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Markets Live: Miners lead stocks down

Australian shares closed lower after the iron ore price fell overnight and weakness German in the business climate dented investor sentiment.

5.25pm: Here's the wrap.

4.49pm: That's all from us here at blog central, we've enjoyed your company, see you all tomorrow from 9.30am.

Stay tuned for a full wrap of today's session, coming up.


4.39pm: European stock index futures pointed to a higher open today, with stocks set to reverse the previous session's losses as hopes about recent central bank stimulus measures eclipse worries over the global economy and Spain's debt crisis.

Futures for London’s FTSE100, the Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.1-0.3 per cent.

In the US, futures for the S&P500 and Dow Jones indexes were up 0.07 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.

4.29pm: The Australian dollar did no more than hold its ground on the US dollar today with investors cautious on lingering worries about Europe and global growth.

The dollar managed to edge up to $US1.0423 in a subdued session, from $US1.0412 in early trade, having bounced from $US1.0387 offshore.

Analysts said investors were waiting for policy stimulus from central banks in the US, Japan, and the euro zone to filter through the global economy, and that big gains in the Antipodeans were unlikely before such signs emerge.

"It's going to be hard for the Aussie to rally until the market accepts that things will get better and we see further gains in equities and commodities," said Hamish Pepper, currency strategist at Barclay Capital in Singapore.

4.23pm: Here's a snapshot of how the blue chip stocks performed today:

  • BHP: -0.66%
  • Rio: -1.7%
  • ANZ:+0.08%
  • CBA:+0.71%
  • NAB:+0.63%
  • Westpac: +0.69%
  • Fortescue: -1.39%
  • Woolworths: -1.32%
  • Wesfarmers: -0.41%
  • Telstra: +0.65%

4.16pm: Among the sectors, materials weighed heavily on the market, dropping 1 per cent, gold miners lost 1.2 per cent and consumer staples fell 0.5 per cent. Telecommunications and IT bucked the adding 0.5 and 0.7 per cent respectively. 

4.12pm: The market has continued its downward trend for the week. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 lost 12.6 points, or 0.3 per cent, to finish at 4372.9, while the broader All Ords fell 13.7 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4395.5.

4.10pm: The European Central Bank and Germany's central bank are getting lawyers to check the legality of the ECB's new bond-buying program, a German newspaper said on Tuesday.

German tabloid Bild, which did not name its sources, said ECB and Bundesbank in-house lawyers were checking both what proportions the program would have to take on and how long it would have to last for it to breach EU treaties.

The newspaper said this meant there was a possibility that the issue could soon be referred to the European Court of Justice and added that the ECB and Bundesbank wanted to legally "arm" themselves for this scenario.

3.50pm: With 10 minutes to go before the close of trade, the market has hit the day's low, down 18.2 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4367.3.

3.47pm: Some weather news, ocean temperatures indicating an El Nino have eased over the last two weeks, reducing the chance of the weather event emerging, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said today.

Tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures had cooled in the last fortnight, while other indicators remained in neutral territory, it said.

However, the bureau warned the risk of the weather pattern returning remained. 

3.42pm: Geoff Lloyd has taken a $600,000 pay cut despite being promoted to chief executive at funds manager Perpetual.

Mr Lloyd was elevated to the top job in February but his remuneration package failed to rise along with his status.

Perpetual’s latest annual report shows Mr Lloyd was paid $1.4 million for 2011/12, including $752,082 in salary and $437,000 in short term incentives and other bonuses.

However the package fell short of the $2 million he collected in the previous financial year as group executive of Perpetual Private and head of retail sales.

His predecessor Chris Ryan’s total remuneration for 2011/12 came in at $2.7 million, including a $1.2 million termination payout, a $711,955 salary and $183,750 in bonuses.

3.34pm: With just a short while until the close of trade, here’s what CMC Markets sales trader Ben Taylor had to say about the day’s action:

  • The list of reasons to sell seems to be weighing heavier than reasons to buy at present. Commodity price slides, a Euro story turnaround that just doesn’t seem to turn, US growth concerns with the pending fiscal cliff, book squaring for the end of month and quarter, and the Chinese economy coming into question are just a few of the issues plaguing our market.
  • The other side of this story is that we have now seen central banks around the world act in a concerted way to help stabilise their economies and in effect each other’s. There is a massive back stop built into this market and it’s hard to see why investors would place significant shorts when central banks have revealed their hand for all to see. 
  • The great unknown for the share market will be how companies fair, will confidence improve and can employment rise? I suspect it will take significant time before we know the answer to these questions and we will continue to ride a somewhat muted rollercoaster until the answers are more evident. 
  • Locally the price of iron ore continues to turn heads. The high Aussie dollar have some believing the RBA will need to do the heavy lifting as our government seeks to state its economic credibility on delivering a surplus at any cost. I however believe rate cuts that market participants are calling for may not be so forthcoming, as the RBA continues to search for the peak in commodity driven investment.

3.22pm: Some interesting comments on Australia’s mining boom from HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham:

Australia has a long history of mining booms. These have often been followed by busts. But this one should be different for three reasons:

  • First, Australia's post-war recessions were all also coincident with global recessions, with the falling terms of trade a result rather than the cause. So it is not the commodity price fall, per se, that drove the recession, but rather the global recession. To forecast an Australian recession, recent history would suggest it would be necessary to be forecasting a global one.
  • Second, inflation has remained contained. Previous mining booms led to widespread rising inflation. Rising commodity prices boosted incomes which saw greater spending and too much demand chasing too few goods. This time around much more of that demand has leaked offshore. The significant AUD appreciation has done what it ought to, with much of the excess demand met by imports, made cheaper by the AUD appreciation. Inflation has generally been low and wages have remained contained in all but the mining sector, so that price pressures have not spread across the economy. Unlike during previous mining booms, irrational exuberance in the mining sector has not spilled over into the broader economy this time around, as it had previously. 
  • Third, foreign involvement in the mining industry is much higher this time around which should cushion the effect on the local economy. Four-fifths of the industry is foreign owned and the imported content of the investment is much higher than in previous booms. This has curtailed the expansionary impact of the run-up on investment capacity and local profits, and should cushion it on the way down. 

3.03pm: Amanda Gome has stood down as chief executive of Private Media, publisher of Crikey, after the board decided the online publishing company needed a different set of leadership skills.

Private Media chairman Eric Beecher confirmed Ms Gome’s departure, saying she had guided the company towards success.

"Amanda Gome, who has been one of the key contributors to the growth of Private Media, has left the company after the board decided a new CEO is needed to steer the next stage of the company's development," he said in a statement.

2.59pm: Another interesting read from BusinessDay's Adele Ferguson: Leighton asset sales will hit margins.

Construction giant Leighton Holdings has put its high margin telecommunications assets for sale at a price believed to be between $500 million and $800 million as it tries to reduce debt and ensure it can pay dividends to its debt laden shareholders in Germany and Madrid.

The move is part of a wider strategy to identify what it considers “non core assets” and sell them. Other asset sales are speculated to include its 50 per cent stake in listed property company Devine, its 32 per cent stake in Sedgman and 19.9 per cent stake in Macmahon Holdings, when the market improves. There has also been talk that it might sell its Leighton Property business and an aviation services business.

The key telco business for sale is NextGen, which is the long-haul fibre optic network. Leighton has made it clear it won't be selling its construction and maintenance businesses in the telco space which are currently doing work for the NBN.

2.51pm: Following the RBA financial stability review, the Commonwealth Bank has put together some key points from the central bank's analysis:

  • FSR paints a generally positive picture of the Australian financial system and the fundamentals that underlie it.
  • Eurozone developments remain the main global risk to financial stability. 
  • RBA desires household borrowing restraint to continue, at odds with the current rate cut debate.

2.35pm: Electricity retailers are being unfairly blamed for soaring bills when government green schemes and infrastructure costs are to blame, a Senate inquiry has been told.

Energy Retailers Association of Australia executive, Cameron O’Reilly, today argued the case for deregulation of the industry.

‘‘It is not the retail or wholesale electricity tariff prices that have caused recent price rises but network charges and green schemes,’’ he told a hearing in Sydney.

‘‘It is retailers, not consumers, who bear the risk in volatile wholesale markets.’’

But South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said the real victims were consumers.

‘‘When their (retailers) CEOs get massive multi-million dollar a year pay increases it’s a bit rich for them to be lecturing us that they shouldn’t be blamed for consumer concerns about power prices,’’ he said.

2.31pm: An interesting read from the small business desk:

Melbourne's Grant Petty is hailed around the world as the man who democratised the film industry by giving ordinary film-makers access to the technology used in blockbuster Hollywood films such as Avatar and Prometheus. But few people close to home know of his design and film technology company's international success.

Click here for the full story.

2.23pm: A notice of Fairfax’s AGM, released today, confirms that major shareholder Gina Rinehart has not put forward any motion against the board or chairman Roger Corbett.

Also, a media analyst and commentator is standing for election to the board of Fairfax Media in an effort to help it improve its flagging financial performance.

Peter Cox has nominated to be elected a non-executive director of Fairfax, telling shareholders he can offer media experience, digital understanding, independence and credibility.

But the Fairfax board opposes Mr Cox’s election, telling shareholders in the notice of meeting he does not possess the relevant management and board experience.

2.13pm: BusinessDay's Elizabeth Knight has filed: Falling woodchip prices felled Gunns:

It's a great day for environmentalists but a very ugly moment for the shareholders and bankers who have funded the controversial forestry business Gunns.

It officially put itself into the hands of an administrator today but in a practical sense has been trading courtesy of its bankers for a while.

And the bankers have allowed this to continue because they were hoping that Gunns could raise some equity to build a pulp mill that environmentalists had been fighting against for years.

Certainly the green movement had a significant long-term impact on the company's financial future but then so did a long list of factors, including poor management decisions and more recently the high Australian dollar.

2.01pm: Olympus' former president, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, has admitted guilt in a cover-up of massive investment losses at the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker.

The scandal emerged last year when Michael Woodford, the British chief executive who turned whistleblower, raised questions about payments for financial advice and dubious acquisitions. Woodford was later fired.

‘‘There is no mistake. The entire responsibility lies with me,’’ Kikukawa told the court.

Tokyo prosecutors have charged the company, Kikukawa and other officials, arrested in February, with violating laws regulating securities exchanges by falsifying company financial statements.

Three other Olympus executives also pled guilty on today. The company also entered a guilty plea.

If found guilty, individuals face up to 10 years in prison, a Y10 million ($A123,495) fine, or both. The company can be penalised with a fine of up to Y700 million.

1.52pm: Here's a look at today's best and worst perfomers among the ASX's top 50 companies:

1.39pm: Sydney’s hotel scene is on the cusp of a major development spree with the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour, seeking approval for a $150 million plan to add an additional 231 rooms.

On completion, the 927-room hotel, said to be the biggest in the country, will become an integral part of the Darling Harbor precinct on the CBD’s western edge.

The move comes as the developers of nearby Barangaroo South, Lend Lease, are in discussions with James Packer’s Crown to build the country’s first ‘‘six-star’’ hotel on the edge of water which could include a high rollers’s casino.

Last week two Chinese-based private investors struck a deal with Sunland to buy the Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast for $68.5 million. It had originally been on the market for $80 million in April.

1.21pm: The ASX200 has just hit the day's lows, down 0.3 per cent, with the materials sector once again leading the way down (-1.1%).

Consumer staples are down 0.7 per cent and energy stocks have lost 0.5 per cent, while financials are up 0.1 per cent.

1.14pm: Investors who lost everything when Storm Financial folded were just numbers in a system designed to make the company and banks rich, a court has been told.

Barrister Allan Myers, representing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), detailed the personal circumstances of two couples and one individual whose financial security was devastated when the Townsville-based financial services company folded in early 2009.

Myers told the Federal Court in Brisbane today that the investors were all aged above 60 and had assets of between $820,000 and $2.6 million prior to joining the Storm family.

The court heard they mortgaged their homes and took margin loans on the advice of Storm.

1.04pm: Australians have an unusual habit of paying off their mortgages much faster than borrowers in most other rich nations, a valuable trait that gives households a safety buffer were the economy to slow sharply.

Around half of all borrowers are ahead on mortgage payments, the Reserve Bank reports, a level only reached by Canada among developed nations.

"In this way, many households have a buffer that they could temporarily draw on to stay current on their loan repayments if their incomes were to fall," the central bank says in its semi-annual report on financial stability.

In total, the RBA estimates mortgage prepayment buffers in Australia are equivalent to around one-and-a-half years of scheduled repayments based on current interest rates.

Indeed, the RBA says liaison with major banks suggested 15 per cent of borrowers are ahead by two years or more.

12.56pm: Here's how the rest of the region is doing (better than the ASX200):

  • Japan (Nikkei): +0.3%
  • Hong Kong: -0.1%
  • Shanghai: -0.1%
  • Taiwan: -0.2%
  • Korea: -0.3%
  • Singapore: +0.2%
  • New Zealand: +0.4%

12.51pm: Some traders are also pointing at Greece as a reason for today's losses, after the International Monetary Fund warned that delays in implementing Greece’s bailout program would worsen the nation’s financial shortfall.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said the 11.5 billion euros in more spending cuts and revenue increases demanded by Greece’s rescue lenders might not be enough to get the ailing economy back on track, as she also criticised the slow progress of privatisations.

RBS Morgans private client adviser Bill Bishop says the speed bumps in implementing the Greek austerity measures are having a small affect on investor confidence.

‘‘They’re waiting to see what happens next,’’ he says. ‘‘We’re back to the old battle ... This has been going on for a few years.’’

12.47pm: Demand for Commonwealth bonds climbed to the strongest in 1 1/2 years as the federal government plans to shrink the supply of the world’s highest-yielding AAA sovereign securities.

Buyers bid for 3.99 times the notes offered this quarter, the most since the three months ended March 2011, government data show. Five-year debt sold August 31 had a bid-to-cover ratio of 5.74, the most in 13 months.

The average premium offered by Australian 10-year bonds over the other 10 top-rated sovereign markets was at 157 basis points, compared with this year’s low of 133 basis points reached in June.

12.34pm: Mining shares are leading the market's fall following a drop in iron ore prices as a weakening global economic outlook dims near-term demand prospects for industrial metals.

Spot iron ore prices in top consumer China fell 2.5 per cent to $US103.70 overnight, reflecting limited interest among steel mills in restocking the raw material ahead of next week's public holidays given the uncertain outlook for steel demand.

Sentiment has also been affected by data showing Germany's business confidence dropped in September to its lowest since early 2010.

"It is difficult to see what could encourage buyers to push the market higher. Market participants currently seem satisfied to take profits on recent gains," says IG Markets strategist Stan Shamu.

12.25pm: The Australian dollar is holding ground on the US dollar, but is nursing losses against the yen due to Japanese fund repatriation ahead of their half-year book-closing.

The Aussie is buying $US1.0440, 81.3 yen and 80.7 euro cents.

Analysts say investors are cautious after poor European data and weak earnings forecast from Caterpillar which added to global growth worries.

12.05pm: Most mortgage brokers are expecting at least one cut in the official cash rate this year and the odds are shortening for a Melbourne Cup Day move.

Mortgage provider Loan Market says 85 per cent of its broker network expect the Reserve Bank to provide interest rate relief before the end of the year, with 52 per cent anticipating a reduction at the November board meeting.

‘‘The RBA certainly has form on the board for taking action on the first Tuesday in November,’’ Loan Market spokesman Paul Smith says. ‘‘They have moved rates on cup day every year since 2006, so the betting seems to favour more action in November this year.’’

Here's more

11.51am: Gold miner Newcrest is tapping investors for $US1 billion to help reduce its debt.

The world’s third largest gold miner says it will raise the money in the United States by issuing corporate bonds.

The capital raising comes three weeks after Newcrest said it had renewed loans worth $US2.5 billion with 10 banks, extending its repayment dates for up to five years.

Newcrest shares are down 1.1 per cent, posting a fourth straight day of losses.

11.47am:  Finance Minister Penny Wong has weighed in on the cash stash debate, warning elderly pensioners to properly declare their income amid concerns many are keeping extra earnings in cash in their homes.

Wong said she had ‘‘not been looking looking under pensioners’ beds lately’’.

‘‘But I would say we have a system of means testing for access to the pension and people are required to declare their assets and their income in order to access them.’’

Former Reserve Bank official Peter Mair told BusinessDay there had been strong demand from pensioners wanting to swap cash amounts for high denomination notes, such as $100 notes, which make it easier to store large amounts of money.

Here's the full story

11.41am: Trading in shares of Glencore has been suspended, according to a filing on the Hong Kong exchange.

No further details were immediately available.

Miner Xstrata had last week delayed its response to $US35.1 billion offer from Glencore until early October.

11.38am: Fortescue will pay Leighton $US1.5 billion to oversee mining at its Firetail iron ore deposit in the Pilbara.

Leighton Contractors will manage the mine for five years under the newly-signed contract, operating the open cut mining fleet and handling plants and associated infrastructure.

Firetail, part of Fortescue’s Solomon hub in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, is expected to produce 20 million tonnes of iron ore per year from the end of March 2013.

Fortescue shares are down 1.4 per cent, while Leighton is flat.

11.35am: The dollar didn't react to the financial services review and is trading at $US1.0427.

11.32am: The RBA has released its financial stability review. The central bank says Australian households are building a financial cushion by repaying mortgages faster and saving more, while businesses are indicating more willingness to borrow.

‘‘Given the large share of households with mortgage prepayment buffers, along with relatively low unemployment and moderate income growth, most households appear well placed to meet their debt obligations,’’ the RBA said in its semiannual financial stability review released today. More soon.

11.17am: There's a bit more here on Gunns. Gunns employs approximately 645 employees in Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

It’s been hit hard by massive writedowns on the value of its forestry assets, and had been seeking to raise about $400 million to cut debt and support the development of a pulp mill at Bell Bay in Tasmania.

Shares in Gunns have been in a trading halt since March 9, when New Zealand-born billionaire Richard Chandler decided against investing in the company. Its shares last traded at 16 cents, but were above $4.37 in 2005.

11.12am: Economists at CBA have revised down their view of global growth over the coming year, and have pinpointed the biggest threat to a recovery. It's not Europe or China, rather the US Congress:

We have shaved our global growth forecasts for both 2012 and 2013 by 0.1% to 3.1% to 3.6% respectively, reflecting slower expected growth in India and China. Despite the downgrade, emerging economies will remain the major driver of the global economy. Importantly, we believe the Chinese economy is stabilising ...

There are downside risks to our global growth forecasts. However, the recent easing by some central banks has reduced the downside risks. The biggest risk is the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ that could throw the US economy into recession if Congress does not change the law that forces automatic large spending cuts in early 2013. 

11.04am: Markets appear to the settling at about 0.2 per cent lower.

10.58am: Commonwealth Securities market analyst Juliana Roadley said waning euro zone confidence had affected sentiment and was contributing to a weaker opening for Australian stocks.

‘‘We just had more concern with Europe and how long it’s going to take to get their house in order,’’ she said.

Ms Roadley said investors were also trading conservatively and ‘‘booking squaring’’ as September drew to a close. ‘‘There’s more of a defensive play going on,’’ she said.

10.54am: Leighton Holdings is looking to sell its phone and internet infrastructure assets. Leighton owns three telecommunications companies that have their own cable and data networks - Nextgen Networks, Metronode and Infoplex.

Chief executive Hamish Tyrwhitt says after a review of those assets, Leighton intends to explore the potential sale of each. He says a number of unsolicited inquiries about those businesses have already been received.

Leighton shares are trading in line with the general market - down 0.2 per cent to $16.45.

10.50am: The big banks are well ahead of the general market in early trade:

  • CBA is 0.36% higher to $55.28
  • ANZ is 0.28% lower to $24.63
  • NAB is 0.24% higher to $25.56
  • Westpac is 0.47% higher to $24.69

10.45am: The big miners are down following a weak performance on Wall Street overnight and another dip in the iron ore price:

  • BHP is 0.63% lower to $33.20
  • Rio is 1.47% lower to $54.16
  • Fortescue is 1.1% lower to $3.56

10.40am: Some of the morning's gainers on the ASX200:

  • Linc Energy: +2.84%
  • FKP Property: +2.8%
  • BlueScope Steel: +2.56%
  • Buru Energy: +2.41%
  • SMS Management & Technology: +2.17%
  • Resmed: +1.86%

10.33am: Here's some more from the Gunns statement:

The company is disappointed that it will not be able to pursue the restructuring transaction, which it considers would have delivered a better outcome for the people who have a stake in the company’s past and future.

The company is very grateful to all those people, especially employees, past and present, who worked hard to support the company’s strategy.

This is a disappointment for them and those associated with the restructure of Gunns business to a plantation-based manufacturing industry in Tasmania.

10.30am: BREAKING Woodchipper Gunns is appointing a voluntary administrator after failing to secure funds to keep the company running.

Gunns had been in talks with lenders seeking support for its plans for a capital raising or restructure, but those lenders have now told the company they will not provide further funds, Gunns said on Tuesday.

‘‘As a result, the company is unable to continue trading and the directors are in the process of appointing an administrator,’’ the Gunns said in a statement.

More as it comes to hand.

10.25am: Now for the worst-performed companies on the ASX200:

  • Whitehaven: -3.6%
  • Arrium: -3.45%
  • Intrepid Mines: -3.3%
  • Nufarm: -3.29%
  • Drillsearch: -3.18%

10.21am: Nathan Tinkler is back in the news today. Blackwood Corporation is seeking to appoint liquidators to a company owned by high profile businessman after it failed to pay the coal developer for a share deal.

Blackwood granted Mr Tinkler's company Mulsanne Resources more than 94 million of its shares in July in a deal worth $28.4 million.

But Mulsanne has failed to make its payment for the shares, and in August Blackwood said it would exercise its legal rights against Mulsanne.

Blackwood said it had applied to a court to wind up Mulsanne, and was seeking to appoint a liquidator in order to recover the money it is owed for the share deal. More here.

10.18am: Looking now at the sub indices on the ASX200, defensives are up and resources are down:

  • Telecoms: +0.28%
  • Health: +0.2%
  • Utilities: +0.05
  • Materials: -0.77%
  • Energy: -0.65%
  • Info tech: -0.55%
  • Industrials: -0.25%

10.12am: In early trade, the All Ordinaries index is 14.4 points lower, or 0.3 per cent, to 4394.8, while the benchmark S&P/ASX200 is 14 points lower, or 0.3 per cent, to 4371.5.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was down 19  points at 4379, with 6,586 contracts traded.

10.06am: Early take - shares down as markets open. The ASX has opened a bit more than 0.1 per cent lower.

9.57am: Australian bond futures prices are higher following news that business confidence in Germany has fallen to its lowest level in more than two years.

At 8.30am AEST, the December 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.905 (implying a yield of 3.095 per cent), up from 96.865 (3.135 per cent) on Monday. The December three-year bond futures contract was at 97.500 (2.500 per cent), up from 97.470 (2.530 per cent).

9.54am: And here's another yarn from this morning which has struck a chord. Hundreds of comments, many of them indignant: The grey economy: how retirees rort the pension.

9.51am: For anyone following the (dwindling) fortunes of Facebook, its shares plunged nearly 11 per cent overnight after an influential markets publication slashed its valuation of the stock, but investors continued to embrace Google after its shares stepped higher to a new record.

Facebook shares dropped as low $US20.36, sharply down from Friday's close of $US22.86, before paring losses in afternoon trade.

The fall came after Barron's, the markets-focused newspaper and website, published a story saying the world's largest online social networking company was still sharply overvalued despite trading at just over half of its initial price.

"Facebook's 40 per cent plunge from its initial public offering price of $US38 in May has millions of investors asking a single question: Is the stock a buy?" Barron's said.

"The short answer is 'No.' What are the shares worth? Perhaps only $US15," Barron's said, adding that even at that level they are "no bargain." Full story.

9.45am: Here are some analyst rating changes for today:

  • Gindalbie Metals cut to 'underperform' at RBC Capital
  • Premier Investments raised to 'neutral' at Credit Suisse
  • Premier Investments raised to 'buy' at UBS
  • Newcrest Mining cut to 'neutral' at JPMorgan

9.42am: Commodities were weaker overnight. Gold and oil were down, and China iron ore slipped for the fourth consecutive day. It lost $US2.70 to $US103.70 and is now down from close to $US110 just a week ago. BHP also slipped in US trade, losing 0.81%, while Rio gave up $US2.45.

9.39amFor a comprehensive look at this morning’s business news, check today’s need2know. Here are this morning’s key market links:

  • SPI futures are 2 points lower at 4396
  • The $A is higher at $US1.0423
  • In the US, the S&P500 fell 0.22% to 1456.89
  • In Europe, the FTSE100 fell 0.24% to 5838.84
  • China iron ore lost $US2.70 to $US103.70 a metric tonne
  • Gold fell $11.60 to $US1766.40 an ounce
  • WTI crude oil fell 86 cents to $US92.03 a barrel
  • Reuters/Jefferies CRB index fell 1% to 305.93

9.36am: Stocks look set for a soft start after offshore markets were down thanks to some doubts coming from Europe. We've introduced this blog with that line more times in recent months than this blogger can remember. In today's case, investors were rattled by sliding business confidence in the eurozone's economic engine, Germany.

You can read more about it here, but in a nutshell the Ifo institute said its closely watched survey of the business climate in Germany dropped unexpectedly in September for the fifth month running to 101.4 points from 102.3 points in August. It led to warnings from economists that Germany could slip into recession.

9.33am: Good morning all. Welcome to the Markets Live blog for Tuesday.

Contributors: Thomas Hunter, Peter Litras, Jens Meyer, Max Mason

This blog is not intended as investment advice

BusinessDay with agencies


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