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ASX market down early afternoon: Recovering from 1% fall at the open

After falling by over 1% at the open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index is recovering to be down just 0.6%, following a weak lead from Wall Street overnight, where the Dow Jones Index was down 0.4%.

The big miners weigh heavily on the index, with Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) falling 2.7% to $32.60.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) are currently down 1% and 1.4% respectively after Moody’s Investor Services released a report stating lower iron ore prices were likely, driven down by a forecast increase in the production of iron ore and higher Chinese scrap steel supply.

Around 260 million tons of additional iron ore capacity is expected to come on-line over the next two years, according to Moody’s. This also doesn’t bode well for Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG), as well as other Australian small iron ore producers.

The miners were also likely down due to proposed changes to federal laws surrounding corruption and bribery putting up to $50 billion in Australian investments in Africa at risk.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ)Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX: WBC) and National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) were all down slightly.

Other notable companies declining were Platinum Asset Management Limited (ASX: PTM), down 3.4%, Sonic Healthcare (ASX: SHL) down 4% and Insurance Australia Group Limited (ASX: IAG) also down 4.2%.

Winners

Telstra Limited (ASX: TLS), Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) were all up, Woolworths on the back on its first half FY2012 results that came in above consensus forecasts.

The biggest mover in the S&P/ASX 200 is QBE Insurance Limited (ASX: QBE), up 3.9% to $12.10. This is probably on the back of results from other insurers, showing that QBE was not alone in suffering a terrible year in 2011.

Other notable risers include David Jones Limited (ASX: DJS) up 2.6%, and Cabcharge Australia Limited (ASX: CAB) up 2.3% to $5.80, continuing its rise from just under $4.00 (back in September 2011).

The market’s down today, but it’s important to remember that what happens to the market on a day-to-day basis doesn’t matter nearly as much as how our stocks perform over the long run.

If you’re interested in the one ASX stock that our Investment Analyst  Dean Morel  picked to beat the market, check out our brand-new report “The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2012.” It highlights a small company paying a good dividend, and one that is set to benefit from the broadband revolution.  For a limited time, you can get instant access to the name of this company for free by clicking here.

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Motley Fool contributor Mike King owns shares in Woolworths, QBE Insurance and Cabcharge.  The Motley Fool ’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.  Click here  to be enlightened by The Motley Fool’s disclosure policy.

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