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Emergent Resources (ASX:EMG) placed its shares in a trading halt last night pending the release of a
Emergent Resources (ASX:EMG) placed its shares in a trading halt last night pending the release of a "significant agreement that is material to the company"

Sydney, July 2, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Wall Street overnight rose on an encouraging report showing signs of improvement in the US manufacturing sector in June, despite another survey indicated the labour market is still weak. The purchasing managers (PMI) index increased to 44.8 per cent from 42.8 per cent in May, suggesting that the worst of the manufacturing contraction has passed.

The Australian shares yesterday started the new financial year with a significant fall led by financial and resources stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost 80.9 points, or 2.05 per cent, to 3874 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 75.5 points, or 1.91 per cent lower, at 3872.3 points.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) skilled vacancies index in June shows that number of skilled job vacancies dropped 3.7 per cent from May. The index was now 35.5 points, 61.5 per cent lower than in June 2008.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) said in its preliminary estimates that Australia's non-farm gross domestic product grew by 0.25 per cent last fiscal year, with farm sector GDP growing 13 per cent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today releases international trade in goods and services data and manufacturing production data, both for May.

M&A News

MacarthurCook (ASX:MCK) and AIMS Securities Holdings have reached agreement in relation to the AIMS bid for MacarthurCook. AIMS has increased its offer by a further 8 cents to A$0.43 per share. The board of MacarthurCook intends to unanimously recommend the new bid in an absence of a higher bid.

Drilling services company Boart Longyear (ASX:BLY) sold some of its African manufacturing operations to a South African investment company for an undisclosed sum. Boart would book a one-off charge of about $US3 million related to the sale in the first half, primarily due to foreign exchange losses.

Important Corporate News

Valad Property Group (ASX:VPG) said the company will contribute the majority of its European and U.K. assets and associated debt to form a joint venture with Bank of Scotland plc. Valad said any profit from the joint venture would be used to pay back debt. It had contributed property assets worth A$469 million, liabilities of A$761 million and net equity in joint ventures and investments of A$382 million.

Emergent Resources (ASX:EMG) placed its shares in a trading halt last night pending the release of a "significant agreement that is material to the company". The miner was likely close to securing a Chinese partner for its Beyondie magnetite project.

Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (ASX:HDF) has stopped the sale of its Epic gas pipeline two weeks after the infrastructure manager received bids. Instead, Hastings plans to raise A$250 million in new shares to cover debt and future security payments.

Health insurer NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF) says its policy-holders increased by 5.17 per cent during fiscal 2009, with much of the growth coming late in the year. The growth rate was better than NIB's forecast of "slightly better than 4 per cent''.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) has scrapped its retail shareholder benefits package, due to increasing administration costs and very low take-up of the benefits on offer.

Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) says the UK leg of a $US15.2 billion capital raising has been successful, with investors taking 96.97 per cent of the new London listed shares on offer. Chinalco confirmed that it has taken up all of its allocation of rights in Rio Tinto's capital raising and will maintain its position as the miner's biggest shareholder.


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

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