RIO TINTO SAYS IT HAS SET NEW RECORDS FOR ITS FOURTH QUARTER AND ANNUAL IRON ORE OUTPUT, DESPITE PRICE VOLATILITY.

THE MINING GIANT SAYS ITS OPERATIONS AROUND THE WORLD PRODUCED A TOTAL OF 253 MILLION TONNES OF IRON ORE LAST YEAR UP FOUR PER CENT...

PRODUCTION OVER THE FOURTH QUARTER ROSE 2 PER CENT

TAKING A LOOK AT HOW THE MARKET REACTED...

SHARES IN RIO BRIEFLY RALLIED FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF THE FIGURES.. BUT SUNK BACK BY THE CLOSE ...ENDING DOWN NINE CENTS.

BHP SAW A SIMILARLY SMALL FALL.

IN OTHER NEWS BILLABONG WAS AN OUTPERFORMER TODAY AFTER RECIEVING ANOTHER TAKEOVER OFFER FROM A US CONSORTIUM ... ALSO WORTH ONE-DOLLAR-TEN ... SHARES SHOT UP 14 PER CENT.

THE BROADER MARKET GAVE UP EARLY GAINS TO FINISH JUST A FEW POINTS DOWN.

MARKETS ACROSS THE REGION ARE MIXED...

GOLD CONTINUES TO RISE THOUGH...

AND THE DOLLAR REMAINS AROUND 105 AND A HALF US CENTS.

FALLING SALES HAVE FORCED THE BRITISH MUSIC RETAILER H-M-V INTO ADMINISTRATION

THE COMPANY HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FROM TRADE ON THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE.

IT SAYS THE ADMINISTRATORS WILL CONTINUE TO RUN THE COMPANY WHILE THEY SEEK A BUYER.

THE COMPANY SAYS ITS UNABLE TP MEET DEBT REPAYMENTS DUE AT THE END OF THIS MONTH...