The market is down 50. The SFE Futures were down 17 this morning.

The Dow Jones closed down 49 on Friday. The Dow was down as much as 159 at one stage.

For the week, the Dow was up 0.5%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.9%, and the Nasdaq was up 1.4%. The S&P 500 had reached five month highs last week, on solid economic data before the focus shifted back to the euro zone crisis. After the market closed S&P cut the credit ratings on nine euro zone countries, including France and Austria. Germany the only one to retain a AAA rating. 

The U.S. trade deficit widened for the first time in five months in November, by 10.4% to $47.8bn, from $43.3bn in October. The consensus expected the deficit to widen to $44bn. Metals were mostly down on the LME, the oil price fell 40c to $98.70 and Gold dropped $16.90 to $1630.80. The Aussie dollar fell to 102.92c from 103.35c.

Main points

  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) up 3.2% to 2120c after increasing their half-year profit guidance thanks to improved earnings from operations in Australia and Asia. Underlying profit is expected to be around $270m after tax, compared to previous guidance of $250m. They maintained their FY guidance and will release results on February 13.
  • Linc Energy (LNC) announced they are in talks with a potential cornerstone investor. They tell shareholders that while their pursuing a number of divestment opportunities, they have not yet entered into any binding arrangements. LNC up 0.5c to 133.5c.
  • Stockland Group (SGP) has acquired a parcel of land in Sydney’s northwest growth corridor with the potential for around 2,300 houses. First home settlements are expected in the 2013/2014 financial year, subject to planning approval, and the entire project is anticipated to take eight years to complete. SGP down 5.5c to 335.5c.
  • Dart Energy (DTE) announced they are creating a unit to manage and grow their shale gas resources overseas, as it looks to replicate the success of the US shale gas boom in Europe and Asia. DTE up 1c to 44.5c.
  • Ausenco (AAX) has signed a create phase contract to manage the $125m expansion of Barrick Gold Lumwana Copper Project in Zambia. AAX up 4c to 269c.
  • Spark Infrastructure Group (SKI) announced their MD, Laura Reed, will retire at the end of May. SKI up 0.5% to 141.75c.
  • The total number of job advertisements in newspapers and on the internet fell 0.9% in seasonally adjusted terms in December compared to the previous month to an average of 179,970 ads per week.
  • The number of home loans approved in November rose 1.4% to 46,953, in line with economists’ expectations

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