OZ EQUITIES UPDATE

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    This morning's commentary by OZ EQUITIES (the headings are mine):


    HOW WILL THE ASX FARE TODAY?:

    The ASX200 is likely to close down about 28 points, said a senior futures dealer, following the US market lower.


    COMMODITIES:

    The LME was closed for the Queen's Jubilee holiday, gold was fractionally higher, oil was weaker, the $A is at 57.09US c, up about 40 points from last evening.
    June 4. Good morning.


    MARKET INDICATORS:

    *The Reserve Bank board meeting today is thought likely to lift interest rates by 25 basis points, probably to be announced tomorrow.

    *First quarter earnings in the US fell 11.5%, better than expectations by 3%. While an improvement in earnings is seen as assured in the second quarter, how strong it will be remains in question.

    Analysts have pushed out hopes for a strong recovery to the third and fourth quarters, estimating on average that the S&P 500 companies will see earnings growth of 26.9% in the third quarter and 39.6% in the fourth quarter.

    *The US currency was weaker against major currencies, including the Canadian dollar although that had fallen against other currencies on the news late Sunday of the surprise dismissal of respected finance minister Paul Martin by Prime Minister Jean Chretien who appointed Dy Prime Minister John Manley to the post. Mr Martin, credited with hauling Canada back onto a sound fiscal path, was mounting an open campaign to succeed the Prime Minister as Liberal Party leader.

    *While US eco numbers were stronger than expected last night, rising fears of corporate fraud punished US stocks.

    The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of bolstering the powers of securities regulators to police fraud by stockbrokers.


    USA ECONOMIC NEWS:

    In US eco news, the Institute for Supply Management (formerly NAPM) reported the overall manufacturing sector index for May rose to 55.7% from 53.9% in April and the fastest pace in more than two years.
    The Commerce Department reported construction spending rose 0.2% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $871.9 bn. March spending was revised to down 1.2% vs down 0.9% reported earlier.
    Residential spending rose 0.7% to a record $425.5bn pace in April. Sales of new and existing homes both posted strong gains in April.


    OVERSEAS EQUITY NEWS:

    *Tyco fell $5.90 to $16.05 after chairman and ceo Dennis Kozlowski was forced to resign because of a criminal investigation into possible sales tax evasion on his personal acquisitions of art works.

    *El Paso fell $3.70 to $5.92 on news that treasurer Charles Dana Rice had committed suicide.

    *Sales for both GM and Ford fell 12% in May, however GM raised its profit forecasts for the second quarter and full year. Chrysler sales rose 4%.

    *In Europe, DaimlerChrysler fell 0.1% to Euro 52.50 after CEO Juergen Schrempp told a German newspaper that demand for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class had outpaced production.

    *Alcoa announced its Southern Graphic Systems digital imaging and communications business has acquired Colorbrite Inc, a leading provider of pre-press and flexographic plate4s.

    *Napster has filed for bankruptcy protection, in an effort to relaunch its popular service.


 
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