Yawn…A quiet start to the week again after lacklustre and confusing leads from offshore on Friday. Last weeks’ trend of resource selling has abated slightly spurred on by gains in Nickel, Gold and Iron Ore stocks whilst financials took some profits again as the index slipped 20 points to finish at 5292 on thin volumes.

Banks were the worse hit today with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (A$31.33, -0.7%),National Australia Bank Limited (A$34.24, -1.0%),Westpac Banking Corporation (A$32.01, -0.7%) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (A$77.00, -0.8%) along with Macquarie Group Limited (A$53.98, -1.5%) which confirmed the Sydney Airport (A$3.73, unch) shares had been allotted to shareholders. Insurance stocks were also a tad weaker led by QBE Insurance Group Limited (A$11.89, -1.4%) with Insurance Australia Group Limited (A$5.79, -1.0%) and Suncorp Group Limited (A$13.15, -0.5%) all down. Defensive consumer stocks Woolworths Limited (A$34.21, -0.4%) and Wesfarmers Limited (A$43.62, -1.0%) also eased back as did Telstra Corporation Limited (A$5.25, -0.2%) despite confirmation that it had sold Sensis for a far smaller amount than some reports in the weekends media suggested. Energy stocks were also weaker with Woodside Petroleum Limited (A$37.57, -0.9%), Santos Limited (A$14.26, -0.8%),Origin Energy Limited (A$13.81, -1.3%),AWE Limited (A$1.29, -1.5%) and Beach Energy Limited (A$1.385, unch) easing back. Big miners were better, BHP Billiton Limited (A$36.56, +0.3%),RIO Tinto Limited (A$63.51, -0.2%) and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (A$5.14, -1.2%) improved as did Alumina Limited (A$1.155, +3.6%),Atlas Iron Limited (A$0.98, +1.0%) and the Nickel stocks like Independence Group NL (A$3.27, +5.5%),Sirius Resources NL (A$2.20, +3.8%) and Western Areas Limited (A$2.56, +8.9%). Gold shares also had a shiny day out in the Sydney sunshine led by Perseus Mining Limited (A$0.33, +11.9%),Silver Lake Resources Limited (A$0.63, +9.6%),Newcrest Mining Limited (A$8.87, +6.1%),Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (A$1.05, +4.5%) and Resolute Mining Limited (A$0.61, +5.2%) as the price pushed above $1250 today. Mining services continued to find few friends with Emeco Holdings Limited (A$0.25, -7.4%),Bradken Limited (A$5.52, -0.9%),Rcr Tomlinson Limited (A$3.34, -2.6%),Monadelphous Group Limited (A$17.12, -1.0%),Cardno Limited (A$6.31, -1.4%),Leighton Holdings Limited (A$16.20, -1.1%) and Boom Logistics Limited (A$0.15, -9.1%) whilst WorleyParsons Limited (A$16.84, +2.4%) managed a good day bucking the trend.

Big new years’ winners today included Energy World Corporation Ltd (A$0.39, +9.9%),Newcrest Mining Limited (A$8.87, +6.1%),Regis Resources Limited (A$3.07, +6.2%),Independence Group NL (A$3.27, +5.5%),Beadell Resources Limited (A$0.82, +5.1%),Sirius Resources NL (A$2.20, +3.8%) and Panaust Limited (A$1.825, +3.1%) whilst suffering from a small hangover were Ten Network Holdings Limited (A$0.325, -5.8%),Downer EDI Limited (A$4.75, -4.2%),ALL#,Whitehaven Coal Limited (A$1.77, -4.6%),Peet Limited (A$1.35, -3.6%) and Lynas Corporation Limited (A$0.30, -4.8%). Volume was a miserly $2.5bn and barely raised the eyebrow of a super model. Asian markets were a little better following the US Jobs number with the MSCI Asia excluding Japan up around 0.5%.Tokyo was closed today for a holiday. Bitcons up above $1010 AUD and the Dollar was back above 90 cents again.

Stocks and Stories

Indonesia introduced the controversial ban on Sunday on a range of raw mineral ores in order to force home companies to build processing plants on Indonesian soil, but policy confusion remains.

Mirabela Nickel Limited (A$0.016, unch), still suspended , chairman Geoff Handley and fellow directors Colin Steyn and Peter Nicholson have resigned from the company’s board.

The number of home loans approved in November rose 1.1 per cent, same as the previous month and meeting economist expectations. Growth in investor lending slowed sharply to 1.5 per cent, from 6.8 per cent in October. First home buyers have slumped though as rising prices have kept buyers out of the market. Lowest level ever.

Chinese iron ore futures have dropped to their lowest since contracts were launched in October as weaker steel prices curbed demand for the raw material. Spot iron ore dropped to its cheapest in more than five months on Friday.

Tomorrows News Today

Congratulations to Cate for her Golden Globe. And is it a sign of the times that Leo won for “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

In Italy they have a novel solution to their national airlines woes as the Government has moved to coerce the Post Office to stump up Euro 75m as an investment in Aitalia. All up the struggling airline is getting a Euro 300m lifeline as one of its biggest shareholders Air France says ‘Non” to more money being poured in.

David Cameron (UK) is to declare that his government is “going all out for shale” as he announces that councils will be entitled to keep 100% of business rates raised from fracking sites in a deal expected to generate millions of pounds for local authorities.

While we are in the UK ,The Treasury seems to have guaranteed all UK debt even Scotlands, if it votes to become independent in September. This move is an attempt to head off financial market jitters on an increase in borrowing costs.

Anti-government protests are growing in Bangkok where demonstrators have closed down vast swathes of the city demanding the PM resign. This one looks set to get worse in the coming days.

Power Assets Holdings controlled by Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing, reduced the size of an initial public offering of HK Electric Investments and will sell almost a fifth of the electricity supplier to State Grid Corp. of China. Power Assets will raise as much as HK$27.9 billion ($3.6 billion) selling HK Electric units at HK$5.45 to HK$6.30 apiece, it said in a statement yesterday.