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Wall Street Rally Ended
Wall Street Rally Ended
Sydney, Mar 17, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Wall Street's rally came to an end on Monday. The market ended slightly lower on refreshed worries over the health of financial firms.

Yesterday the Australian market closed marginally higher as financial stocks surged. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 0.1%, or 3.2 points at 3348.4, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 0.1%, or 2.6 points, at 3297.3. Australian shares may receive support from the stronger copper and oil prices, despite the falls on Wall Street.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released figures on lending finance for January. The result showed that the value of personal finance issued in January rose 1.4% after seasonal adjustment from December to A$6.49 billion. Commercial finance rose 6.5% in January in seasonally adjusted terms from December to A$31.03 billion. Lease finance fell 17% in seasonally adjusted terms in January to A$443 million.

Today the Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes of March board meeting.

M&A News

It is speculated that Canadian media group CanWest Global Communications (TSE:CGS) is seeking A390 million fund raising by sale of its 56.6 per cent holding in Ten Network (ASX:TEN) to five to six investors. Canwest declined to comment and said the company remained focused on operating its businesses.

Infrastructure group Asciano (ASX:AIO) plans to raise over A$1 billion to pay down debt. The company said it is considering buyout offers for all of its assets after a plan to sell a half-stake in its coal-haulage division failed to attract sufficient interest.

Important Corporate News

Investment bank Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) has created a new lending unit, which will be headed by Ben Brazil, to use part of the A$13 billion raised in the past three months from the sovereign guarantee.

OZ Minerals Ltd. (ASX:OZL) said it is in talks with its lenders for further bridging finance to cover any cash requirements that may arise during the bid period for the A$2.6 billion takeover offer from China Minmetals Nonferrous Metals Co.

Virgin Blue (ASX:VBA) said domestic passenger numbers for January 2009 increased by 7.4% over the previous year. International passenger numbers for January increased by 33.4% over the previous year.

Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) has reported A$49.18 million in first half net profit, up from A$21.1 million in the previous corresponding period. The company maintained its guidance for the full year.

AXA Asia Pacific (ASX:AXA) said it will raise A$500 million through an institutional placement at A$2.85 per share.


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

Related Companies

Virgin Blue Holdings Limited        
Ten Network Holdings Limited        
Premier Investments Limited        
Oz Minerals Limited          
Macquarie Group Limited        
CanWest Global Communications Corp.        
AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Limited        
Asciano Group          

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