A quiet market today as we await the FOMC results this evening. Odds for ‘Dectaper’ have increased dramatically as the US economy seems to be heading very positively in the right direction. Financials were as usual leading the market, this time their greenness was cancelled out by some red ness in Wesfarmers Limited (A$41.80, -1.8%) and Amcor Limited (A$10.25, – 9.8%)(as they spilt ).Other consumer stocks were also looking like bunnies in the spotlight following a shock from Wotif.com Holdings Limited (A$2.85, -31.8%).I mean the whole name is a shock! Anyway REA Group Ltd (A$36.00, -4.6%) continues to suffer as their CEO quit yesterday and their CFO is also out and about after quitting too in the last month. To paraphrase Mr Wilde to lose one senior manager is a misfortune but to lose two looks like carelessness. In the final countdown we closed down 7 points at just under 5100.Tomorrow is options expiry and Friday is US triple witching!
In resource land BHP Billiton Limited (A$35.79, +0.4%) firmed as did RIO Tinto Limited (A$65.33, +0.0%) and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (A$5.60, +1.4%) whilst Oz Minerals Limited (A$2.68, -6.9%) continues to plumb the depths as golds were wishy washy despite a takeover in the sector with Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (A$0.975, -3.0%),Newcrest Mining Limited (A$7.31, -0.4%),Silver Lake Resources Limited (A$0.40, -5.9%),Regis Resources Limited (A$2.88, -0.7%),Evolution Mining Limited (A$0.535, -1.8%) and others under the kosh.
Gamblers like Crown Limited (A$15.80, -1.7%) fell as did Tatts Group Limited (A$2.98, -2.3%),Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (A$4.25, -1.8%),Echo Entertainment Group Limited (A$2.29, -1.3%) and TABCORP Holdings Limited (A$3.47, -0.9%). Industrials like WES# fell as did Brambles Limited (A$8.55, -0.7%),Downer EDI Limited (A$4.50, -2.2%),Leighton Holdings Limited (A$15.22, -2.2%) whilst Telstra Corporation Limited (A$5.04, +0.4%) gained a tad. Media stocks were slightly better following Ten Network Holdings Limited (A$0.275, unch) AGM today as Seven West Media Limited (A$2.25, +0.9%) rallied a touch. REA Group Ltd (A$36.00, -4.6%) management issues flowed through to Carsales.Com Limited (A$9.57, -2.7%)
Sitting pretty today were #FLN# following our conference yesterday, Mirvac Group (A$1.63, +3.2%),#NPX#,Technology One Limited (A$2.37, +3.0%),#MFF# and Bega Cheese Limited (A$4.42, +1.6%) whilst blaming the high dollar for all their woes were Wotif.com Holdings Limited (A$2.85, -31.8%),Oz Minerals Limited (A$2.68, -6.9%),#PGH#,REA#,Chorus Limited (A$1.33, – 2.6%),Growthpoint Properties Australia (A$2.50, -3.8%),UGL Limited (A$6.67, -2.3%) and Monadelphous Group Limited (A$17.50, +1.3%). Volume was hard to find outside of the major stocks at a little over $4bn its somewhat on the low side even for this time of year.
Asian markets perked up in front of Uncle Bens last meeting ever. Tokyo was the stand out as figures out today showed the Japanese’s biggest November trade deficit on record as imports climbed 21.1 per cent from a year earlier, supported by demand ahead of a sales-tax increase in April.

Stocks and Stories

IPO watch today NEC, DSH, FLN, RLE and PGH finished in mixed moods today.
Action aplenty in the mining services sector today as Bradken Limited (A$5.33, -3.1%) bid for Austin Engineering Limited (A$3.13, unch) and we also saw the first bloom of M&A activity in the gold sector with news that Canadian Gold miner Asanko has bid for #PVM#
Amcor Limited (A$10.25, -9.8%) and #ORA# went their separate ways today as the split of Amcor’s packaging division hit the market.
The $5.4 billion CFS Retail Property Trust Group (A$1.90, unch) went into a trading halt with the intention of raising up to $280 million in new capital to buy back its own management rights.
Today’s corporate shellacking on a’ downdate’ was Wotif.com Holdings Limited (A$2.85, -31.8%) indeed WTF! A 20% downgrade in profit numbers shocked the market which in turn shocked the share price good and proper. Thing Graeme Wood will be having a more sedate Xmas this year!
Ironic really that having set up the Future Fund(really just to pay for Civil servants pensions ) that Peter Costello now finds himself running it following the early departure of David Gonski to chair ANZ. The corporate merry go round continues. He is only acting Chair but sure he will be angling for the permanent gig.

Looks like Qantas Airways Limited (A$1.03, unch) will soon be back in the headlines as the little Leprechaun has been meeting with the Unions to work out where to go from here.
And Uncle Fester ,Glenn Stevens , was up early today and in Canberra fronting the economic committee and telling all, that he expected things to be in the 2-3% GDP range, the dollar is too high and he wouldn’t be adverse to selling it one day, that we are better off than so many countries and he really didn’t want GI Joe to give the RBA $8.8bn but hey I’ll take it!
Seems that Bega Cheese Limited (A$4.42, +1.6%) have limped off with their cheddar between their legs and admitted that they won’t get the acceptances required to nab Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co.Hold.Ltd (A$9.19, -0.9%). Down to two players.

Tomorrow’s News Today

So will it or wont it..Taper or no taper? That is the question. Hopefully tonight we will get some sort of plan or road map that will take the sting out of any taper!
In the UK, Sam Walsh the RIO boss has suggested that Iron Ore prices will weaken next year as more capacity comes on line. About 400 million tons of new supply will be delivered by 2015, pushing prices down by about 43 percent to an average of $80 a ton that year, Goldman analysts said last week.
Nothing like some serious Russian bribery to turn Ukraine’s head and get them even further away from Europe. Russia has given Ukraine a discount of almost a third on Russian gas and said it would buy billions of dollars’ worth of Ukrainian government bonds.$15bn worth of bonds should do nicely Mr Putin. Дякую (Diakuju)

GSK is in the spotlight now globally following an investigation into its ethics in China. Should be interesting to say the least.

Euro zone finance ministers have reached a tentative agreement that would create a backstop to the EU’s new bank rescue system in case it runs out of money in an emergency. The deal, characterised as a “crucial breakthrough”, opens the way for an overall blueprint for dealing with failing