The market is up 2. The SFE Futures were up 20 this morning.

The Dow hit a four year high closing up 66. It was down 39 at worst and up 125 at best. The S&P 500 closed up 0.57% and the Nasdaq up 0.13%. The FTSE was higher in the UK, while western European markets were closed for a holiday. Metals were mixed on the LME. The gold price was down $1.80¢ to $1662.40. Oil up $1.17 to $105.98. The Australian dollar is down at 103.32¢ from 104.27¢ following the RBA’s 50bps rate cut yesterday. Consumer discretionary stocks were the best sector in the US up 1.43%. Financials and Consumer Discretionary were also strong.

Main points:

  • ANZ have reported a 10% rise in profit to $2.92bn which was slightly below analyst expectations of $2.96bn after declining margins and lower credit demand impacted margins. The bank has not yet declared how much it will reduce interest rates by after the RBA cut rates by 50bps yesterday. Dividend 66c in line with most expectations. Share price in uptrend.
  • Origin Energy (ORG) has struck a major deal to sell some of their coal seam gas supplies in QLD to a joint venture building a rival gas-export project on the coast. Under the deal ORG will supply Glastone LNG with 365 petajoules of gas over 10 years from 2015. The Gladstone LNG JV (Santos, Petronas, Total and Kogas) is developing a project that will process coal seam gas into LNG for export to Asia. The price has not yet been disclosed. 
  • Brambles (BXB) has increased sales for the first 9 months to March 31 by 28% to US$4.20bn. The sharp rise is after new acquisitions, an expansion into emerging markets and an improving US wooden pallets business. The company retained profit guidance of between US$1.05bn and US$1.08bn.
  • Insurance Group of Australia’s (IAG) convertible preference shares (IAGPC) began trading on a deferred settlement basis on the ASX today at 12pm. The issue raised a total of $377.4m.
  • WorleyParsons (WOR) has won a 4 year contract from Joint Operations owned by Kuwait Gulf Oil Company and Saudi Arabian Chevron to provide engineering, project management and construction management services to maintain and boost production from onshore oil fields. Estimated revenue will be more than US$90m.
  • Bank of Queensland (BOQ) have lowered their variable home loan rate by 35bps to 7.11%.
  • Alumina (AWC) says demand and pricing will remain weak for the remainder of the year thanks to the high Aussie dollar. Aluminium demand growth is up 5%-7% mainly due to China, but slower than 2011. The company remains cautious about the short term outlook, especially with Carbon pricing set to begin on July 1.
  • Singapore Telecoms’ (SGT) Optus plans to cut 750 jobs in a restructure of their business. They also expect a one off charge of $37m relating to the job cuts. The move will drive greater efficiency and remove duplication, allowing the company to compete more effectively.

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