• Another bout of weakness fed from Qantas Airways Limited (A$1.03, -3.7%) and QBE Insurance Group Limited (A$15.45, unch), together with the finance sector once again coming in for some serious profit taking. These are the stocks that have rampaged upwards this year .It is inevitable that the punters would lock in some profits. After a fall to 5154 during the morning we clawed our way back out of the flooded ditch as some bargain hunters and short coverers embraced the lower prices to finally close down 12 at 5186.
• Resources were relatively unscathed today with BHP Billiton Limited (A$36.75, -0.1%),RIO Tinto Limited (A$66.41, +0.6%) and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (A$5.68, -0.2%) continuing to be the place to be this week, at least comparatively as the only thing holding up seems to be the Iron Ore price. Telstra Corporation Limited (A$4.98, unch) also tried hard to add some green to my screen as did Woodside Petroleum Limited (A$37.56, +0.7%) (window closing on any share sale?) and Woolworths Limited (A$33.01, +0.6%) and Wesfarmers Limited (A$41.70, -0.1%).Fairfax Media Limited (A$0.68, +7.1%) had a good day today building on gains from selling their Stayz business for $220m yesterday and other media stocks also looked a little better as money moved back out of #NEC# and back into Seven West Media Limited (A$2.16, +2.9%) and Ten Network Holdings Limited (A$0.27, unch).
• Industrials joined in the drift with Amcor Limited (A$11.04, -0.4%),Brambles Limited (A$9.38, -0.4%),Seek Limited (A$12.75, -2.8%)Transfield Services Limited (A$1.00, -7.8%),Leighton Holdings Limited (A$15.61, -0.4%),Monadelphous Group Limited (A$15.61, -2.4%),Toll Holdings Limited (A$5.55, -1.2%),Asciano Limited (A$5.56, -2.3%) all falling away a little.
• Top of the ratings table today were #VED#,United Overseas Australia Limited (A$0.57, +1.8%),Sirius Resources NL (A$2.06, +4.3%),Fairfax Media Limited (A$0.68, +7.1%),#NPX#,Alumina Limited (A$1.03, +3.5%) and Panaust Limited (A$1.67, +5.4%) whilst in the Channel Ten bargain program bucket were Transfield Services Limited (A$1.00, -7.8%),Oceanagold Corporation (A$1.615, -4.7%),Peet Limited (A$1.36, -3.9%),Bluescope Steel Limited (A$5.30, -2.8%),Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited (A$0.091, -4.2%) and Arrium Limited (A$1.585, -3.6%).
• Volume was sapped by the Cricket and no one too brave before the US jobs number tonight. Asia was a smidge off with the exception of Japan that was up small after Abe promised to pump in more stimulus to compensate for the money he is taking out due to the sales tax changes. Makes perfect sense really.
• For the week the ASX200 is down from 5320 to close out at 5186 a fall of 2.5%Certainly bordering on something more than a flesh wound. Hardly surprising really when the Dow has fallen five days straight and we have had wave after wave of corporate troubles and downdates. Aussie Dollar is 90.5 and Bitcons are $1083
• China’s three-month Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate has leapt sharply to 5.1670 per cent, the highest level the rate has been since China’s central bank engineered a dramatic cash crunch in June.
Stocks and Stories
• Qantas Airways Limited (A$1.03, -3.7%) went into a trading halt today as the ratings agencies downgraded their credit to junk in some cases. Back out and down another bit as they test the dollar level. If these guys want to survive I would suggest that they jettison some of the excess baggage, starting at the top. Bet Macquarie are quietly chuckling to themselves about their near miss experience a few years ago. Not sure who is having a worse day, Alan Joyce or Alastair Cook.
• QBE Insurance Group Limited (A$15.45, unch) looks like the latest casualty in the Corporate clinic as their shares have also gone into an extended halt pending a market update. These are never positive and looks like their North American business is to blame. Watch out Charlie Aitken ,one of your high conviction calls is about to go bung!
• Channel NINE NEC (Still the one) listed today and it’s safe to say they were unspectacular and despite listing at the low end of the range and supposedly being three time oversubscribed at that level they failed to launch. Of the 40 IPOs this year only half are above their listing price.
• Other recent floats were also in the doldrums with #VED# a star while,#LHC# and #FLN# pretty much treading water.
• Newcrest Mining Limited (A$7.26, +1.4%) issued a rare update that didn’t turn into a downdate!
• Brambles Limited (A$9.38, -0.4%) has won approval to split out Recall from the Federal Court. Next week is when it happens. Tuesday 10th.
• Flight Centre Limited (A$46.00, -3.0%) had a rare down day as the Federal court ruled they had been a tad naughty with the Trade Practices act .And a huge win for the ACCC watchdog as they have capped the discounts that the big two supermarkets can offer on fuel to 4c…not sure why that is a win for anyone but Wesfarmers Limited (A$41.70, -0.1%) and Woolworths Limited (A$33.01, +0.6%), certainly not the consumer. The big two have driven most out of business anyway and now they get to limit their discounts. Well done ACCC. Too little. Way too late. Damage has been done. Bit like the RBA play book too.
• Telstra Corporation Limited (A$4.98, unch) venture capital arm has made an investment believed to be worth $10 million in US-based online storage service Box, in the latest move by the telecommunications carrier to expand its fast-growing cloud computing division. Does value Box at $2bn!
• One of my favourite stories at the moment is Bitcon (yes,I reckon that is the right spelling!).well last night China banned their banks from dealing in the digital gold 2.0 and wow down it went. Off 30% at one stage before recovering some of its falls. It is always hard to value a currency that has no tangible backing. Much like the US Dollar.
Tomorrows News Today
• Big US jobs number tonight. This ,peeps, is the big one and could set the whole tone for the next year! Remember Good number Bad, Bad number Good. Simples.
• Economists are expecting the payrolls data to show that 185,000 jobs were added to the economy for the month, and for the unemployment rate to have fallen from 7.3 to 7.2 per cent. FOMC meeting 17/18th December. Ben’s last!
• What do Qantas, Holden and the Great Barrier Reef have in common. They are all Icons of Australian culture which we seem to have spurned but will jump up and down when they are gone. Why didn’t we embrace these and save them. Perhaps we will never know.
• Europe is currently being buffeted by a deadly storm causing chaos and potential flooding in the UK. Biggest Tidal surge in 60 years. You watching this Tony?
• Fast food workers across the US have gone on Strike pushing for higher minimum wages as the current $7.25 an hour doesn’t even buy them a Not Happy Meal. Unions are pushing for a minimum of $15 an hour. Good luck with that. Do you fries with that?
• Meet the Volckers! Almost four years since it was proposed by President Barack Obama, the new prohibition on banks trading for their own account is due to be approved by regulators next week after a protracted argument over how strict it should be. The so called Volcker Rule should come into effect on December 10th!
• Have a great weekend.