The market is up 12. The SFE Futures were down 21 this morning.

The Dow closed down 102 and was down 184 at worst. The S&P 500 closed down 0.82% and the Nasdaq down 1%. European markets were also down — Germany lost 3.36%. Metals were down on the LME and the gold price was down $10.20 to $1632.60. Oil down 70¢ to $103.06. The Australian dollar was lower at 103.19¢, down from 103.68¢. All sectors in the S&P 500 were lower. Consumer Staples was worst, down 1.53%. Materials and Industrial were also weak. Ten-year US bond yields dropped to 1.940% from 1.969%.

Main points:

  • The Australian CPI Number hit its lowest level in more than 2 years this morning. March Q CPI up 0.1% to give an annual inflation rate of 1.6% down from 3.1%. Economists had expected a rise of 0.7% QonQ and 2.1% YonY. Aussie dollar fell to 102.69 from 103.19 US cents. This will boost chances of a RBA rate cut next Tuesday and perhaps allow a series of interest rate cuts over the coming months.
  • Newcrest Mining (NCM) produced 532,237oz for the March Q, below analyst expectations of 573,000oz after Lihir experienced plant reliability issues and production at Lihir, Cadia Valley and Hidden Valley were adversely impacted by heavy rainfall. As a result, NCM cut guidance for gold production for 2012 to 2.25-2.35 million ounces of gold from 2.43-2.55 million ounces. Not a good result and the market will struggle to give management the benefit of the doubt until results are on the board.
  • Wesfarmers (WES) 3rd Q sales results were good. Coles recorded total sales of $7.845bn up 4.9%. Coles managed to post comparable sales growth of 2.7% compared with Woolworths’ zero growth for the same quarter. Home Improvement & Office Supplies sales were $2.074bn up 4% also above an expected 3%. Target was down 4.4% after tough trading conditions. Kmart sales were up 1.2%. Overall sales all in line with expectations with the exception of Target.
  • Western Areas NL (WSA) sold a record 8,154 metric tons of nickel concentrate up 26%. WSA is ontrack for 2nd H sales to rise 25% from the first 6 months. Total mine production was 7,602 tons of nickel ore well above an expected 6,345 tons due to higher grade achieved at Flying Fox. WSA is unchanged on 526c.
  • Oil Search (OSH) revenue was up to US$187.2m from US$153.3m for the March Q as higher oil prices offset a fall in production to 1.46mboe from 1.79mboe. Output was impacted by a 16-day facilities shutdown related to work on the PNG LNG Project. The company is now assessing bids received from parties wanting to invest in their Gulf of Papua assets.
  • OZL Minerals (OZL) says their Prominent Hill mine is expected to maintain good margins even though operating costs have increased. They believe the mine will produce similar levels of copper but slightly less gold due to lower grades and harder ore being mined. This mine will transition to become an open pit with an underground mine in 2012.
  • Mirabela (MBN) up 16% after quarterly production numbers and the announcement of nickel exploration results which potentially increase open pit resources substantially.

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