The market is down 61. The SFE Futures were down 64 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 163 overnight — it was down 243 at worst. Financial stocks underperformed, down 2.6% on average. European stocks fell the most in three weeks as Moody’s said they will review all the credit ratings of all European nations. Fitch said that the short-term pressure on debt ratings of euro zone countries had risen on the failure of the EU to come up with a “comprehensive” solution to the debt crisis. The gold price fell $46.40 – its largest one-day drop in nearly three months, while copper and aluminium were down 2.6%. China’s export growth slowed to the weakest pace since 2009 in November, as overseas shipments rose 13.8% from a year earlier. The Aussie dollar fell to 100.70c from 102.11c.

Main points:

  • Hong Kong investment group Wah Nam said they intend to buy the 44% of Brockman Resources (BRM) they don’t already own. Wah Nam has offered $1.50 and 18 Wah Nam shares for each Brockman share. BRM up 2c to 228c.
  • Orica (ORI) has resumed production of ammonium nitrate at their Kooragang Island site near Newcastle. They said re-start activities at the remaining ammonium nitrate production facilities are progressing. ORI down 2% to 2529c.
  • Lend Lease (LLC) has appointed Tony Lombardo as their new CFO, effective immediately. He replaces Brad Soller, whose resignation was announced in August. LLC down 14c to 733c.
  • Decmil Group’s (DCG) subsidiary, Decmil Australia, has been awarded a $30m civil construction contract by Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) for construction of the Christmas Creek Airstrip Earthworks, Runway and Facilities as part of the T155 Chichester Expansion Project. FMG down 10c to 466c. DCG down 5c to 222c.
  • Total personal finance commitments fell 2.5% in September to $6.986 billion. Total commercial finance fell 10%, lease finance was up 1.3%, and housing finance up 0.7%.
  • Merrill Lynch has downgraded Australian Banks to Neutral from Buy. They cut the National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac Bank (WBC) to Neutral from Buy. They also cut their recommendation on Commonwealth Bank (CBA) to Underperform from Neutral. Bucking the trend was ANZ Bank (ANZ) – upgraded to Buy from Neutral.
  • Despite AZT majority shareholder Nathan Tinkler agreeing to the deal, the Whitehaven Coal and Aston Resources merger may not be 100% over the line. The AFR reports today that a rival bidder may enter the picture.  AZT down 16c to 974c and WHC down 17c to 557c.
  • According to ABARE, the total value of Australia’s agricultural, forest and fisheries exports will rise 6.2% this fiscal year to $38.36bn, down 0.6% from an estimate in September.

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