The market is up 56 following a 60-point fall yesterday. In a new period of volatility the ASX 200 has moved more than 50 points seven times in the last 17 trading days. Futures were up 18 this morning, with the Dow Jones up 84 overnight. The Dow was up 84 at best and notched up its 10th consecutive gain. Volumes were below average. The VIX Volatility (‘Fear’) index is now down to March 2007 lows.

US Weekly jobless claims were down 10,000 to 332,000, beating the forecast of 350,000. The reading spent most of last year within the range of 350,000-400,000, and last night’s numbers marked the third consecutive week outside that range.

Best sectors — energy (+1.3%), telecoms (+0.7%), basic materials (+0.7%) and technology (+0.7%).

European markets up — UK FTSE up 0.74%, German DAX up 1.10%, France up 0.93%, Spain up 1.88% Italy up 2.45%.

Metals mixed — copper up 0.22%, nickel up 1.64%, zinc down 0.49%, aluminium up 0.80%. Spot iron ore down $6.10 (4.29%) to $132.90. Gold down 50c to $1587.90. Oil up 56c to 93.08. BHP and RIO down 0.98% and 0.90% in ADR form in the US with BHP closing the equivalent of 3493c down 16c on last night’s close here.

  • Leighton Holdings (LEI) — Secures a $334 million broadband network contract. LEI is up 1.11% to 2193c.
  • Stockland (SGP) — Has announced plans to double the size of its Hervey Bay Shopping centre with a $115 million redevelopment to start next month. SGP is up 2% to 382.5c.
  • Whitehaven Coal (WHC) — Up 6% in early trade on no obvious news, although it may relate to Nathan Tinkler’s court case. WHC is up 6% to 245c.
  • Myer (MYR)  — After the results yesterday there are a couple of broker sell/underweight recommendations this morning. The stock was up 5.86% yesterday or 17c to 307c against a market down 60 points. MYR is down 0.49% to 305.5c.
  • Talk that APN might again consider a capital raising after the recent share price recovery post the board room spill. APN is up 4.35% to 36c.
  • Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory (WCB) back in the press as a potential bid candidate after Bega Cheese (BGA) ups its stake for the first time in 18 months from 16.1% to 17.1%. It bought the stake to block a takeover at 380c from Murray Goulburn three years ago who retain an 11.4% holding. The stock is down 9% since disappointing interim results at the end of last month. WCB is up 2.29% to 358c.
  • Sigma Pharmaceuticals (SIP 66c) — Finished up 3.15% yesterday on the financial year results. Citigroup and JP Morgan have made small changes to their valuations and target prices of 69c and 64c. SIP is up 3.82% to 68c.
  • Rate rise before election — The Aussie dollar is up on the back of the strong Australian jobs numbers yesterday (highest number of jobs added in one month for twelve and a half years) amid suggestions that the next interest rate move will be an increase and will happen before the election.
  • Ex-dividend today — CMG (14c), MIN (16c) plus others