• Another day with limited volume and a quiet tone with only the banks showing any signs of confidence. The theme for 2013 was played out again today as the banks rose and the resources fell. The big miners were easier in Overseas markets and that fed through to ours today with BHP Billiton Limited (A$37.25, -1.5%) sliding, RIO Tinto Limited (A$64.30, -1.1%) also joining in as did Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (A$5.65, -1.6%). There was no respite for the mauled gold sector as again punters started looking for the towel to throw in. Newcrest Mining Limited (A$7.77, -4.1%) fell under $8.00 today as the carnage was worse than a day at the Spring Carnival with free alcohol!Silver Lake Resources Limited (A$0.46, -14.0%),Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (A$1.13, -8.9%),St Barbara Limited (A$0.285, -6.6%),Beadell Resources Limited (A$0.735, -7.0%) and Evolution Mining Limited (A$0.60, -2.4%) all feel heavily as gold could not hold onto the $1250 level and the bears came out to play. Energy stocks also ran out of juice with Santos Limited (A$14.34, -1.3%),Woodside Petroleum Limited (A$38.24, -0.4%),Origin Energy Limited (A$14.15, -1.0%) and PNG hopeful Oil Search Limited (A$8.28, -1.2%) all succumbing to gravity!

• Industrials were also weaker across the board with a few exceptions like Telstra Corporation Limited (A$5.08, unch),James Hardie Industries PLC (A$12.33, +2.8%) and Crown Limited (A$16.85, +1.3%) following a broker’s bullish call. Telstra Corporation Limited (A$5.08, unch) got a kick today as one broker moved them to outperform too,well I guess unchanged is a kick in this market today!.

• Happy shiny stocks today included Ansell Limited (A$19.79, +1.7%),James Hardie Industries PLC (A$12.33, +2.8%),GrainCorp Limited (A$11.33, +1.3%),Ten Network Holdings Limited (A$0.285, +1.8%),ARB Corporation Limited (A$12.07, +0.2%) and ALS Limited (A$8.74, +1.6%) whilst in the naughty corner were some of the usual suspects, Beadell Resources Limited (A$0.735, -7.0%),Sirius Resources NL (A$2.26, -7.4%),Energy World Corporation Ltd (A$0.36, -5.3%),IGO#,Regis Resources Limited (A$3.03, -4.1%),Newcrest Mining Limited (A$7.77, -4.1%) and Southern Cross Media Group Limited (A$1.56, -4.0%).

• Volume was thin at best as players continue to favour sidelines, IPOs and AGM action. Around the grounds today Asia was a little mixed with Tokyo down whilst regional markets in Chine and HK etc were a tad better. Aussie dollar is knocking on the door at 91 cents and our old friends Bitcon pushed through $1000 Aussie dollars. The digital gold is changing the way we think of money.

• In the final countdown the ASX 200 closed down 24 points at 5333 on its lows, after a low volatility, low interest day, slip slidey day.

Stocks and Stories

• Few happy punters today as Ansell Limited (A$19.79, +1.7%) placed shares at $18.50 to fund their recent acquisition and the stock rallied nearly2%.A gift from the glove maker. It’s not often a rubber glove can bring that much happiness!

• GrainCorp Limited (A$11.33, +1.3%) perked up today as the chief of suitor Archer Daniels was in front of the suits today in Canberra and promised some $200m in investment in the industry to try to soothe the Governments and Clive Palmers concern. However in QLD, Premier Campbell Newman has called on US grain giant Archer Daniels Midland to be forced to divest two port terminals as a condition of the approval of its $3 billion takeover bid for GrainCorp.

• In house stocks AWE Limited (A$1.195, -1.6%) held their AGM today with an unchanged guidance form our Johnny on the spot!Kina Petroleum Limited (A$0.47, +4.4%) also put out a new presentation which didn’t help and #RGS# took a little hit after the AGM with the stock pulling back from its recent stratospheric highs.

• Retailers will be disappointed as the Government has put back its decision on GST thresholds til March. Not sure GST is going to make that much of a difference though .

• The good construction numbers may indicate a surprise in September quarter capital expenditure figures, due on Thursday.

• Bank of Queensland Limited (A$12.30, -0.2%) held their AGM today and blamed the high Aussie Dollar for continuing weakness that and the economic slowdown we are seeing. Wasn’t sure that the Aussie at 91cwents is that high!

• The amount of construction work done in Australia rose 2.7 per cent in the September quarter, according to official data. Over the year to September, the volume of construction work done was up 1.3 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. Engineering ,mining and infrastructure were the standouts at around 3.5%.

Tomorrows News Today

• In a surprising report today from the Unions on the mining boom ,Australia has squandered a “once in a century” mining boom, with the benefits flowing to a small group of wealthy people rather than funding critical infrastructure, according to, the CFMEU study . “Archaic and inefficient” taxes meant that the mining industry pays only 11% on average in taxes.

• The World Trade Organization (WTO) head, Roberto Azevedo, has warned global trade deal talks face collapse. Mr Azevedo’s comments came after WTO members failed to agree on a text to be presented to trade ministers next month to reach a deal.

• Gotta love bankers. In the UK there is a story brewing of how Government owned RBS is deliberately bankrupting small businesses so they can take their assets and flog them off for a profit. Can’t believe they would do such a thing.

• And the S&P boys reckon the world’s banks must pay $104bn to atone for their GFC sins!

• US jobs numbers tonight.330,000 is the guesstimate. Volume will be low as we approach Turkey time. Looks like it’s going to be a rerun of Planes,Trains and Automobiles as big storms will cause huge disruptions to people heading home for stuffing and cranberry sauce.

• Good to see the US sending its spy planes over the Chinese/Japanese disputed islands. Good to stir things up.

• Worryingly margin debt continues to rise in the US reaching levels it has not seen since the halcyon days of 2000.

• Chinese companies’ borrowing costs are climbing at a record pace relative to the government’s, increasing the risk of defaults and prompting state newspapers to warn of a limited debt crisis. The debt of listed companies excluding financial firms has doubled since 2009 to some $2 trillion. Local governments may owe 20 trillion yuan ($3.3 trillion), Liu Yuhui, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said. May you live in low interesting times!

 

Clarence

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