a 40-60% haircut on Greek bond holdings. To do so would send 70 larger European banks into the capital markets looking for money at the same time. Berlusconi presented a package of economic reforms to European leaders on how Italy would cut its debt.

The oil price was down $2.29 to $90.88. The gold price was up $25.80 to $1726.10¢. The Aussie dollar was down at 104.01¢ from 104.26¢.

Main points:

  • The ASX is experiencing technical difficulties and has placed all markets into enquire until further notice and is reviewing all trades.
  • National Australia Bank (NAB) – cash earnings of $5.5 billion for the year to September 30, a 19.2% jump from a year ago largely driven by improved revenue momentum. The record result was inline with expectations with economists expecting cash earnings of $5.6 billion. Revenue was $17.6bn up 5.7% on last year.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) reiterated that they are not a takeover target and have launched talks to begin marketing the 24% share of Woodside owned by Royal Dutch Shell. CEO Peter Coleman said, “We’ve spoken to Shell and said ‘look guys, if you want to do something with your shareholding we’d like to help you with that’.”
  • AMP Ltd (AMP) has maintained their cost guidance for their financial services division which posted cashflow of $335m in the September quarter, up from $170m a year ago. Net retail cashflows were up 21% from a year earlier to $119m.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) confirmed full year guidance for net profit of $600m to $650m. CEO Hamish Tyrwhitt said the financial position of the Victorian desalination project had deteriorated, causing an additional charge of $192m.
  • Woolworth Notes II – Brokers’ applications for firm stock in Woolworths Notes II have been heavily scaled back. WOW have upped the size of the issue from $500m to $700m with applications for around $4bn. Because of that level of demand they have cancelled the General offer. A small tranche ($25m) is still open to WOW shareholders (opens Oct 7th). WOW Q1 sales numbers are out…in line. Patersons have a HOLD.
  • Newcrest Mining (NCM) AGM says a strong gold price will likely be supported in the short and medium term thanks to volatility in global markets and financial concerns in Europe and the United States.
  • Incitec Pivot (IPL) will conduct a feasibility study into building an ammonium nitrate manufacturing plant on the site of its fertiliser facility in Newcastle in NSW.

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