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Sydney, Feb 9, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Wall Street rose 2.7 per cent last Friday despite bleak unemployment figures. The market was on hope of a $US780 billion stimulus package likely to be approved by Congress.

The Australian share market ended last week with 1% higher led by the overseas markets. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index surged 41.3 points, or 1.2%, to 3469.9 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed with 34.9 points higher, or 1%, settled at 3407.5.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

Goldman Sachs JBWere predicts the Government may need another A$9 billion of stimulus measures on top of last week's A$42 billion package to bolster the economy.

TD Securities says the Australian recession is likely to be more severe than in the US and predicts 50 basis points rate cut by RBA next month. The official rate is expected to drop to 2 percent by June.

Today the ANZ Banking Group will release its job advertisements survey for January.

M&A News

Lion Nathan (ASX:LNN), backed by Japanese brewer Kirin (TYO:2503), has formally withdrawn the A$8 billion plan to acquire Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) as The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), CCA's parent company, could not agree on satisfactory terms with Kirin.

Cape Lambert Iron Ore (ASX:CFE) has acquired the secured debt owed by copper miner CopperCo, which went into receivership in November, for approximately S$72 million. Cape Lambert said the acquisition was "relatively low-risk" and it was confident of securing a return on the investment.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is rumoured to be considering a possible asset sale to Japan's Mitsui & Co. (TYO:8031)(NASDAQ:MITSY) It is said that the deal is one of a number of options for Rio to reduce its debt caused by the acquisition of Alcan Inc.

Important Corporate News

Investment group Babcock & Brown (ASX:BNB) has reached an agreement with its lenders over debt repayments and a revised business plan. B&B has to sell assets over a two to three year time and restructure the existing debt facilities, the company said this evening.

Suncorp Metway (ASX:SUN) will this week brief an executive search to replace its resigned chief executive John Mulcahy. The board of the company is considering recruiting an outsider with insurance experience and demerging the lending business.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) has already released likely first-half profit figures, which were better than had been expected, taking much of the suspense out of its results announcement this week.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) said its first-half net profit could be down by more than 15% year-to-year after taking into account provisions and credit risk on derivatives.

Rio Tinto non-executive director Jim Leng has quit the board and will not move into the chairman's role as planned.

Contact

Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344
Email: michelle.liang@abnnewswire.net


Related Companies

The Coca-Cola Company        
Suncorp Group Limited         
Rio Tinto Limited          
Mitsui and Co., Ltd          
Lion Nathan Limited        
Kirin Holdings Company, Limited.        
Commonwealth Bank of Australia        
Coca-cola Amatil Limited        
Cape Lambert Resources Limited          
Babcock & Brown Limited        
Australia and New Zealand Banking Corporation        

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