The market is up 32. The SFE Futures were down 3 this morning.

The Dow closed down 15 and was down 52 at worst. The S&P 500 closed down 0.369% and the Nasdaq down 0.74%. The S&P recorded its first monthly loss since November, down 0.75% but was helped by last week’s four straight days of gains. European markets were down on news that Spain is back in recession. Metals were mixed on the LME with copper and nickel prices lower. The gold price was down 60¢ to $1664.20. Oil up 7¢ to $104.80. The Australian dollar is lower at 104.27¢ ahead of the RBA’s interest rate announcement today. Consumer discretionary stocks were best in the US up 1.30%. Energy, Telecom and Utility stocks were the only sector high in the S&P 500.  Consumer Staples, Energy and Tech stocks ended the session lower. Industrial, Materials and Tech stocks underperformed.

Main points:

  • Alesco (ALS) has received a $188.4m all-cash takeover offer from DuluxGroup (DLX) to acquire all ordinary shares that it does not own at a price of 200c per share. The offer represents a premium of 43% to the last closing price of ALS. DLX already holds 19.96% of ALS making it the largest shareholder. ALS is up 43.57% to 201c & DLX is down 5.48% to 293c.
  • The Chinese PMI number is out at 53.3, a touch below expectations of 53.6. Not quite good enough to provide a resources sector catalyst.
  • RBA Meeting at 2.30pm — They will need to cut by 50bp to “surprise” the markets at all. If they do you can expect income stocks (Banks/Telstra) to rally again (as an alternative to term deposits).
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) is expected to cut 400 jobs from their Melbourne heavy maintenance base. The company also released traffic and capacity statistics for March showing passenger numbers up 7% for March 2012. QAN is unchanged on 163.5c.
  • Stockland Group (SGP) confirmed their previous earnings guidance for a fall of 3.5% to achieve earnings per share of 30.5c after a weaker residential housing market. The market is however pricing in a significant rate cut which might bring about a more positive outlook. SGP is down 0.32% to 309c.
  • UGL and CH2M Hill have won a $550m contract to build a power plant for the Ichthys LNG project in NT. The JV will design, supply and construct the plant. This is a significant win for the company. UGL is down 0.23% to 1305c.
  • Holdings (WTF) expects their profit for FY12 to be between 9%-13% higher than their previous result. This translates to $55m-$57.5m compared with the FY11 result of $51m. WTF will release their FY results on August 22. WTF is down 4.3% to 423c.
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) has accepted a $2bn deal to sell part of their stake in the proposed Browse LNG Development to Japan Australia LNG. They have also accepted an offer for a long-term sales and purchase agreement for 1.5m tonnes of LNG a year. This reduces WPL’s Browse interest to 31.3%. WPL is up 4.15% to 3636c.

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