Another quiet day given the US and the UK were closed overnight. A positive start though was undone by a plethora of downgrades and write offs.In the end the ASX200 limped into the close down a massive 2 points having hit highs of 5529. Suncorp Group Limited (A$13.42, -2.0%) upset the apple cart in financials with news of a $500m write off. However it seems that some commentators believe the company will be paying out excess cash to its shareholders. Meanwhile ‘superfloat’ OzForex came under pressure with an update as its met its prospectus but wrote off some money from an aborted UK takeover and the costs of the IPO. Tough school when the market falls out of love with you so quickly. In more bad news Vietnamese casino company Donaco International Limited (A$1.035, -10.0%) also came in for some profit taking as a Chinese gun boat rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat ramping up the tension there on the disputed waters.

Telstra Corporation Limited (A$5.32, -0.4%) finally came in for some profit taking after the recent run up as the warning on mobile growth and Asian expansion took the gloss off the stock. Consumer stocks were also a tad better led by Woolworths (their turn today) and Metcash Limited (A$2.88, +1.4%) for a change .Discretionary spends were mildly positive picking up on the vibe but the Sydney heat wave will be playing havoc with the winter sales! Healthcare stocks recovered slightly as the Pollies go back to Canberra to attempt to get the budget through the Parliament

Resource stocks also did moderately well with Iron Ore pushing higher it encouraged the buyers in Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (A$4.62, +1.3%),BHP Billiton Limited (A$37.89, -0.1%) and RIO Tinto Limited (A$61.21, +0.4%) but the big winner in recent days was Lynas Corporation Limited (A$0.17, +13.3%) which saw a good rise again today as the pricing period of its $40m SPP raise came to an end.

Volume was again pretty underwhelming at under $3bn with winners today in ALS Limited (A$7.96, +8.9%),Technology One Limited (A$2.65, +7.3%),AWE Limited (A$1.73, +3.9%),Greencross Limited (A$9.06, +4.0%),Oz Minerals Limited (A$4.12, +3.0%),Atlas Iron Limited (A$0.74, +3.5%),NIB Holdings Limited (A$3.15, +3.3%) and Lynas Corporation Limited (A$0.17, +13.3%) whilst wearing the dunces hat in the corner were Ingenia Communities Group (A$0.465, -10.6%),#OFX#,Donaco International Limited (A$1.035, -10.0%),Aquarius Platinum Limited (A$0.475, -1.0%),Regis Resources Limited (A$1.55, -2.2%) again, Transfield Services Limited (A$1.10, -2.7%) and Mayne Pharma Group Limited (A$0.915, -3.2%).

Asian markets were mixed with Tokyo up 0.6% and HK and Shanghai down around 0.2%.Aussie dollar around 92.5 and digital Tulip at $641 whilst the shiny stuff is $1289 despite big trouble in little China.

Stocks and Stories

Suncorp Group Limited (A$13.42, -2.0%) wrote down $500m in its life insurance division citing the toughest conditions it had encountered .They still held out the carrot of special dividends and capital management. Apparently writing down the $500m doesn’t really affect anything. Gonna try the same trick myself, see how I go!

Oz Forex plunged after profits at the listed online currency exchange site fell 6.8 per cent due to one-off costs from an aborted takeover bid and its listing on the ASX in October, but rose more than 25 per cent excluding these hits. The company will pay a fully-franked dividend of 2.37¢ per share, representing 70 per cent of net profit after tax.

ALS Limited (A$7.96, +8.9%) delivered some good results in a difficult environment. Underlying net profit after tax of $171.9 million for the year ended 31 March 2014. Revenue of $1,503 million was up 3.3% on the $1,455 million recorded from continuing operations in FY2013.

AWE Limited (A$1.73, +3.9%) continue to find favour having announced the upgrade of their Sugarloaf area of mutual interest in the Eagle Ford basin in the US.

Technology One Limited (A$2.65, +7.3%) have risen strongly, after the company posted a 14 per cent lift in net profits for the six months to March 31 and lifted its interim dividend to 1.95 cents per share. The company, which makes back-office software, posted $9.9 million in interim net profits, up from $8.7 million in the first half of 2013, with revenues also lifting 10 per cent.

Regis Resources Limited (A$1.55, -2.2%) continues to fall after the operating update last week.

Tangiers Petroleum which saw the unusual double capital raising in a the space of a week was back on the boards today after fighting off investors throwing money at them. The lure of their Moroccan drilling campaign is proving irresistible to the punters.

Consumer confidence has plummeted following the Budget as ANZ-Roy Morgan’s weekly survey came out suggesting, consumer confidence has dropped another 1.1 per cent over the past week, chalking up a 15 per cent per cent drop over the past five weeks, while perceptions of ‘economic conditions next year’ plunged by 6.3 per cent. Well done everyone involved. And in retail things can only get better. Weekly sales from the BDO Australian Retail Sales Index suggests sales through May have deteriorated across retail – down 6 per cent month-on-month – with fashion hit harder, down 7 per cent m/m. All this hot weather.

In the gold sector though, there are potential signs of life as Mali Gold fave Papillon Resources Limited (A$1.425, unch) was put in a trading halt pending a corporate transaction. Maybe this one will get snapped up!Could be the start of something.

Tomorrow’s News Today

Tommy the Rock Opera turns 45 this month. I feel old!

Nice to have ‘Teacozy’ back in the news. There were “anomalies” in the accounts of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential campaign. Bless!And interesting results in the Zombieland elctions at the weekend. Should shake things up a bit.

The most important date is now shaping up as when Super Mario actually tries to do something at the ECB June meeting on June 5th.He has spent more time waiting for Godot than Estragon or Vladimir. He has promised this time he will really do something like cut rates. Crikey, they are already at 0.5% and not doing anything to help the jobless growth or inflation so does he really expect 0.25% to do the trick. I reckon he is flogging a dead horse! Something Tescos knows all about!

GM and Ford must be salivating at this opportunity. China plans to remove six million vehicles that do not meet exhaust emission standards, by the end of the year as a way of improving air quality .More than 300,000 vehicles will be decommissioned in the capital Beijing. Have to say when they do something they don’t do it by half measures!

Now I know the Scots are voting on leaving the UK but when will London do the same! The economic gap between London and the rest of the country has been outlined by a forecast that the capital’s economy grow by 15% over the next five years to 2019, according to a forecast from the Centre for Economics and Business Research . According to the economics consultancy, London’s booming economy will account for almost one third of all UK growth over the period, thanks to a surge in construction activity and financial services. So it ever was!

And finally good to see that the low deposit mortgage is not only back but flourishing. Banks are lending more to higher-risk home buyers with deposits of less than 20 per cent, with the share of new loans issued to borrowers in this group running at a two-year high.” “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”

That is all