The market is down 81. The SFE Futures were down 51 this morning.

The Dow closed down 168 and was down as much as 184 at worst after weak US jobs numbers. The S&P 500 closed down 1.6% and ended the week down 2.4% — its worst weekly loss of the year. The Nasdaq closed the day down 2.3%. European markets were lower. Metals were mixed on the LME. The gold price was up $10.40 to $1645.20. Oil down at $95.59 from $102.54 on Friday. The Australian dollar is now buying 101.28¢ down from 102.63¢ on Friday. Utility stocks were the only S&P 500 sector to close with a gain, up 0.14%. Energy and Technology stocks underperformed.

Main points:

  • Orica (ORI) delivered an interim profit of $253.3m down 4% but ahead of the average analyst forecast. Revenue rose 10% to $3.31bn from $3b last year. Chemical leaks at their ammonia plant near Newcastle contributed to the fall in profit as $90m in earnings were lost. ORI says the ammonia plant has now been successfully operating since Feb this year. Interim dividend of 38c up from 37c. Profits are expected to be higher in 2012 subject to plant performance and global economic conditions.
  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) expects Brisbane’s Airport Link project to open for first traffic on August 20 which is later than expected. LEI gave recent guidance for June. The company says the delay will not affect their profit guidance because they have made allowances to cover for delays.
  • Whitehaven Coal (WHC) plans to buy Coalworks (CWK) to further expand their coal assets and exploration activities in Australia. CWK shareholders will be offered $1 for each share, which is a 17% premium to Friday’s closing price. WHC already has a 17% stake in CWK. CWK is up 17% to 99.5c.
  • Alesco (ALS) has told shareholders to take no action on a $188m takeover offer from DuluxGroup (DLX). The offer represents a 43% premium to Friday’s closing price. ALS shares are trading above the offer price, which indicates the market is expecting a higher bid from DLX. No offer document has been provided by DLX as yet.
  • Building Activity continues to slide as the AIG / HIA’s Performance of Construction Index (PCI) fell 1.3 points to 34.9 in April. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in activity. The weakness was thanks to a drop in apartment building activity which had a reading of 22.9. House building was also weak at 33.3 as was commercial construction at 35.2. The best-performing sub-sector, engineering construction, fell slightly to 40.9.
  • The National Australia Bank (NAB) Business Survey showed business conditions fell three index points to zero in April. The survey recorded weakening conditions across all industries with the only exceptions being mining and retail, which got a boost from aggressive discounting. Transport, utilities and manufacturing all reported a decline in conditions.
  • Australian retail sales rose 0.9% in March and 1.8% for the quarter which was above consensus forecasts for a rise of 0.2% for March and 0.4% for the quarter.

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