Dec 14, 2012

The market is flat. SFE Futures were down 7 this morning. Dow Jones was down 75. US markets continued yesterday's trend and sold off on mixed economic data and further fiscal negotiation concerns. US Retail Sales were up 0.3% in November, below the forecast for a 0.5% gain and Producer Prices were down 0.8% in November. New Claims for unemployment were down by 29,000 to 343,000 in the latest week beating the forecast of 375,000. Republican Speaker John Boehner addressed the media in Washington, he suggested President Obama is not serious about cutting spending, and the White House is willing to go over the fiscal cliff. John Boehner has again blamed President Barack Obama for the "fiscal cliff" stalemate and demanded concessions on spending. "It's clear that the president is just not serious about cutting spending, but spending is the problem," Mr Boehner told reporters, insisting that tax increases alone will not resolve the US fiscal crisis. "The president wants to pretend that spending isn't the problem -- that's why we don't have an agreement, here we are at the eleventh hour, and the president still isn't serious about dealing with this issue right here," he said. Worst sectors -- Health Care (-1.0%), Energy (-0.9%), Technology (-0.8%) and Financials (-0.6%). European markets mixed -- UK FTSE down 0.27%, German DAX down 0.43%, France 0.10%, Spain up 0.38%, and Italy up 0.64%. European market took profits and came back down off their 18 month highs. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was down 0.4% with Health Care (-0.7%), Technology (-0.6%), Industrials (-0.5%) and Consumer Goods (-0.5%) sectors.
  • Insurance Australia Group (IAG) -- Has sold their UK car insurance business and expects to make a loss of $240 million on the transaction. IAG is down 1.87% to 472c.
  • APN News & Media (APN) -- Surged 10.5% on yesterday's close before the company issued a profit warning after market close. APN says their profit may be cut by a third because of a weaker than expected advertising market. APN is down 8% to 29c.
  • Caltex Australia (CTX) -- Profit upgrade – Expects to return to profit this year as record sales of premium fuels have helped offset writedowns tied to the planned closure of their Sydney refinery. Profit in the year to Dec. 31 will likely be between $145 million - $165 million which compares to a loss $852 million in 2011.  CTX is up 4.01% to 1969c.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) -- The ACCC has approved plans by Qantas to more closely integrate their operations with Jetstar operations in Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and yet to be approved Hong Kong. QAN is up 0.18% to 140.75c.
  • Macmahon Holdings (MAH) -- Down 5.83% after completing the $42m Institutional arm of their $80.7 entitlement offer.
  • Whitehaven Coal (WHC) -- Says their request to truck Narrabri coal is currently being assessed. The Australian Rail Track Corp has revised the estimated date for re-opening the line and now scheduled to open December 20. WHC down 5c to 318c.
  • AJ Lucas (AJL) -- Is up 26% after Britain decided to allow shale gas exploration to resume but under tighter rules.
  • Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI figures are due out 12.45pm today.
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