A remarkably resilient day with the ASX 200 brushing off the falls on Wall Street and rallying mid morning to close near its highs for the day at 5414 down 9. We saw an early break of 5400 before bargain hunters stepped back in and snaffled the usual suspects. Tech stocks were the weak point after NASDAQ plunged on Friday. High flyer XRO cratered to Ground Zero today as did Iproperty Group Limited (A$2.71, -11.1%),REA Group Ltd (A$46.20, -5.2% Freelancer and MNW. The mighty were falling whilst more prosaic issues played out in the rest of the market. Financials were a little easy on the eye led by Macquarie Group Limited (A$57.35, -1.1%),National Australia Bank Limited (A$35.18, -0.6%),Commonwealth Bank of Australia (A$76.86, -0.2%) And Westpac Banking Corporation (A$34.48, -0.3%) whilst Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (A$33.48, +0.3%) squeaked out a modest rise.
Miners were generally well supported by higher Gold and Iron Ore prices. Newcrest Mining Limited (A$10.30, +3.8%) led the golds out of the doldrums as the much maligned and hated sector has turned around at least for the time being anyway. Evolution Mining Limited (A$0.885, +1.7%),Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (A$1.005, +1.5%),Regis Resources Limited (A$2.33, +5.0%),Silver Lake Resources Limited (A$0.43, +3.6%) and Perseus Mining Limited (A$0.425, +3.7%) but Beadell Resources Limited (A$0.585, -2.5%) continued to feel unloved.
Media stocks also felt the brunt of the mini tech wreck with Ten Network Holdings Limited (A$0.25, unch), Fairfax Media Limited (A$0.925, -2.1%),Seven West Media Limited (A$1.88, -1.8%) and APN News & Media Limited (A$0.66, -2.9%) finding profit takers. Other industrials in the consumer space were sold off too with Crown Resorts Limited (A$16.92, -1.4%),Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (A$3.16, -3.7%),JB Hi-Fi Limited (A$19.52, -0.9%) feeling some Monday it is but David Jones Limited (A$3.20, +0.3%) and Myer Holdings Limited (A$2.36, +1.3%) held steady. Builders were weaker with Brickworks Limited (A$14.15, -1.6%), Csr Limited (A$3.51, -2.5%),Boral Limited (A$5.70, -0.3%) and JHX all a little soft.
Aussie dollar was strong again at 4 month highs around 92.74c,Gold at $1302 and Bitcons at $493.
Big winners today were Regis Resources Limited (A$2.33, +5.0%),Newcrest Mining Limited (A$10.30, +3.8%),Bradken Limited (A$4.58, +2.9%),Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (A$4.01, +2.6%),Evolution Mining Limited (A$0.885, +1.7%) and Karoon Gas Australia Limited (A$2.52, +1.2%) whilst biggest losers included Iproperty Group Limited (A$2.71, -11.1%),#XRO#,Mesoblast Limited (A$4.61, -9.4%),Donaco International Limited (A$1.265, -5.2%),REA Group Ltd (A$46.20, -5.2%),#TPG#,Magellan Financial Group Limited (A$13.12, -5.1%) and Mount Gibson Iron Limited (A$0.875, -3.3%). Seems that the Icarus like performance of some of these is following a well-worn pattern! Some of the mid caps got trashed. Hot Chili Limited (A$0.30, -13.0%), IBY, MKB, PBT and Unilife Corporation (A$0.68, -4.9%).
Volume was woeful at around $2.7bn.In Asian markets. Even the computers stayed in bed today after the Noah audition in Sydney over the weekend. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.5 percent to 138.63 at lunch in Hong Kong, with seven of the 10 industry groups on the measure falling. Tokyo was off 1.6% with Hong Kong down 0.6% and Shanghai up 0.95%. Most of the damage in Asia was seen in tech stocks. Naver Corp. slumped 6.3 percent in Seoul, SoftBank Corp. lost 4.5 percent in Tokyo and Tencent Holdings Ltd. fell 4.4 percent in Hong Kong .
Stocks and Stories
Qantas Airways Limited (A$1.155, +0.9%) largest shareholder, Balanced Equity Management, has boosted its stake by 0.5 % % to 9.9 % since mid-March. The fund is part of the Franklin Resources group of funds, which now owns a combined 18.66 % but consists of fund managers that vote separately.
Seems you can always tell when a business is for sale as they ramp up the marketing spend on TV. Classic example is Coles “little red quote” or the Wesfarmers Limited (A$42.08, +1.2%) Insurance broking and premium funding business which they announced today, they have sold for just over $1bn.Now what to do with all that spare cash. Give it to shareholders so they can waste it? We will see!
Things seem to be picking up in the jobs market with news today that job ads in newspapers and on the internet rose for a third straight month in March. A survey by ANZ showed total job advertisements rose a seasonally adjusted 1.4 per cent in March, from February when they had climbed a revised 4.7 per cent. The average number of job ads per week was 132,925, from an upwardly revised 131,089 in February.
Tomorrow’s News Today
“Game of Thrones” back on US TV tonight.
Seems like they have found the machine that goes “Ping”. Call the administrator!
Risk seems to be rising that those naughty Russians under the Iron Hand of RasPutin will cut off the gas for the Ukraine as the deadline for them to cough up the money to Gazprom rears its ugly head. Will make life more interesting they have already doubled the price they charge!
Hundreds of pro-Kremlin demonstrators seized official buildings in Ukraine’s eastern regions
Biotech M&A is back on again as Sun Pharma bids $2.2bn for Ranbaxy in India.
There must be some money in the old Nigerian Oil scam as the country have just doubled its GDP and has overtaken South Africa as the biggest economy in the region. All on the back of emails to gullible punters.GDP for 2013 in Africa’s top oil producer was 80.22 trillion naira, or $509.9 billion, up from the 42.3 trillion estimated before the rebasing. The new figure shrank Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 11 per cent for 2013, against 19 per cent in 2012.26th Biggest economy in the world!
Think our AEC would need some help to run this one. India’s general election, which starts on today, will be the largest vote ever held. About 800 million voters will have a ballot, and of them about 20% will be eligible for the first time. Let’s hope they don’t lose any votes. However what is really worrying for the world’s biggest democracy is that 20% of the candidates are facing criminal charges. Bit like the NSW state Government then!
There is one silver lining though to the sanctions against Russia. Seems that Miley Cyrus may have to cancel some of her planned gigs in Finland because the Stadium is owned by those nasty Russian oligarchs. Tit for Tat! Or Rather No Tit and all Tat!
That is all