The market is up 52. The SFE Futures were up 73 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 187 on Friday. The EU summit concluded with EU nations agreeing to a new fiscal pact ensuring tougher budget measures, although they failed to fully agree on treaty change. The agreement may only involve 23 members (17 are euro zone), rather than the full 27 EU members. They have until March to rewrite the budgetary rulebook. There was little on the ECB front — they didn’t get much in the way of extra firepower to defend the euro zone Bond markets. Italian and Spanish 10 year bond yields are behaving themselves post-meeting. Moody’s downgraded three French banks and Standard & Poor’s said they would decide “in coming days” whether or not to downgrade euro-zone countries. Metals were all up on the LME, the oil price put on $1.07 to $99.41 and Gold was up $3.40 to $1716.80. The Aussie dollar fell to 101.70¢ from 102.02¢.

Main points:

  • Whitehaven Coal (WHC) will acquire Aston Resources (AZT) in a transaction using their own shares and will also buy Nathan Tinkler’s Boardwalk Resources if the deal goes ahead. WHC is offering 1.89 of their shares for each AZT share — they last traded at 582c, valuing AZT at $11 a share or $2.25bn. AZT up 2.3% to 999c and WHC up 3c to 585c – fair to say the market isn’t expecting the deal to go ahead despite Tinkler agreeing to accept the deal for his 32% ownership in AZT.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) says they are still talking to potential joint venture partners for a new premium carrier based in Asia. They also told shareholders that their domestic operations continue to perform strongly. QAN unchanged at 159c.
  • Wesfarmers (WES) announced they are in talks with BlueScope Steel (BSL) over potentially revising a deal to supply gas to the Port Kembla steelworks in Australian. The move could result in a writedown of their Coregas unit, of up to $190m. WES down 56c to 3092c and BSL up 1c to 43.5c.
  • STW Group (SGN) has announced they have taken a majority position in Edge Marketing, Indonesia’s largest independent marketing agency. SGN up 1c to 86.5c.
  • Origin Energy (ORG) and ConocoPhillips have agreed to sell most of the output from a $US20bn Australian gas-export venture to China Petrochemical Corp. ORG up 3% to 1471c.
  • Analysts liked the deal AMP Ltd (AMP) announced on Friday involving Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation. All but one broker has a positive recommendation on the stock. AMP up 2% to 441c.
  • According to HSBC’s currency advisor, the Australian dollar will drop to 93c due to growth slowing down domestically and the debt issues overseas.
  • James Hardie (JHX) has gone ex-dividend today 3.9c unfranked. JHX up 10c to 688c

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