The market is up 17. The SFE Futures were down 30 this morning.

The Dow closed down 97 and was down as much as 184 at worst.  The S&P 500 closed down 0.67% to a two-month low and the Nasdaq was down 0.39%. European markets were mixed with Germany up, but France and the UK were lower. Commodity prices were lower – Copper lost 0.94% and the Tin price was down 4.16%. The gold price was down $10.30 to $1594.20. Oil down 79¢ to $96.69 – its sixth straight decline. The Australian dollar down to 100.49¢. All S&P 500 sectors were lower except for Utilities and Technology stocks.

Main points:

  • ANZ has gone Ex-Dividend today — dividend amount 66c.
  • NAB — Interim ResultsThe result was inline with the company’s pre announcement. NAB’s net interest margin, a measure of profit it makes on its loans, was down six basis points to 2.17%. The bank’s UK business continues to put pressure on performance.
  • News Corp (NWS) delivered a 3rd Q profit of US$937m up 47% after one off gains including a US$111m gain from participation in British Sky Broadcasting’s share repurchase program and a US$27m gain from the sale of their stake in Hathaway Cable. The result exceeded analyst forecasts by 6%.
  • Mirabela Nickel (MBN) which went into a trading halt after a sharp price fall (down 30% on the day). The company released a statement to the ASX indicating that it was considering a possible capital raising given the current nickel price.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) is confident about the outlook for commodities demand even though short term volatility is expected they company is well prepared. RIO believes the demand for many products will double over the next 20 years. Growth in China has slowed but remains favourable in comparison with global economic growth. Europe remains a concern.
  • AMP released a better than expected quarterly update. The financial services division recorded outflows of $292m in the first quarter of 2012 higher than the $133m recorded a year ago. The positive news was that the report did not contain a rumoured profit warning that the market was expecting.
  • Caltex (CTX) says a review of their refinery operations which started in August 2011 is on track and is expected to be completed in the 3rd Q. CTX expects an improvement in earnings for their loss making refining business as margins for April had improved.
  • Singapore Telecommunications’ (SGT) Optus reported a profit of $787m up 1.5% for the year ended March 31 even after heavy competition from Telstra and Vodafone. Revenue was modest with a slight increase to $9.37bn after the mobiles business recorded a 1.6% increase in sales to $6bn for the year. The number of subscribers went up 4.6% to 9m in the year.
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics released their jobs figures for April reporting a fall of 4.9% in unemployment. Total employment rose 15,500 to 11.501 million. The forecast was for total employment to fall by 5,000 and the unemployment rate to be 5.3%.

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