AFTER MONTHS OF SPECULATION, BHP BILLITON HAS ANNOUNCED MARIUS KLOPPERS WILL LEAVE THE COMPANY AFTER NEARLY SIX YEARS AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE.

HE'LL BE REPLACED BY THE COMPANY'S HEAD OF NON-FERROUS METALS, ANDREW MACKENZIE IN MAY THIS YEAR.

BHP'S CHAIRMAN JAC NASSER HAS PAID TRIBUTE TO MR KLOPPERS ....SAYING HE STEERED THE COMPANY THROUGH ONE OF THE WORST ECONOMIC PERIODS IN HISTORY.

HAS REPOERTED.... FIRST-HALF NET PROFIT TUMBLED NEARLY 58 PER CENT, TO FOUR-POINT-ONE BILLION DOLLARS...WHICH WAS IN LINE WITH EXPECTATIONS.

THE BHP BILLITON CEO MARIUS KLOPPERS SAYS HE'S CONFIDENT ABOUT THE COMPANY'S FUTURE,

AND SAYS HE HAS A LOT OF FAITH IN HIS SUCESSOR ANDREW MACKENZIE.

THE MARKET HAS REACTED BY SELLING SHARES IN BHP

THE STOCK IS DOWN TWO THIRDS OF A PER CENT

BUT NOT BY AS MUCH AS THE OTHER BIG MINERS.

DESPITE FALLS IN THE MINING STOCKS - THE BROADER AUSTRALIAN SHAREMARKET IS MANAGING MODEST GAINS

THE ALL ORDS IS UP A THIRD OF A PERCENT

THE ASX 200 INDEX IS UP A LITTLE MORE THAN THAT.

WALL STREET ROSE ON CORPORATE TAKEOVER TALK AFTER INVESTORS HAVE RETURNED TO TRADE AFTER A PUBLIC HOLIDAY

OVER IN EUROPE, INVESTORS WELCOMED GOOD NEWS ON BUSINESS SENTIMENT IN GERMANY.

THE SPOT PRICE OF GOLD HAS XXXXX

AND WEST TEXAS CRUDE OIL HAS XXXXX

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS HIGHER AGAINST MOST OF ITS MAJOR COUNTERPARTS;