The market is up 83. The SFE Futures were up 74 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed up 337 overnight. Dow up 351 at best. The Dow recorded its best day in a month on low volume prior to the Christmas break. Housing starts came in better than expected, up 9.3% from 627,000 in October to 685,000 in November, while they were expected to remain at 627,000. Some Housing Stocks jumped over 10%. Economic data was also positive in Europe as German business and consumer confidence both came in better than expected in December. A successful Spanish bond auction dropped Spanish 10 year bond yields and fed some optimism into European issues. Metals were up on the LME, the oil price put on $3.34 to $97.22 and gold was up $20.90 to $1617.60. The Aussie dollar is now above parity again at 101.16c from 98.95c.

  • Macmahon Holdings (MAH) has finalised the contract terms with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) for the construction of the Solomon Rail project which is worth approximately $330m for Macmahon. MAH said they have commenced construction on the project. Patersons have a Buy recommendation on MAH with an 88c target price. MAH up 0.5c to 57.5c and FMG up 3% to 450c.
  • St. Barbara (SBM) up 10% to 216c after announcing an on-market share buyback. They will aim to buy up to a maximum of 15m ordinary shares over a 6 month period.
  • The USA division of Austal (ASB) has been awarded a US$7,917,425 modification to the US Navy contract for the construction Combat Ship by Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC. ASB down 5% to 212c.
  • A Transurban Group (TCL) joint venture has agreed with the NSW government to begin a $400m upgrade to the M5 South West motorway in Sydney.  The government will contribute $50m to the project, with the remaining $350m tipped in by Interlink Roads, in which Transurban has a 50% stake. TCL up 0.5c to 567c.
  • Platinum Australia (PLA) has provided an update on their rights issue and a capital raising update. PLA still in a trading halt and last traded at 10c.
  • CSG Ltd (CSV) has provided a market update on their corporate activities and announced they have decided to close the process in relation to potential acquisitions transactions. They say to proceed with any type of activity would not have been in the best interest of CSV shareholders. CSV down 38% to 39c.
  • Shareholders of Foster’s Group (FGL) receive their proceeds from the SAB Miller takeover today. SAB Miller completed the takeover last Friday and said all FGL shareholders would receive their funds by Dec 21.
  • Thorn Group (TGA) goes 4c ex dividend today fully franked. Their share price has fallen by exactly that amount – down 4c to 163c.
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