The market is up 52. US markets were closed overnight for the Independence Day public holiday.

The European Central Bank left the interest rate at 0.5% as expected. The overnight deposit rate was also unchanged at 0.0%. ECB President Draghi said at his press conference that “the governing council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time”.

Spanish 10-year bond yield down 12bpts to 4.65%. Italian 10-year bond yield down 11bpts to 4.40%. Greek 10-year bond yield up 10bpts to 11.69%.

European markets up — UK FTSE up 3.08%, Germany up 2.11%, France up 2.90%, Spain up 3.07%, Italy up 3.44%.

Metals mixed — copper down 0.59%, nickel down 0.20%, aluminium up 0.26%, zinc up 0.01%. Spot iron ore up $1.50 to $122.0. Gold was down $2.20 to $1249.70. Oil was down 12c to $101.12.

  • The AIG / HIA Performance of Construction Index rose 4.2 points to 39.5 in June. The construction sector fell for the 37th consecutive month, but the pace of decline is slowing.
  • Telstra (TLS) — Has signed a $32 million contract with Australian Customs and Border Protection Services to roll out a secure gateway interest services across 11 government agencies to protect them from online viruses and hacking attempts.
  • Fortescue Metals (FMG) — Says its expansion plans have left no space for junior miner Brockman Mining (BCK) to share their rail haulage line.
  • Crown (CWN 1221c) — Was up 2.2% yesterday and up another 4% this morning as the NSW government gave the green light for James Packer’s proposed $1.5 billion luxury casino and hotel facility at Barangaroo. Echo Group stands to lose its casino monopoly, and its share price is down 8% since the announcement. See below for more.
  • NextDC (NXT) — Citi says the company is one of its top small cap picks, behind McMillan Shakespeare and M2 Telecommunications. The company has made a $1.6 million profit from a $28.1 million sale of its Asia Pacific Data Centre stake on Wednesday. This, together with a recent five-year contract with a leading corporation thought to be Microsoft, places the company in a solid position. Buy call is retained with a 250c target price.
  • Retailers — CIMB Securities has surveyed retailers after the June clearance sales and released a review which looks at the top four retailers — David Jones (DJS), Harvey Norman (HVN), JB Hi-Fi (JBH) and Myer (MYR). Recommendations include:

o    Underperform on DJS with a reduced target price from 220c to 205c. It forecasts fourth quarter like-for-like sales to fall by 3%.

o    Outperform on HVN with a target price of 270c. It forecasts HVN’s sales momentum to ease up into the fourth quarter.

o    Outperform on JBH with a target price of 1790c. It forecast like-for-like growth of 1.5% in the fourth quarter.

o    Neutral on MYR with a target price of 250c down from 280c. It says Myer had a higher level of discounting at the mid year clearance. It expects sales growth to soften in the fourth quarter.

  • Magellan Financial Group Limited (MFG) — One of the best-performing stocks of the year — is up 378% since this time last year, with no sign of stopping. JP Morgan has just put out an overweight recommendation with an 1100c target price, now 1060c.