The market is up 20. SFE Futures were up 7 this morning.

Dow Jones was closed. US markets were closed as New York battened down the hatches for the approaching Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to come ashore late Monday US time. The hardest hit region is now expected to be southern New Jersey, potentially impacting the lives of around 60 million people. A major concern is that the lower Manhattan area, home to crucial electrical assets, will be flooded with fears that winds associated with the Hurricane will cause a tidal surge of up to three metres. Dow Futures are down 100 at the moment. Markets will remain closed again tonight, this is the first time US markets have been closed for more than one day due to bad weather since 1888. The storm comes at the start of a big week in the US. This is the last full week before next Tuesday’s presidential election along with the release of monthly jobs data on Friday. European markets down — UK FTSE down 0.20%, German DAX down 0.40%, France down 0.76%, Spain down 0.60%, Italy down 1.51% and Greece was down 6.28%. UBS rallied on news it was going to slash 10,000 from its workforce in an effort to reduce costs. The insurance sectors saw some selling as everyone tried to second guess the wash up from insurance claims linked to Hurricane Sandy. The Stoxx Europe index down 0.4% with falls in nine of the 10 sectors, led by Telecoms and Energy.

  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA) — AGM — CBA expects demand for credit to remain subdued this year due to weak global economic conditions — with no signs of a sustained recovery in the US and Europe plagued with economic problems. Chairman David Turner said “it’s difficult to see the catalyst for alleviating the uncertainty which will continue to affect consumer and corporate confidence, so, in the near term, we expect demand for credit to remain subdued and we will retain our conservative business settings.” CBA is up 0.35% to 5699c.
  • Virgin Australia (VAH) has purchased a 60% stake in low cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia for $35 million. This will allow the airline to expand their capacity in Australia and offer more attractive offers to customers. Singapore Airlines has bought a 10% stake in Virgin Airlines for $105 million. Virgin Australia has also made a $98.7 million takeover for regional carrier Skywest (SXR). The company said their cash and scrip offer for Skywest, which operates in regional Australia and south east Asia, was worth 46.88c per Skywest share. The offer is made up of 22.5c in cash and 0.53 shares in Virgin Australia (VAH) in exchange for each Skywest share. VAH is up 7.07% to 49.25c & SXY is up 53.57% to 43c.
  • BHP Billiton (BHP) says they expect their coking coal production capacity to reach 66 million tonnes a year in 2014. This is a 50% increase from their production rate in 2012, when output was stopped due to industrial action. Coal production at their JV with Mitsubishi Corp in QLD has recovered strongly in the first quarter. BHP is up 0.15% to 3388c.
  • The HIA new home sales report showed home sales in Australia fell 3.7% in September. HIA chief economist Harley Dale said “the figures reflect a dire lack of confidence toward housing in the Australian market“.

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