TO FINANCE, THE RESIGNATION OF BHP BILLITON'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE MARIUS KLOPPERS HAS FAILED TO RATTLE THE SHARE MARKET.

MR KLOPPER'S DECISION TO QUIT OVERSHADOWED THE COMPANY'S BIGGEST FALL IN HALF YEAR PROFITS IN MORE THAN A DECADE.

PROFITS FELL 58 PERCENT TO FOUR BILLION DOLLARS.

THE RESULTS COME ON THE BACK OF LOWER COMMODITY PRICES, A STRONGER DOLLAR AND WRITEDOWNS.

BHP SHARES LOST POINT NINE OF A PERCENT TO CLOSE AT 38 DOLLARS 65.

JAPAN HAS POSTED A RECORD MONTHLY TRADE DEFICIT.

THE DEFICIT IN JANUARY JUMPED TEN PERCENT ON WHAT IT WAS A YEAR AGO TO MORE THAN 17 BILLION DOLLARS.

EXPORTS ROSE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHT MONTHS.

BUT A WEAKER CURRENCY ALSO PUSHED UP THE COST OF IMPORTS.

JAPAN HAS HAD TO INCREASE ITS FUEL IMPORTS BECAUSE MOST OF ITS NUCLEAR REACTORS REMAIN CLOSED WHICH HAD A BIG IMPACT ON THE DEFICIT.

TO THE MARKETS...

STOCKS IN THE U-S LOST GROUND.

THE NASDAQ AND THE S AND P 500 SHED MORE THAN ONE PER CENT.

AND IN LONDON OVERNIGHT, THE FOOTSIE ROSE 16 POINTS.

TO COMMODITY PRICES -

WEST TEXAS CRUDE IS TRADING AT 95 U-S DOLLARS A BARREL.

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

AND GOLD IS WORTH 1,564 U-S DOLLARS AN OUNCE.

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS BUYING 102 U-S CENTS, 77 EURO CENTS AND 67 PENCE STERLING.

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