The market is down 19. The SFE Futures were up 20 this morning. A 6.7% fall in JP Morgan after hours on news of a $2bn trading loss in the US left the Dow Futures down 88 on our open and they are still down 66 as we write.

Chinese economic data out today has so far seen CPI numbers in line with expectations at 3.4%.

The Dow closed up 20 and was up 97 at best following six straight days of losses.  The S&P 500 closed up 0.25% after hitting a 2-month low a day earlier although but was unable to close above its April low. European markets were higher. Metals were mixed on the LME with Copper and Zinc higher and Nickel and Aluminum lower. The gold price was down $2.00 to $1593.50. Oil down 2¢ to $96.74. The Australian dollar is low now buying 100.61¢.

Main points:

  • BHP Billiton (BHP) workers at the Norwich Park coal mine in QLD will form a guard of honour for their workers as they leave the coal mine for the very last time. Production will stop at the mine when the afternoon shift finishes today. BHP announced the closure of the mine due to lower coal prices, higher costs, strike action and weaker output. The nearby town of Dysart has serviced Norwich Park mine for 32 years, so there are fears it will be hit the hardest.
  • Western Areas (WSA) upgraded their mining and production guidance for FY12. The company now expects 30,000 tonnes of nickel ore up from 26,000 tonnes and 25,000 tonnes in nickel in concentrate produced after processing, up from 24,000 tonnes. WSA will also retire a $105.5m debt via repayments from cash.
  • OZ Minerals (OZL) has entered into an agreement with Kidman Resources (KDR) to sell the Big Ben group of tenements adjacent to the company’s existing Blind Calf and Wilmatha projects. KDR will issue OZL 1m ordinary shares at 22.5c as full consideration for the transaction. This allows KDR the opportunity to take a more significant position in the Cobar basin.
  • Alesco Corp (ALS) is adamant they will reject DuluxGroup’s (DLS) takeover offer and has labelled the offer price as ‘illusory’. DLX submitted a bidder’s statement yesterday encouraging ALS’ board and shareholders to accept the offer which represents a 43% premium to the stock before the offer was made. ALS reaffirmed this morning its advice to shareholders to take no action.
  • Gina Rinehart says she will sell some of the Roy Hill project’s iron ore on China’s first electronic trading platform. The miner will sell most of their iron ore though long term contracts but is expected to use the platform for spot shipments or ore.
  • RUN Corp (RNC) announced they have entered into two agreements with Rental Express Group and Heritage Acquisitions to sell their RUN Property and Agent Plus businesses. The two transactions are worth about $65.4m. RNC up 258% to 21.5c.
  • Westpac ex dividend on Monday 82c FF.
  • NAB ex dividend on May 31 90c FF.

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