The market is down 36. The SFE Futures were down 65 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 249 overnight. Dow down 342 at worst. The S&P 500 was down for a fourth straight day — its longest drop since September. It fell through a support level at 1200 and was struggling to hold near its next support level at 1187.

A U.S. congressional super-committee was unable to come to an agreement after three months of talks to reduce the budget deficit and extend stimulus measures into next year. Moody’s said the rise in interest rates on French government debt and weaker economic growth prospects could be negative for France’s credit rating. Metals were mostly down overnight on the LME, the Gold price took another hit, down $43.70 to $1681.40 and the oil price fell 56c to $9.11. The Aussie dollar fell to 98.56c from 99.81c.

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Main points:

  • BlueScope Steel (BSL) are in a trading halt after announcing they will sell $600m worth of shares at a 34% discount to the current share price to pay down debt. It is a fully underwritten 4-for-5 accelerated renounceable entitlement offer at an offer price of 40c. Their share closed at 61c yesterday.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) CEO Alan Joyce said going to the independent umpire to resolve their dispute with the union is the best move given there was very little prospect of a resolution taking place. QAN down 3c to 161c.
  • All Centro companies have gone into a trading halt this morning ahead of security holders voting on a proposed merger of Centro Properties Group with Centro Retail Trust at an EGM today. Centro Property Group has $2.9bn in debt that matures on Dec 15.
  • Thorn Group (TGA) reported a 30% rise in first half net profit.  It rose to $14.3m from $11m a year earlier. They said the rise in profit was due to its ability to perform under challenging market conditions while demonstrating the strength of its long-term recurring revenue streams. TGA up 5c to 168c.
  • The National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced their first branch in China. It will be located in the Lujiazui Financial Centre in Shanghai. NAB down 39c to 2281c.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) has upped their takeover offer for Hathor Exploration to 470c a share Canadian after the Hathor board reaffirmed their support for the bid. RIO down 2.7% to 6407c.
  • Beach Petroleum (BPT) announced their Tantanna Pipeline is online 2 months ahead of schedule. BPT up 1% to 141c.
  • Warren Buffett told CNBC last night that he doubts the Euro will survive in its current format. He said leaders will have to take urgent action if they want the euro to survive.
  • Stocks going ex dividend today: Octanex (OXX – 4c) and The Trust Group (TRU – 17c),

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