The market is up 2. The SFE Futures were down 17 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 190 overnight. The Dow was up 13 at best and down 206 at worst with most of the damage done in the last 2 hours of trading as the Fitch Ratings agency came out with a report on U.S. bank exposure to Europe. They warned of the risk of contagion, suggesting that US banks could be hurt if the fiscal and financial problems of Europe worsen. The other credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the credit rating on 10 German banks. The Bank of England also cut their growth forecasts and said that failure to resolve the debt turmoil could damage the global economy. Metals were mostly up on the LME and the oil price put on $2.24 at $101.58. Gold price fell $20.20 to $1762 and the Aussie fell to 100.81c from 101.79c.

Main points:

  • BHP Billiton (BHP) — AGM Commentary — CEO Marius Kloppers has told shareholders at today’s AGM that economic uncertainty and equity market volatility creates challenges for the company in the short term. He admitted that no one at the company was able to say how markets will perform in the near term and volatility is here to stay. He also mentioned that there has been a tightening in the availability of trade finance and the terms at which it can be accessed. BHP up 19c to 3684c.
  • James Hardie (JHX) – 2nd Q Profit Result – Reported a 2nd Q normalized net profit of $US41.2m, almost double the figure from last year. One broker had expectations of $36.5m. Their half year profit was up 32% on last year to $US80.6m from $US61.2m. JHX up 31c or 5% to 639c.
  • Spotless Group (SPT) has received a much anticipated indicative non-binding and conditional bid proposal from private equity group Private Equity Partners to buy all of their shares at 263c, valuing the company at $698.15m. SPT closed yesterday at 235c a share, giving them a market cap of $623.8m. Directors have rejected the bid saying it undervalues the company.  SPT up 9c to 244c.
  • Mount Gibson (MGX) has announced that more than 33% of shareholders opposed the re-election of a director whose independence the company questions. The FIRB has said their board independence is a concern and the company is putting plans in place to satisfy the FIRB’s concerns. MGX down 3c to 151.5c.
  • ANZ Bank (ANZ) has named Nigel Williams as their chief risk officer following the planned retirement of Chris Page. ANZ up 7c to 2054c.
  • Aston Resources (AZT) down 8.3% to 985c after both the CEO an CFO resigned as part of a boardroom shakeup. Nathan Tinkler, majority shareholder, has taken over as chairman.
  • Santos (STO) says they will withdraw an application to build a coal seam gas pipeline in the central west of NSW. STO down 6c to 1305c.
  • Uranium stocks peaking a bit today after the recent rally.

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