The market is down 35. Our Futures were down 25 this morning, with Goldman Sachs downgrading Rio Tinto (RIO) to a “conviction sell” and BHP to neutral in the UK, sending the UK quotes down 5% and 3.5%. BHP is down 2.8% this morning taking 10 points off the index and RIO is down 3.3%. The Dow Jones was up 4 overnight on reasonably good housing numbers. The Dow was down 70 at worst and up 62 at best with uncertainty over Cyprus and the eurozone’s financial stability the main issue. Base metals and Oil down. The FOMC meeting goes into its second day in the US tonight.
European markets down — UK FTSE down 0.26%, German DAX down 0.79%, France down 1.30%, Spain down 2.20%, Italy down 1.59%.
The Cypriot parliament voted down the proposal to levy a tax on deposit accounts that was a condition of receiving a 10 billion euro bailout. The “no” vote means the country is facing the prospect of bankruptcy and it will invite added concern about the country possibly exiting the euro and eurozone. Their future is now in the hands of the ECB and EU, with talk of rescue funds from Russia.
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The ASX 200 is trading below 5000, having crossed 5000 five times in a month. This morning we are below 4975 for the first time since February 21. If we stay here by the close we will have broken support with the obvious technical conclusion that we are in a new downtrend.
Metals mixed — copper down 0.64% (seven-month low), nickel down 0.41%, zinc up 0.36%, aluminum up 0.08%. Spot iron ore down 20c to $134.40. Gold up $7.40 to $1612.00.
- BHP and RIO downgrades — Goldman Sachs has downgraded RIO to a conviction sell and BHP to neutral in the UK causing 5% and 3.5% falls in their UK quotes — ADRs down 2.7% and 4.8%. Its recommendations in Australia remain at buy for BHP (their preferred stock) and neutral for RIO and FMG. They also downgraded their longer term iron ore price forecasts. BHP is down 2.58% to 3367c & RIO is down 3.05% to 5688c.
- David Jones (DJS) — Interim net profit of $73.5 million, down 13.5% and slightly above a consensus forecast of $72.9 million. Dividend of 10c. Sales were double those achieved in the full 2011/12 financial year. DJS is up 3.38% to 306c.
- Breville Group (BRG) — Finished up 0.38% yesterday in a volatile session as the company confirmed they had lost the Keurig distribution agreement in Canada. BRG is up 1.87% to 544c.
- TPG Telecom (TPM) — Finished up 4.85% yesterday on first-half result. Citigroup has increased its target price to 330c after TPG upgraded guidance. TPM is up another 4.3% to 293c.
- Sirius Resources (SIR) — Has gone into trading halt pending the released of its initial resource statement.
- Westpac / Melbourne Institute Leading Index of Economic Activity is due out later today. In the last result the index was 4.3% above its long-term trend of 2.8%.
- International merchandise imports data is due out. In the last result the import of goods rose $187 million in January to $20.62 billion