Sydney, Nov 4, 2008 AEST (ABN Newswire) - US stocks closed virtually flat in quiet trading overnight, with investors cautious a day ahead of voting for president and Congress as fresh data underscored economic worries.

Yesterday the Australian share market closed about 5% higher on its first trading day of November with good lead from Wall Street on last Friday and the expectation of another RBA interest rate cut. It was the share markets' fourth consecutive stronger day adding A$51 billion to the value of stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index jumped 5%, or 203.5 points, to close at 4221.5, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 4.8%, or 190.3 points, to close at 4173.

The Australian dollar has opened marginally lower as European officials said the 15-member zone was in a shallow recession, which boosted demand for the US currency. At 0700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at $US0.6806/10, from yesterday's close of $US0.6823/28.

Oil prices have nose-dived as fresh signs show that slowing economies in the European Union and the United States will hurt the energy demand. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December delivery, dropped $US3.90 a barrel from Friday to close at $US63.91.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The official interest rate is expected to fall today for the third consecutive month. Economists are tipping a cut of half a percentage point cut today. That would take the official rate to 5.5 per cent, its lowest level since May 2006.

Estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show prices for established homes have fallen an average of 1.8 per cent in the September quarter. Figures released by the Department of Treasury and Finance, show the Government has suffered a substantial drop in revenue from stamp duty on property sales for the month of August.

M&A News

Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group (ASX:BBI) has sold 50 per cent of its stake in the New Zealand operations of its Powerco subsidiary to Australian investment manager Queensland Investment Corporation. BBI said it would raise around $NZ400 million from the sale, which it would use to retire debt and fund organic growth opportunities across BBI's international portfolio.

Mount Gibson(ASX:MGX) said Shougang Concord International Enterprises(HKG:0697) had agreed to subscribe to the company's new shares and to underwrite a further rights issue together with sister company Apac Resources(HKG:1104). That would raise a total of A$162.5 million, the Perth-based company said yesterday in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange. After the deal, Shougang International's stake in Mount Gibson would range from 10.23 per cent to 14.43 per cent. Together with Apac Resources, it would own 28.6 to 40.5 per cent, depending on how many rights shares were taken up.

Seven Network(ASX:SEV) is believed to be considering using its A$1.2 billion in spare cash to expand into radio and outdoor advertising by buying 39.1% stake in APN News & Media(ASX:APN), as APN's owner Independent News & Media is to exit the business.

Gindalbie Metals(ASX:GBG) said last night its Chinese joint venture partner, Anshan Iron & Steel Group (Ansteel), wanted to "accelerate" development of their A$1.8 billion Karara magnetite project. Gindalbie and Ansteel executives are expected to spend the next few days negotiating a revised financing program that will result in Ansteel emerging as the controlling shareholder in the Mid-West iron ore hopeful.

Hong Kong's Crosby Capital has terminated its A$168 million takeover bid for Medusa Mining(ASX:MML) blaming a slump in the gold price and on the sharemarket as well as an unhelpful Medusa Mining board for its decision to walk away from a A$168 million bid for the gold junior.

Important Corporate News

Victorian-based plastics and automotive products group Nylex(ASX:NLX) yesterday advised it was reappraising its earnings guidance of A$5 million EBIT for fiscal 2009 in the wake of production cutbacks and a depreciating local currency.

Travel agent Flight Centre(ASX:FLT) expects lower first half earnings and says it will be hard to achieve its targeted full year pre-tax profit growth, with losses incurred by its United States travel business, Liberty Travel.

1. Related Stocks - Mid Market (AEST 1330)
Code     % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High

ASX:BBI   +18.6   13,075,132 $3,354,090    24      27
ASX:MGX   -3.79   12,702,249 $4,952,292    37      41
ASX:SEV   -5.21   268,986    $1,524,860    552     599
ASX:APN   +3.69   609,823    $1,893,742    300     321
ASX:MML   +10.76  28,300     $19,126       65      72
ASX:NLX           275,206    $27,521       10      10
ASX:FLT   -7.69   316,475    $3,805,472    1180    1280
2. Top 10 ASX on Turnover - Mid Market ((AEST 1330)
Code     % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High
ASX:BHP   -3.71   4,346,031  $128,887,684  2856    2922
ASX:WBC   +3.16   4,652,985  $102,228,109  2162    2218
ASX:ANZ   +1.35   4,112,529  $76,309,834   1820    1880
ASX:RIO   -3.21   717,303    $66,716,272   7876    8028
ASX:NAB   +.99    2,410,453  $60,563,237   2487    2540
ASX:CBA   -.52    1,274,338  $53,028,422   4135    4178
ASX:WOW   -2.26   1,204,868  $34,817,370   2865    2900
ASX:TLS   -1.42   8,202,942  $33,947,477   410     419
ASX:QGC           5,885,534  $33,845,331   575     576


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

Related Companies

Ten Sixty Four Limited        
Shougang Group       
Shougang Concord International Enterprise Co.        
Seven Network Limited         
Nylex Limited        
Mount Gibson Iron Limited          
Gindalbie Metals Ltd             
Flight Centre Travel Group Limited        
Babcock and Brown Infrastructure Group         
Apac Resources Limited       

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