TO FINANCE AND THE RESERVE BANK BOARD IS EXPECTED TO LEAVE INTEREST RATES ON HOLD WHEN IT MEETS TODAY.

A SURVEY BY BLOOMBERG HAS FOUND 24 OUT OF 28 ECONOMISTS ARE PREDICTING THE R-B-A WILL KEEP THE RATE AT THREE PER CENT.

NEW FINANCIAL DATA MAKES A RATE CUT MORE UNLIKELY.

HOUSING APPROVALS FELL BY ALMOST FOUR AND A HALF PERCENT IN DECEMBER INSTEAD OF AN EXPECTED ONE PERCENT RISE.

AND THERE'S MORE BAD NEWS ON THE JOBS FRONT.

JOB ADVERTISEMENTS FELL POINT NINE OF A PERCENT LAST MONTH.

U.S. AUTHORITIES ARE PLANNING TO FILE CIVIL CHARGES AGAINST RATINGS AGENCY, STANDARD AND POOR'S.

THE CHARGES RELATE TO THE MODEL IT USED TO RATE MORTGAGE BONDS BEFORE THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IN 2008.

FEDERAL AND STATE OFFICIALS ARE EXPECTED TO FILE THE CHARGES BY THE END OF THE WEEK.

TO THE MARKETS...AND THERE'S BEEN SOME BIG LOSSES ON THE OVERSEAS MARKETS

A SHORT TIME AGO, THE DOW WAS TRADING 127 POINTS LOWER

THE NASDAQ HAS LOST ONE-POINT-THREE PERCENT

THE S-AND-P 500 IS ALSO TRADING LOWER

AND IN LONDON OVERNIGHT, THE FOOTSIE CLOSED ONE-POINT-SIX-PERCENT

TO COMMODITY PRICES -

WEST TEXAS CRUDE IS TRADING AT 96 U-S DOLLARS A BARREL.

TAPIS CRUDE IS TRADING AT 122 U-S DOLLARS A BARREL.

AND GOLD IS WORTH 16-HUNDRED AND 73 U-S DOLLARS AN OUNCE.

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS BUYING 104 U-S CENTS, 77 EURO CENTS AND 66 PENCE STERLING.