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Sydney, Jan 14, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight the US stocks closed mixed as worries about the earnings of General Electric and some other corporate weighed on the market, but Citigroup's refocus its business turned around the financial sector.

Yesterday the Australian share market ended lower, led by energy and mining stocks and a fall on a dismal earnings season in the US. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.8%, or 28.7 points, at 3654.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index slid 0.8%, or 30.1 points, to 3593.9. After some rise at the start of the year, the market may see more volatility due to the renewed bleak global outlook.

The Aussie dollar has opened lower after figures which showed a sharp drop in the US trade deficit prompted US dollar buying. At 07.00am (AEDT), the Australian dollar was trading at $US0.6624/29, down from Tuesday's close of $US0.6744/49.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, getting a modest lift from a US cold wave, following hefty losses stemming from concerns about weak energy demand amid the global economic downturn. Light, sweet crude for February delivery fell 62 US cents to $US36.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after hitting a low of $US36.10 earlier in the session.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

Wayne Swan said yesterday the Government was determined to do all it could to strengthen the economy in the face of the international crisis. Rudd government considers options for a second emergency package. A tax cut of A$3.4 billion is locked in from July 1 and it is possible the Government may bring forward a further A$4.5 billion in tax cuts presently planned for the middle of next year.

The OECD warned yesterday of a "deep slowdown" in all major industrial economies and most of the emerging economies, including China. The last official forecasts from the International Monetary Fund had predicted China would continue to record strong growth, while the world economy was tipped to grow 2.2 per cent this year. However, estimates are being revised sharply lower.

Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to publish Housing Finance Data for November.

M&A News

Zinc producer CBH Resources(ASX:CBH) has approached the Takeovers Panel claiming Perilya's (ASX:PEM)planned transaction with China's Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan(SHE:000060) is unacceptable and anti-competitive.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (ASX:NCM) is believed to be one of the parties interested in purchasing OZ Minerals's(ASX:OZL) Martabe project in Indonesia, as OZ Mineral seeks to refinance by asset sale.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd(ASX:ANZ) has strengthened its interest in the key growth market of Indonesia, acquiring a further 8.4% in PT Panin Bank for $US114 million, increasing its interest to 38.3%.

Important Corporate News

Alumina(ASX:AWC) will book a A$40 million charge on its 2008 full year earnings after Alcoa Inc wrote down expenditure relating to the Alcoa World Alumina & Chemicals (AWAC) business Alumina and Alcoa have shelved the A$1.8 billion expansion of the Jamaica refinery.

Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) announced this week the final results of a Definitive Feasibility Study for its Mt Cattlin Lithium Tantalum project. In view of the positive outcome of the DFS, Galaxy will now proceed with the development of the lithium project.

Wesfarmers(ASX:WES) expects first half 2008/09 net profit to be between A$850 million to A$880 million, after about $150 million in pre tax provisions and write-downs in the values of some investments.

As a result of the strategic alliance between Golden Cross Resources Ltd (ASX:GCR) and HQ Mining Resources Holding Pty Ltd, an investment vehicle of China United Mining Investment Co. Ltd (CUMIC), the board of Gold Cross met to implement board changes and two non-executive directors were appointed to the company.

Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) reported a conditional approval of up to US$1.2 Billion from the China Development Bank (CDB) for the Karara Iron Ore Project Loan. CDB is one of the most important and largest banks in China which has funded a number of major infrastructure projects in China including the Three Gorges Dam, railways, roads and Beijing's new airport.


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

Related Companies

Wesfarmers Limited        
Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet Com.        
Perilya Limited          
Oz Minerals Limited          
Newcrest Mining Limited        
Golden Cross Resources Ltd          
Gindalbie Metals Ltd             
Galaxy Resources Limited        
CBH Resources Limited        
Australia and New Zealand Banking Corporation        
Alumina Limited       

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