The market is up 46. The SFE Futures were up 9this morning.

US Market were CLOSED overnight for the Martin Luther King Holiday. A French bond auction went better than expected — suggesting the country’s debt downgrade had had little market impact. Greek officials are due to meet with the IMF to try to break a deadlock in debt swap talks which has caused talk of a default and Nicolas Sarkozy said France losing its triple-A credit rating with Standard & Poor’s would not change the country’s plans for reform and budget reduction. Metals were mostly up on the LME, the oil price put on 99c to $99.69 and the Gold price increased $12.70 to $1643.50. The Aussie dollar put on 103.11c from 102.92c.

Main points

  • Paladin Energy (PDN) up 10.5% to 169c after announcing record quarterly production figures. They have reiterated their FY production targets. Production totaled 1.82m pounds in the Dec Q, up 47% from 1.24m pounds in the Sept Q. Patersons maintain their Buy recommendation and 237c target price.
  • African Iron’s (AKI) major shareholder Cape Lambert Resources (CFE) has formally accepted Exxaro’s $338m takeover offer. Exxaro offered up to $338m for African Iron, or 57¢ per share if they get 75% acceptances. AKI unchanged at 56c.
  • Ausenco (AAX) has acquired North American oil sands specialist Reaction Consulting. Ausenco CEO Zimi Meka said the acquisition would enhance Ausenco’s energy portfolio expertise and provide an immediate strategic local Calgary presence pivotal to North America’s growing oil sands market. AAX up 4.2% to 276c.
  • Boom Logistics (BOL) says it has been nominated as the successful bidder for a five-year contract to supply crane services to BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam operations. Patersons has a Buy recommendation on the stock with a 38c target price. BOL up 10.6% to 26c.
  • Grange Resources (GRR) — Quarterly Results — Grange said they have improved cash, term deposits and trade receivables position of $226.7m and have no net debt at the end of the quarter. They say their Southdown project is on schedule and under budget. GRR up 1c to 55.5c.
  • Fortescue Metals (FMG) up 2.4% to 473c on quarterly production numbers. They shipped 14.8 million metric tons of iron ore during the final three months of last year, up 19% on the last Q.
  • RIO — We are waiting for production numbers later today.
  • ABS Lending Finance numbers fell a big 9.6% in November — feeding talk of a rate cut next month. The chances of a rate cut next month rose from 84% to 97% after the Job Ad numbers yesterday.
  • Chinese GDP data is due today with estimates of a fourth straight quarterly slowdown in growth from 9.1% to 8.7%.

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