The market is up 17. The SFE Futures were up 52 this morning.
The Dow closed up 52 overnight while the S&P 500 was up 0.75% and the Nasdaq up 0.91%. European markets were higher. The Australian dollar is higher at 104.19¢. Metals are up on the LME — Copper up 2.36%, Nickel up 2.26%. The gold price rose for a second day, up $7.80 to $1679.70 an ounce. Oil was up $1.36 to $104.82 a barrel. Ten-year Treasury bonds were higher as yields fell to 2.184%. All 10 S&P 500 sectors were higher. Materials stocks outperformed, up 1.4%. Technology, and Energy stocks were also strong.
- Metcash (MTS) announced the results of a strategic review of company activities which involved restructuring its business in response to difficult trading conditions. The company has revealed it will book a large non-cash impairment charge of $75m-$90m after the closing of unprofitable stores. MTS will merge several of its operations into one business to stop duplication and improve efficiency. This will lead to 478 job losses from its corporate offices and Campbells businesses.
- Monodelphous (MND) has won construction and maintenance contacts in WA and QLD worth $220m. The work involves an iron ore car dumper for Rio Tinto’s (RIO) Cape Lambert Port project and various other facilities in Wiggins Island Coal port. Maintenance work is with Woodside Petroleum (WPL) at their Pluto LNG project at Karratha and with Chevron’s LNG projects on Barrow Island and Thevenard Islands. MND has secured $1.8bn worth of worth of work for FY11-12.
- Transfield Services (TSE) is in trading halt this morning ahead of an update on earnings guidance. The company is completing financial reviews and will update the market once completed. TSE shocked the market last year with massive earnings downgrades that sent the shares down 30%. TSE last closed at 249c.
- Virgin Australia (VAH) has revealed their passenger numbers were up 7.2% in Feb compared to the previous year. The company’s revenue load factor declined by 4.6% to 72.4%. Qantas Airways (QAN) reported on Friday a 7.9% rise in Feb passengers.
- BHP Billiton (BHP) says it will not be able to supply its customers with coal after industrial action cause by workers and in their Queensland coal mines have dragged on for almost a year. Wet weather has also been blamed. An alliance between BHP and Mitsubishi Corp has declared force majeure at their coal mines. Details of the impact on production will be included in the company’s quarterly production report.
- The RBA — announces its Interest Rate decision at 2.30pm today. Economists are expecting the central bank to keep rates on hold at 4.25%.
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