The market is down 7. The SFE Futures were down 12 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 66 overnight. Dow up 126 at best and down 117 at worst. US stocks fell for a second straight day. The Dow gave up its gains in the final hour in reaction to the FOMC Meeting which contained no new spending initiatives (no QE3) and a cautious economic outlook. The Federal Reserve left interest rates on hold. The S&P 500 fell below its 50-day moving average. There are continuing concerns that European leaders won’t agree on how to expand the region’s rescue fund. There were reports that that Angela Merkel said she would not support any more funding for the European bailout fund. The euro dropped to a new 11-month low. Metals all fell slightly on the LME, the oil price put on $2.19 to $99.96 and Gold dropped another $33.20 to $1635. The Aussie dollar fell slightly to 100.14c from 100.70c.

Main points:

  • Rio Tinto (RIO) said they reserve the right to increase their 49% stake in Canadian miner Ivanhoe Mines but don’t have any plans to make a full takeover offer after winning an arbitration process to protect its rights against a poison pill defence adopted by Ivanhoe. RIO down 1c to 6275c.
  • Westpac Banking Group (WBC) held their AGM today and warned of the uncertainty surrounding Europe, although they remain confident in the outlook for Australia with economic fundamentals described as sound. WBC down 32c to 2051c.
  • APA Group (APA) has made a takeover offer for Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (HDF) that values the target at $1.06 billion ahead of an expected boom in domestic gas use.  APA already owns 20.7% of HDF, is offering 0.326 of its shares plus 50 cents in cash for each HDF share, equivalent to $2.00 per share based on Tuesday’s closing prices. APA down 14c to 446c and HDF up 7% to 191c.
  • Telstra (TLS) has appointed former AXA Asia Pacific CEO Andrew Penn as their CFO, replacing John Stanhope who Departs TLS this month after more than 40 years at the company. TLS up 1c to 328c.
  • Patersons has initiated coverage on Collection House (CLH) with a Buy recommendation and an 88c target price (28% above the current share price). CLH is one of Australia’s largest receivables management groups. CLH gives respectable Fy12 earnings guidance and its current share price is not overly demanding according to the analyst. CLH up 1c to 69.5c.
  • Consumer Sentiment for December disappointed. The headline index number collapsed by 8.3% to 94.7 in December.
  • AWE Ltd (AWE) has gone 5c ex dividend today fully franked. AWE up 1.5% to 135c

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