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9 Australian companies on the Fortune 500

US markets fell again on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.3%, the S&P 500 Index also closing 0.2% lower and the Nasdaq Composite Index also falling 0.2%. Investors appear increasingly wary about any turnaround in Europe, and ongoing concerns over US growth. At one stage the Dow Jones was down 0.7%, but recovered in late trading.

European markets fell for a fourth straight day, with the UK’s FTSE 100 down 0.6%, Germany’s DAX down 0.4% and Paris’ CAC 40, also down 0.4%.

The Australian dollar was up slightly against the greenback, buying 102.0 US cents.

Commodities rose slightly overnight, with gold up 0.5% to US$1,590.50 an ounce, while Brent crude oil jumped 2%, to US100.23 a barrel. Copper was up around 0.4%.

In lighter news, Royal Dutch Shell has been crowned the number one company globally in the annual Fortune 500 list, which ranks companies by revenue. Australia has 9 companies in the list, including the big four banks, BHP Billiton, Woolworths and Wesfarmers, Telstra, and perhaps surprisingly Caltex Australia Limited (ASX: CTX), which comes in at 486th place with $22,810m in revenues.

SPI says up…but not by much

The ASX SPI futures was up just 5 points, suggesting the S&P / ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) could show a flat start to the trading day.

Today the Australian Bureau of Statistics announces May building approval data, while National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) will release its business confidence and conditions surveys.

Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) is today holding a conference on Asian markets, where the company has a presence. The company has recently expanded into several Asian countries, as it continues its goal of achieving 10% of revenues from Asia.

Foolish Takeaway

A flat start or early gains, take your pick. Investors are likely sitting on the sidelines awaiting further developments from Europe, and hoping for some positive news. Here, at the Motley Fool, we continue to look for great businesses, trading at cheap prices, and tune out the market ‘noise’.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in BHP and Woolworths.  The Motley Fool ‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better.  Take Stock  is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  Click here now  to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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