Sydney, Nov 18, 2008 AEST (ABN Newswire) - US stocks tumbled with Dow down 231.06 points after the G20 weekend economic summit failed to calm investor fears and global recession worries intensified. Trading remained nervous as markets reacted to news that Japan could not be immune to recession and more forecasts said the US economy was likely headed for the same fate.

On Monday, the Australian share market fell to a four-year low as investors remained concerned about the continuing gloomy economic outlook. The big miners and the banks led the market lower, and all sectors were down. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 95.1 points, or 2.54 per cent, at 3,653, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 86.5 points, or 2.32 per cent, to 3639.5. Analysts said the market was oversold on fundamentals, but more softened half-year results would be expected in recent days.

At 0829 AEDT, the December Share Price Index futures contract on the Sydney Futures Exchange was down 98 points at 3,598.

The Australian dollar opened firmer today as the weakest US manufacturing survey result in seven years dented the US currency. At 0700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at $US0.6551/56, up one US cent, or 1.5 per cent, from Monday's close of $US0.6450/58.

Oil prices have plunged almost two-thirds since striking record highs of above $US147 as a global economic slowdown dents world energy demand. In Monday trade, light sweet crude for delivery in December fell $2.09 cents to $US$54.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Australian retail trade in volume terms rose 0.1 per cent in the September quarter to A$53.104 billion, seasonally adjusted. Economists surveyed ahead of the announcement on average had expected a 0.5% rise in sales for the third quarter.

Almost 80 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Australian Industry Group and American Express said they would increase pressure on business customers with outstanding debts. Cutting or delaying spending was the next most common response to the deteriorating environment.

Today the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) releases minutes of its November 4 board meeting. The Australian Office of Financial Management announces details of Treasury bond tender. The Housing Industry Association will issue its state and national outlook for the September quarter. The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases international merchandise imports data for October and the Melbourne Institute issues its quarterly wages report.

M&A News

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.(ASX:FMG) Monday denied the rumour that it is in talks with China Investment Corp., or CIC, and said it is not seeking to raise any additional capital for its iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The company says the media report is quite wrong.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company(NYSE:KO) has rejected an A$8 billion dollar takeover bid by local brewer Lion Nathan(ASX:LNN) for Australia's largest soft-drink maker Coca-Cola Amatil(ASX:CCL).

Important Corporate News

Nexus Energy Ltd(ASX:NXS) has been granted a large exploration permit in the Browse Basin offshore Western Australia that it says has proven oil and gas potential. The company said it planned to continue its strategy of acquiring large equity interests in projects then securing funding through the sale of stakes to other oil and gas firms.

OneSteel(ASX:OST), Australia's second-largest steel maker, says it is pushing ahead with plans to increase iron ore exports despite concerns it may be unable to sell all of its ore output this year. The company has flagged a cut to production as demand weakens amid the global financial crisis.

Macquarie Group Ltd's(ASX:MQG) first-half net profit declined 43 per cent as it was hurt by the turmoil in global financial markets. Net profit for the six months to September 30 fell to A$604 million from A$1.06 billion the year before. Macquarie said it expected second-half profit to be broadly in line with the first half result.

Austock Group Ltd(ASX:ACK) says its credit exposure to the financially troubled ABC Learning Centres Ltd(ASX:ABS) is about A$4.4 million. The company said that about A$3.2 million relates to unpaid fees for advice by Austock Corporate Finance Pty Ltd in relation to the sale of ABC's US business in June this year. Another A$1.2 million was owed for property services rendered by Austock Property Services Pty Ltd since July 1, 2008.

1. Related Stocks - Mid Market (AEST 1230)
Code   % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High
ASX:FMG  -.53    3,123,699   $5,868,905   183   194
ASX:LNN  -2.65   795,292     $6,673,798   829   850
ASX:CCL  -1.07   907,224     $8,508,087   919   958
ASX:NXS  +1.8    1,608,656   $908,652     55    60
ASX:OST  -.67    966,144     $2,993,003   291   309
ASX:MQG  +16.74  2,408,441   $56,758,010  2156  2603
ASX:ACK  -5.26   10,000      $1,860       18    19
2. Top 10 ASX on Turnover - Mid Market (AEST 1230)
Code   % Change   Volume     Turnover      Low  High
ASX:QGC  -.17    49,380,556  $283,938,238 575   576
ASX:BHP  -.35    6,250,999   $160,079,308 2445  2528
ASX:WBC  -.85    8,618,847   $143,146,429 1600  1696
ASX:CBA  -2.48   4,361,099   $141,296,226 3013  3264
ASX:NAB  -.05    6,883,989   $133,116,268 1879  1944
ASX:ANZ  +.37    7,676,877   $104,373,120 1285  1375
ASX:RIO  -2.24   1,122,415   $83,163,040  7126  7234
ASX:MQG  +16.74  2,411,691   $56,836,232  2156  2603
ASX:WOW  -4.37   1,821,426   $49,870,418  2657  2763
ASX:TLS  -1.41   11,433,652  $47,963,477  416   424


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

Related Companies

The Coca-Cola Company        
OneSteel Limited          
Nexus Energy Limited        
Macquarie Group Limited        
Lion Nathan Limited        
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd          
Coca-cola Amatil Limited        
Austock Group Limited       
A.B.C. Learning Centres Limited        

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