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ABN Newswire - Australian Market Report of October 13: US Investors Confident about Earnings

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Uploaded on Oct 12, 2009

Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher overnight towards the 10,000 points psychological level, helped by a market confidence on corporate earnings of blue chip companies. Energy stocks were also up on the back of a jump in crude oil prices.

The Australian market yesterday retreated from its early gains, dragged by financial stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 13.1 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 4,739.8, while the broader All Ordinaries was nine points, or 0.19 per cent lower, to 4745.5. Most major Asian stock markets also ended lower Monday, as investors locked in profits ahead of a string of key U.S. corporate results.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan says it was possible the economy could continue to "surprise on the upside". He also said there is uncertainty in a sustained global recovery. Although last week's unexpected fall in the unemployment rate in Australia was "remarkable", the number of jobless people will continue its rise.

Australian Bureau of Statistics lending finance data for August is another sign of improving consumer confidence. ABS said that total lending finance commitments rose 10.2 per cent to in the 12 months to August, marking the largest annual increase since January last year. The value of lending finance commitments, including finance leases, also rose by 2.8 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in August.

National Australia Bank today releases its monthly business survey for September.

M&A News

Gold Aura Limited (ASX:GOA), which plans to merge with Anomaly Resources (NSX:ANJ), has received acceptance in respect of 95.7 per cent of the voting shares in Anomaly. Gold Aura said it will proceed to compulsory acquisition of all remaining Anomaly ordinary shares and director shares in respect of which acceptances are not received within the offer period.

GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD) said in its bidder's statement that it will arrange for Breville Group (ASX:BRG) to be removed from the official list of ASX if it succeeds in the A$290 million takeover bid for Breville. But it has no plans to merge its Sunbeam marketing and sales teams with those of Breville's. GUD said managing director Ian Campbell would run a review of Breville's business if it became a wholly owned subsidiary.

Important Corporate News

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) said internal cash flow was strong enough to fund its expansion of Pilbara iron ore business, after failing to strike a US$6 billion funding deal with Chinese banks. Fortescue will not continue those funding discussions with China for the time being. It decided to spend A$360 million of internal funds to advance a mine at Christmas Creek, its second deposit in the Chichester Ranges.

Shares in Crown Ltd (ASX:CWN) surged more than 6 per cent yesterday after James Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings increased his stake in the casino group to just over 40 per cent. James Packer's move fuelled the speculations that he is preparing to privatise his casino empire.

Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) says it will increase tolls on Sydney's Hills M2 motorway after spending A$550 million to upgrade the road. The company said tolls on the highway, which connects the Westlink M7 to the Lane Cove Tunnel, would rise by about 8 per cent on completion of construction. Leighton Holdings (ASX:LEI) has been selected as preferred contractor for the project.

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