Sydney, Nov 11, 2008 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight Wall Street closed marginally weaker after economic and corporate worries wiped out an opening rally on China's four trillion yuan economic stimulus package and a bigger US record bailout of insurer AIG.

Yesterday the Australia share market was buoyed on hope that China's economic stimulus plan would increase demand for resources. Mining and energy sectors rose on the news. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 56.5 points, or 1.4%, at 4,107.8 while the broader All Ordinaries index had advanced 53.4 points, or 1.3%, to 4,060.

In recent trading the share price index futures were down 108 points at 3990.

The Australian dollar has opened lower, as more poor economic data dampened Wall Street. At 0700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at $US0.6680/84, down 1.68 US cents, or 2.45 per cent, from yesterday's close of $US0.6848/52.

Oil prices jumped to nearly $US63 a barrel Monday as world stock markets rallied on news of a massive Chinese economic stimulus plan that could underpin demand for crude. Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose $US1.37 to $US62.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The Reserve Bank's quarterly reviews released yesterday expects growth this year will slow to 1.5 per cent, with its outlook on jobs suggesting the rate of unemployment will climb above 6 per cent.

Approvals for owner occupier home loans dropped 2.7 per cent in September to 47,435, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Monday. It was the eighth monthly fall in a row and the lowest commitments for home loans since February 2001. Economists call for a further official interest rate cut next month.

The SEEK employment index, which measures the online job advertised, fell for the 11th consecutive month in October, dropping 2.7 index points to 65.2 points. The index has slipped 37.6 per cent over the past 12 months.

M&A News

The board of Insurance Australia Group(ASX:IAG) is expected to face a protest vote at today's annual general meeting from investors angry about the rejection of a takeover offer from QBE Insurance Group(ASX:QBE). IAG reaffirmed its full-year profit outlook and said it is continuing discussions on a sale of some of its UK businesses.

Foster's Group Ltd(ASX:FGL) has shelved the option of selling its wine business because of global market conditions, a lack of buyers and the prospect of a big loss of shareholder value. Last week, North American brewer Molson Coors Brewing Co(NYSE:TAP) emerged as holder of a 5 percent interest in Foster's, sparking talk of a takeover bid.

Centro(ASX:CNP) is likely to accept even lower offers for two or three shopping centres ahead of the group's December 15 debt repayment deadline as the value dropped. Centro had previously agreed to offers almost 19 per cent below book value for shopping centres in Perth, Cairns and Victoria's western districts.

The private equity consortium Manhattan Software Bidco to take over accounting software company MYOB(ASX:MYO) believes it has acceptances for about 34 per cent of shares held by institutions. Manhattan Software Bidco said institutional shareholders indicated they would accept the A$1.0215 per share offer. MYOB has urged its shareholders "take no action".

Important Corporate News

Seven Network Ltd(ASX:SEV) said its first half pre-tax profit is likely to fall by about 50 per cent from the prior corresponding period. The guidance for the first half of 2008/09 is dependent on market conditions between now and the end of December.

Furniture and electrical retailer Harvey Norman Holding Ltd's(ASX:HVN) says sales at its stores during the most recent month declined 2.8 per cent and its margins continue to be under pressure. The sales decline, compared with the corresponding period last year, was for the 28 days to November 9.

1. Related Stocks - Mid Market (AEST 1300)
Code   % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High
ASX:IAG  -1.49   1,838,062   $7,260,741    393   400
ASX:FGL  -2.69   1,305,013   $7,593,718    575   590
ASX:QBE  -2.51   587,826     $16,027,910   2700  2800
ASX:CNP  -1.42   2,916,405   $203,165      6.8   7.1
ASX:MYO  +.47    25,487      $27,057       105   110
ASX:SEV  -1.98   135,683     $730,115      529   546
ASX:HVN  -1.73   591,337     $1,665,634    275   285
2. Top 10 ASX on Turnover - Mid Market (AEST 1300)
Code   % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High
ASX:NAB  -8.8    13,957,590  $291,773,993  1999  2078
ASX:CBA  -5.55   4,460,002   $162,678,285  3561  3720
ASX:BHP  -4.78   5,082,457   $149,405,189  2828  2952
ASX:WBC  -2.96   4,925,596   $95,428,399   1900  1980
ASX:ANZ  -1.32   4,522,471   $74,936,337   1550  1588
ASX:QGC          11,546,774  $66,394,114   575   576
ASX:AMP  -4.52   12,027,519  $65,584,020   522   545
ASX:GPT  -2.51   74,706,032  $65,052,791   93.5  102
ASX:GMG  +1.33   55,084,277  $56,695,841   102   115
ASX:WDC  +.21    3,007,152   $41,815,779   1355  1415
ASX:OZL  -6.79   8,704,115   $8,389,710    94.5  99


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

Related Companies

Seven Network Limited         
QBE Insurance Group Limited        
Myob Group Ltd       
Molson Coors       
Insurance Australia Group Limited        
Harvey Norman Holdings Limited        
Fosters Group Limited        
Centro Properties Group        

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