The market is down 4. The SFE Futures were down 3 this morning.

The Dow closed down 69. It was up 47 points at best and down 136 at worst. US and European markets were down for a second straight day despite the Spanish 10 year bond auction getting away. The S&P 500 closed down 0.6%, and the Nasdaq down 0.8%. European markets were lower. Metals were mixed on the LME. Gold was up $3.60 at $1641.40. Oil down 20¢ to $103.02. The Australian dollar is lower at 103.35¢. Healthcare was the only S&P 500 sector to end the day higher, up 0.22%. Industrial and Technology stocks were down more than 1%. Ten-year US bond yields dropped to 1.971% in a small flight to safety. Microsoft up 3.16% in after hours trade on late results. All US economic numbers a bit disappointing except for Leading indicators.

Main points:

  • Woolworths (WOW) released 3rd Q sales results of $14.07bn up 3.8% but slightly below a consensus of $14.29bn. Excluding petrol total sales growth was 3.3% below an expected 5.2% after  weak Australian Food and Liquor results. WOW remains cautious about the sales outlook for the 4th Q given consumer and business uncertainty about the impact of the carbon tax and interest rates.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) has won separate contracts in Australia and Saudi Arabia. The Australian $450m contract is for site clearing work at the Wheatstone gas export project in WA to be completed by 2014. The Habtoor Leighton JV has won a contract to build an aircraft maintenance facility in Saudi Arabia, which is expected to be worth US$153m.
  • Boral (BLD) cut their full year profit guidance by $22m after weak house activity and heavy rain in NSW and QLD have impacted their operations. BLD had forecast profit to be $150m-$175m and now expect $128m-$153m.
  • Bradken (BKN) cut their profit guidance after increased costs and lower sales in their rail division. BKN had previously forecast profit growth of 35%-40%. They now expect profit to be up only 13% which translates to $95m-$102m. Patersons have changed their BUY recommendation to HOLD.
  • Beach Energy (BPT) who have a 56.22% interest in Somerton Energy, say they are considering their position in relation to an off-market takeover bid by Cooper Energy (COE). The offer available to Somerton shareholders is an all shares alternative or a cash and shares alternative.
  • Sydney Airport (SYD) has released their Airport Traffic figures for March which showed international passenger numbers grew by 8.6%. Australian outbound travel grew by 11% and was the key result as Australians take advantage of airline capacity increases on Middle Eastern and Asian routes.
  • Pharmaxis (PXS) has received approval to market their Bronchitol product in the EU. Cystic fibrosis treatment will now be available to patients through the EU.
  • CBA Business Sales Indicator for March rose by 0.8% after a 0.8% gain in February. Consumers overcame a lack of confidence in the economy and spent more on services such as entertainment.

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