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Sydney, April 7, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight Wall Street plunged as investors expected the first-quarter corporate earnings would still be poor in the reporting season starting this week.

Australian shares closed higher yesterday with rises in most sectors despite resources stocks dragged the market down. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 gained 0.6%, or 21 points, at 3756.6, while the All Ordinaries index was up 0.6%, or 22.4 points, at 3696.4. Banking stocks were stronger ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate decision.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

ANZ Bank yesterday released job advertisements survey, which showed the number of positions available in newspapers and on the internet shed 8.6 per cent in March, taking the yearly fall to 44.6 per cent. ANZ estimated the jobless rate to hit 8 per cent next year from the current 5.2 per cent. The job market data is putting pressure on the RBA to cut the official rate further.

M&A News

Casino operator Crown Ltd (ASX:CWN) yesterday said it was not in talks with MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM) or Dubai World about making an investment in the City Centre development in Las Vegas.

Seven Network (ASX:SEV) may consider an opportunity to launch a takeover bid for Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ), as the publisher's shares are at historic lows, an analyst says. Seven had around A$1.4 billion in cash on hand as of December 2008, after selling some assets to Seven Media Group.

Important Corporate News

Seven Network's (ASX:SEV) chief executive, David Leckie, has sold 2.99 million of the 3.06 million shares he held in the broadcaster to Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) at fixed floor prices.

Building materials company Boral (ASX:BLD) said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange that the board had begun an executive search process to consider internal and external candidates to replace CEO and managing director Mr Pearse as his contract is to expire this year.

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) has teamed up with the State Bank of India (BOM:500112 ) and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) to raise capital for investment in ports, roads and power plants across the South Asian nation, with the launch of a $US1 billion joint-venture infrastructure investment fund.

Zinc miner CBH Resources (ASX:CBH) is said to be in talks with up to three Chinese groups about becoming a cornerstone investor. The funds would be used to develop CBH's Rasp zinc mine at Broken Hill in New South Wales.

Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) will adjust its production base in response to weak demand for its major products thus far in 2009. The company said most of the reduction in production will occur in the lower margin parts of Iluka's existing business and is consistent with actions incorporated in the current Iluka group five year plan.

Equinox Minerals Ltd (ASX:EQN) says it will make a public offering of common shares to raise $C160 million to strengthen its capital position, to evaluate and fund a project in Zambia.

Contact

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


Related Companies

State Bank of India        
Seven Network Limited         
MGM Mirage        
Macquarie Group Limited        
Iluka Resources Limited         
Fairfax Media Limited         
Equinox Minerals Limited       
Crown Resorts Ltd        
CBH Resources Limited        
Boral Limited        

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