The market is up 40. The Dow Jones finished down 23 on below average-volumes.
The Dow was up 40 at best and down 58 at worst — Late in the session a rumour circulated that a well-known Wall Street Journal reporter had leaked that a Federal Reserve member had written an article suggesting that the current stimulus measures in the US could/should be eased, a sign that the Fed may be anticipating recovery and a rise in interest rates.
Good US weekly jobless numbers were down by 4000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000 last week — the lowest level since January 2008.
The Bank of England left its asset purchase target unchanged at 375 billion pounds. The bank rate was also left unchanged at 0.5% as expected.
The German DAX was up 0.2% to a fresh all-time high.
The yen fell below 100 per US$ for the first time since April 2009. The Euro and A$ also lost a lot of ground on a 1% rise in the US$ with much talk about George Soros shorting the A$ at the right time.
ANNOUNCEMENTS & STORIES
- Karoon Gas Australia (KAR) — The size of their Bilby-1 oil discovery offshore has been expanded with a proven oil column of 320 metres. KAR is up 13.67% to 607c.
- Mirvac Group (MGR) — Buys office assets for $584 million. Currently in a trading halt pending a capital raising at 169c raising $400 million.
- Billabong (BBG) — Takeover abandoned. Sycamore Partners have pulled their full takeover offer and are instead pursuing a re-capitalisation deal. Stock is still in suspension.
- Crown (CWN) — Melco Crown’s first-quarter net profits were 56% lower but the underlying profit beat the analyst’s expectations. Crown shares are trading near their all-time highs. CWN is down 0.53% to 1304c.
- AMP — Boss Craig Dunn said at the company’s AGM yesterday “Pleasingly, we are delivering good earnings momentum in many parts of the business.” AMP is up 2% to 561c.
- NAB (3268c) — Finished down 2.07% yesterday after they posted a $2.92 billion first-half cash profit. The interim dividend of 93c was only slightly above consensus. Net Profit was $2.52 billion, up 22.8%. Out of six broker reports this morning three are Buy recommendations, with some target prices below the current share price. The rest of the brokers say HOLD. NAB is up 0.46% to 3283c.
- Rio Tinto (RIO) — Bell Securities has put a SELL on the stock. They say the company’s AGM had nothing shareholder friendly and gave a negative outlook. Six other brokers have a buy.
- The new BHP CEO starts today — Andrew Mackenzie takes over from Marius Kloppers. There are some hopes that he will bring with him a higher dividend payout ratio.
- Ex dividends — WBC goes ex dividend 86c and ex its special dividend of 10c on Monday. Today is the last day you could buy it and still pick up the dividend. Macquarie goes ex dividend 125c on Monday as
- well. The NAB goes ex dividend 93c on May 30. The ANZ is already ex with a cum dividend market set up today