Sydney, Oct 31, 2008 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight Wall Street closed with a 2.1 per cent gain, qualifying it as one of the quietest sessions in October. As the recent Australian share market has never made consecutive gains more than two days, analysts speculate a flat market today. Investors may take the breather as they did and wait until the expected RBA rate cut next Tuesday to move back into the market.

Yesterday, Australia's share market has closed 4% higher to top the 4000-point mark, boosted by overseas rate cuts and strong rises in Asian share markets. Resources and energy sectors was well performing with the jump of commodities and oil prices. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 155.5 points, or 4%, at 4001.1, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 151.5 points, or 4%, to 3957.3.

The Aussie dollar opened weaker today as the biggest contraction in the US economy since 2001 turned traders off riskier currencies. At 7am AEDT, the dollar was trading at $US0.6799/06, down 0.9 per cent from yesterday's close of $US0.6859/64.

Oil prices traded near $US70 a barrel in Asian today, extending gains after a cut in US interest rates powered a rally in global stock markets. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December delivery surged $US2.14 to $US69.64 a a barrel. It had jumped $US4.77 to $US67.50 a barrel at the close of floor trading in New York overnight.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned that Australia's unemployment and growth is under real pressure as many major economies head into recession. He said the latest growth forecast was positive, while unemployment was forecast in the budget to hit 4.75 per cent.

It is for the first time, he acknowledged that Australian household budgets will have another two years of battering from the global financial spin-out. Mr Rudd indicated there could be a further stimulus package after the coming A$10.4 billion cash injection, most of which will move through the economy from early December.

The RBA will also release financial aggregates data for September, as well as its Conference Volume 2008, titled Lessons from the Financial Turmoil of 2007 and 2008.
The Housing Industry Association of Australia will release new home sales data for September.
M&A News

Software developer MYOB's (ASX:MYO) top institutional shareholders are urging other investors to ignore the company's directors and endorse a A$487.2million takeover offer. The Sydney-based private equity firm Archer Capital has lobbed a A$487 million takeover bid for MYOB. Ten months after the MYOB board rejected a A$1.90-a-share bid from Archer, the private equity firm returned yesterday with a substantially lower A$1.25-a-share offer.

Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) says the global turmoil will enhance merger and acquisition opportunities over the next year, but has torpedoed the sale of its interest in the Cracow mine. The company said it had been approached by domestic and overseas parties about possible joint ventures in projects that were close to, or near development.

Real estate investment trust Mirvac (ASX:MGR) has a development pipeline of about A$1.3 billion that must be funded by early next year. The company called a trading halt as it finalises moves understood to include a capital raising to help its balance sheet.

Important Corporate News

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) announced yesterday Mr Skinner, 63, will step down from the chairman's role he has held for the past six years when his term expires in December, 2009. The company is unlikely to seek a candidate outside the company to replace outgoing chairman Paul Skinner as the group battles a hostile takeover from rival BHP Billiton.

Wesfarmers (ASX:WES), owner of Australia's second-biggest supermarket chain Coles, is looking to raise up to 3 billion Euro in European markets through a medium-term note program when debt markets stabilise. Wesfarmers said yesterday it would use the proceeds from the notes sale to pay down existing debt and for general corporate purposes.

Pipeline manufacturer and distributor Crane Group Ltd (ASX:CRG) has downgraded profit guidance for the first half of fiscal 2009 amid challenging market conditions. The first half net profit before significant items is expected to be approximately 12 per cent below last year, the company said.

1. Related Stocks - Mid Market (AEST 12:45)
------------------------------------------------------Code     % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High------------------------------------------------------ASX:MYO          176,234    $201,582      113.5   115ASX:NCM  -.38    1,984,324  $41,426,133   1996    2044ASX:RIO  -2.4    2,103,552  $176,921,318  7429    7754ASX:WES  +1.77   1,871,085  $44,600,747   2088    2125ASX:CRG  -5.38   49,020     $421,973      831     888
2. Top 10 ASX on Turnover - Mid Market (AEST 12:45)
------------------------------------------------------Code     % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High------------------------------------------------------ASX:BHP  -4.09   14,856,340 $410,378,921  2724    2825ASX:WBC  -.88    11,439,971 $235,100,168  2000    2048ASX:CBA  -.74    5,333,614  $215,792,225  3952    4044ASX:NAB  -2.06   8,982,450  $204,481,628  2325    2475ASX:RIO  -2.39   2,104,012  $176,956,032  7429    7754ASX:MQG  -.51    3,342,852  $126,829,287  2873    2970ASX:TEN  -1.9    45,224,577 $120,773,936  127     131ASX:WPL  -2.91   2,460,643  $113,347,778  4120    4244ASX:ANZ  -2.67   6,924,935  $112,810,336  1697    1754ASX:QGC          17,063,695 $98,128,760   575     576ASX:WOW  +.76    3,024,254  $82,071,450   2757    2795ASX:ORG  -.44    1,092,135  $17,023,159   1548    1572ASX:SGP  +1      3,816,907  $16,137,932   401     412ASX:FMG  -4.45   4,801,019  $14,751,337   296     315


Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344

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