TO FINANCE, RIO TINTO SAYS ITS IRON ORE EXPANSION PLANS ARE ON TRACK.

THE COMPANY HAS EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS WITH A RECORD ANNUAL PRODUCTION RATE OF 253 MILLION TONNES.

IT'S SET AN AMBITIOUS TARGET TO CHURN OUT 360 MILLION TONNES A YEAR IN THE PILBARA.

IRON ORE PRICES HAVE REBOUNDED TO ABOVE 140-DOLLARS A TONNE AFTER PLUNGING TO 80-DOLLARS A TONNE LAST YEAR.

EUROPE'S BIGGEST ECONOMY HAS HAD A SHARP SLOW DOWN.

LATEST QUARTERLY FIGURES FOR GERMANY SHOW A GROWTH RATE OF JUST POINT SEVEN PER CENT.

GERMANY HAS SO FAR avoided EUROPE'S ECONOMIC CRISIS.

BUT SOME ANALYSTS NOW FEAR THE GERMAN ECONOMY WILL FALL INTO RECESSION.

THE CRAZY JOHN'S MOBILE PHONE DEALERSHIP BRAND IS EXPECTED TO DISAPPEAR NEXT MONTH.

VODAFONE AUSTRALIA HAS CONFIRMED IT PLANS TO DUMP THE BRAND FROM ITS GROUP AND REBRAND STORES UNDER ITS OWN NAME.

VODAFONE HASN'T SAID HOW MANY STAFF COULD BE AFFECTED.

let's take a quick look at THE MARKETS...

THE DOW HAS GAINED 23 POINTS.

THE NASDAQ FELL NINE POINTS

THE S AND P 500 EDGED UP SLIGHTLY

AND LONDON'S FOOTSIE CLOSED NINE POINTS HIGHER OVERNIGHT.

TO COMMODITY PRICES -

WEST TEXAS CRUDE IS TRADING AT 93 U-S DOLLARS A BARREL.

TAPIS CRUDE IS TRADING AT 117 U-S DOLLARS A BARREL.

AND GOLD IS WORTH 16-HUNDRED AND 79 U-S DOLLARS AN OUNCE.

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS BUYING 106 U-S CENTS, 79 EURO CENTS AND 66 PENCE STERLING.