Sydney, Dec 9, 2008 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight Wall Street ignored the news of more job cuts and bankruptcy filing and gained on optimism that Barack Obama's plan for a huge infrastructure spending package will help boost the US economy. Asia market also surged on the positive lead from the US market.

On Monday, the Australian share market closed around four per cent higher, boosted by gains in the financial and resources sector and a rally on United States markets on Friday. Meanwhile, bargain hunters took the buying opportunity to snap cheap stocks. Energy sector was also pushed up by the higher oil price as well as the Santos takeover talks. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 141.7 points, or 4.06 per cent, to 3,631.6, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 126.6 points, or 3.69 per cent, at 3,553.8. The news a short-term rescue package for the US carmakers expected to be unveiled may strengthen the market sentiment today. Resource stocks would also gain after commodity prices advanced.

At 0827 AEDT on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the December Share Price Index futures contract was up 97 points at 3,740.

The Australian dollar opened more than two per cent firmer as US authorities' plans to boost their stricken economy lifted demand for risk sensitive assets. At 0700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at $US0.6673/77, up 2.14 per cent from Monday's close of $US0.6532/37.

Oil prices rebounded on Monday driven by expectations the OPEC oil producers' cartel could slash its output later this month. Light sweet crude for January rallied $US2.91 to $US43.72 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

ANZ survey says job advertisements on the internet and in newspapers fell for the seventh consecutive month in November to a near two-year low as the global financial crisis impacted the labour market. The survey found total job ads fell 8.6 per cent, seasonally adjusted, in November, following a 5.9 per cent dip in October. Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for November is due out on Thursday, with economists expecting the jobless rate to jump to 4.5 per cent from a present 4.3 per cent.

The Deloitte mortgage report says total outstanding mortgage lending across Australia continues to grow annually at around 10 per cent, despite volatile economic conditions. But settlements are subdued, down more than 20 per cent to less than $20 billion a month since September 2007.

Today National Australia Bank releases its business survey for November.

M&A News

Private investment and advisory firm Wingate Group has bought two thirds of Babcock & Brown Ltd's(ASX:BNB) stake in Everest Babcock & Brown Ltd(ASX:EBB). Wingate took 19.9 per cent of the listed investment manager, or 50 million shares, for about A$2 million.

It is said that Chinese smelter Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet(SHE:000060) will buy control of Australian zinc miner Perilya Ltd(ASX:PEM) , taking advantage of tumbling market values to secure supply. Shenzhen Zhongjin has agreed to spend almost A$45 million for a controlling stake in Perilya.
Important Corporate News

Westpac(ASX:WBC) is set to raise A$2.5 billion from a placement of shares to institutional investors. The bank says the capital raising will further increase Westpac's resources, enhance its balance sheet flexibility and will position the organisation to capture organic growth opportunities.

Apparel company Pacific Brands Ltd(ASX:PBG) has cut its full year dividend by about 65 per cent to support its business in the current soft economic environment and pay down debt. Pacific Brands plans to pay shareholders a first half dividend of three cents a share, and a similar amount in the second half.

Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd(ASX:HVN) says written sales for the four weeks that ended on Sunday rose by 1.2 per cent, compared to the same period in 2007. But the company also says the retail margins continue to be under pressure.
Sonic Healthcare Ltd (ASX:SHL) said it had completed debt refinancing in the present climate. The A$500 million debt facility had been due to expire on March 15, 2009.

1. Related Stocks - Mid Market (AEST 1230)
Code   % Change   Volume     Turnover  Low   High
ASX:BNB +6.06 12,222,884 $2,295,837   17   20
ASX:PEM +20   3,250,721  $591,390     17   20
ASX:PBG -5.12 1,796,358  $1,011,457   55   58.5
ASX:EBB       2,312,935  $120,917     5    6
ASX:HVN -4.52 1,242,474  $2,935,439   226  245
ASX:SHL -3.3  489,445    $6,343,706   1276 1334
2. Top 10 ASX on Turnover - Mid Market (AEST 1230)
Code   % Change   Volume     Turnover  Low   High
ASX:BHP +4.18 12,021,298 $351,983,805 2815 2893
ASX:CBA -7.56 6,029,057  $185,567,039 3000 3100
ASX:RIO +2.55 4,014,233  $142,979,980 3236 3435
ASX:ANZ -2.94 6,595,676  $100,369,753 1442 1475
ASX:NAB -4.62 3,675,913  $78,553,064  1992 2058
ASX:TLS -2.36 13,261,068 $54,941,966  411  420
ASX:NCM +5.34 1,705,939  $46,019,244  2630 2790
ASX:QBE -5.34 1,435,519  $35,688,750  2433 2554
ASX:WDC -6.03 2,652,949  $34,872,511  1288 1361
ASX:WPL -2.42 829,607    $28,487,941  3205 3383
ASX:MQG -.16  818,633    $27,364,818  2970 3105


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

Related Companies

Westpac Banking Corp        
Sonic Healthcare Limited        
Perilya Limited          
Pacific Brands Limited          
Harvey Norman Holdings Limited        
Babcock & Brown Limited        

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