The market is up 4. The SFE Futures were up 22 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 113 overnight and up 180 at best. Politics dominated the headlines overnight with Former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos appointed to head Greece’s new crisis coalition and European Commissioner Mario Monti looks likely to replace Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Angela Merkel dismissed talk of a possible shrinking of the euro zone and Italian bond yields retreated after heavy buying by the ECB. In US economic news, the US trade deficit unexpectedly shrank in September and initial unemployment claims fell to their lowest level since early April. Metals were mostly down on the LME, the Gold price fell $31 to $1760.66 and the Aussie dollar improved to 101.55c from 101.47c.

Main points:

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  • John B. Fairfax last night sold his 9.7% stake in Fairfax Media (FXJ) for $193m to institutional buyers through a book build. Price was 85c compared to the last trade at 93c. The reasons given were to balance out the family portfolio although the obvious conclusion is that they can see the writing on the wall for print media. Quick statistic, if the Fairfax family had decided to sell their stake at the top of the tech boom in 2000 when the share price was 578c, the stake would have been worth $1.312bn instead of $193m. FXJ down 6c to 86.5c.
  • QR National (QRN) has reaffirmed its underlying earnings guidance for a full-year profit of as much as $650m after posting a profit of $137m for the first quarter. This comes despite a 10% drop in coal volumes in the financial year to date. QRN up 7c to 342c.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) has reaffirmed its forecast for full year profit of up to $650m. Chairman Stephen Johns said at the company’s AGM today that Leighton had a 30% rise in revenue in the September quarter, to $6.2 billion, and net profit was $137 million, up from $48m in the same period last year. LEI down 10c to 2002c.
  • Sims Metal Management (SGM) expects a lift in first half profit but says scrap intake will be slower. CEO Dan Dienst told the company’s annual general meeting that scrap intake had been “remarkably resilient” in the first few months of the financial year despite economic challenges in Sims’ developed markets. SGM up 12c to 1299c.
  • Extract Resources (EXT) down 3% to 765c after coming out of their halt without the takeover offer that shareholders were hoping for. Instead their main shareholder Kalahari Minerals said they were still in discussions.
  • Ramsay Health Care (RHC) has secured a new $2bn equivalent debt facility with ANZ, NAB and WBC and reiterated fiscal 2012 profit guidance. RHC up 17c to 1963c.

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