The market is up 21. The SFE Futures were up 28 this morning.

The Dow closed up 66 on Friday and was up as much as 79. The S&P 500 closed up 0.4% to end its strongest quarter in more than two years. The Nasdaq closed down 0.1%. European markets were up. Gold up $17 to $1671.90. Oil up 58¢ to $103.52 a barrel. Metals were mixed on the LME. The Australian dollar is higher at 104.38¢. All S&P 500 sectors were higher except Technology. Energy was up 0.81% and Healthcare up 0.75%, both of which have been recently underperforming. Consumer Staples and Utilities were also strong.

Main points:

  • PanAust (PNA) has announced the commencement of ore processing at the Ban Houayxai Gold-Silver operations in Laos.
  • QR National (QRN) raised their ownership in Moorebank Industrial Property Trust who is the manager of an 83 hectare site where QRN plans to build a large freight centre. QRN has spent $41m to increase its stake from 15% to 33%.
  • Metcash (MTS) is expected to announce massive write-downs after it comes out of board meeting today. The company will consider management recommendations which agreed could result in impairment charges. MTS is in trading halt.
  • Galaxy Resources (GXY) says they will acquire Canada’s Lithium One in an all share deal worth close to $109m. Lithium One owns the Sal de Vida project in Argentina which contains both lithium and potash. GXY unchanged at 88.5¢.
  • Macquarie Group’s (MQG) plan to buyback 10% of their stock may be in doubt as the share price has risen close to 25% since this announcement. MQG will make its decision on a buyback when they report FY results on April 27.
  • Woolworths (WOW) has told potential buyers of their Dick Smith stores to submit their final bids by June. WOW announced it would close up to 100 underperforming stores.
  • Energy Resources (ERA) plans to spend $120m to further explore its Ranger mine in NT.
  • Tassal Group (TGR) announced that 3 board directors have resigned. The company has not provided a reason for their resignation.
  • The AIG/PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) fell 1.8 points to 49.5 in March. The fall in activity was largest in clothing & footwear and wood products & furniture sub-sectors. This fall ends 3 months of expansion in activity from Dec to Feb.
  • Consumer prices rose 0.5% in March after rising 0.1% in February.

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