Another day on struggle street as yet another blue( ish )chip went into freefall. Today was the turn of Cardno Limited (A$3.61, -24.9%) after a profit downgrade. Nasty. hardly a major surprise given the state of the mining industry generally but savage and violent none the less. Today we actually saw a glimmer of light in Iron Ore stocks before that petered out too, the bounce very short lived. At least things were a little brighter in energy stocks with Oil Search Limited (A$8.57, +4.8%),Woodside Petroleum Limited (A$38.85, +1.0%),Santos Limited (A$11.94, +2.1%) and Beach Energy Limited (A$1.10, +8.4%) all in a good place. Maybe the snow in the US will help the oil price higher. It certainly will not do much for GDP again. Financials were generally easier except National Australia Bank Limited (A$32.27, +0.5%) after announcing Great Westerns FY14 and Q4 results. Good turnaround today for Woolworths Limited (A$31.60, +1.0%) after a horror start they picked themselves up with some shorts covering to close well in the green .In the end the market had a low of 5292 and a high of 5327 with a close down 12 points to make it 150 odd points for the week and not much respite in sight.

In Industrials building stocks slipped Duluxgroup Limited (A$5.70, -2.6%) were glossed over, James Hardie Industries PLC (A$12.20, -2.3%) panelled in and Csr Limited (A$3.39, -1.5%) clearly weaker. Airports fell, Sydney Airport (A$4.37, -0.5%),Auckland International Airport Limited (A$3.60, -4.0%) and Qantas Airways Limited (A$1.77, -1.1%) gave up some of its gains. UGL Limited (A$2.24, -5.9%) continued its slide and have now fallen from a high of $3.00 at the end of November. Telstra Corporation Limited (A$5.65, -0.5%) has been a beacon of shining light this week but even they threw in the towel today. Gamblers also threw in their hands with TABCORP Holdings Limited (A$4.13, -0.2%),Tatts Group Limited (A$3.41, -0.6%),Aristocrat Leisure Limited (A$6.71, -2.2%) weaker but Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (A$2.46, +2.5%) rang up some cherries for a rare win these days.

Big winners today included New Hope Corporation Limited (A$2.49, +5.1%),Beach Energy Limited (A$1.10, +8.4%),Billabong International Limited (A$0.67, +3.9%),Alumina Limited (A$1.72, +4.2%),Oil Search Limited (A$8.57, +4.8%),Magellan Financial Group Limited (A$14.51, +4.0%) and G8 Education Limited (A$4.60, +2.9%) in the big ones and #PSQ#,Acrux Limited (A$1.28, +22.5%),Data#3 Limited (A$0.735, +12.2%) in the small end. Horror stories continue for Cardno Limited (A$3.61, -24.9%),Auckland International Airport Limited (A$3.60, -4.0%),Metcash Limited (A$2.70, -4.3%),SAI Global Limited (A$3.93, -2.5%),Sandfire Resources NL (A$4.85, -3.4%) and Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (A$25.08, -3.1%) whilst small caps Seymour Whyte Limited (A$1.30, -5.1%),Panoramic Resources Limited (A$0.46, -8.9%),FAR Limited (A$0.086, -10.4%) and UGL Limited (A$2.24, -5.9%)(a small cap!!!) #FLN# continue to slip towards oblivion. Volume was modest at around $3.7bn with the vast majority concentrated in industrials. Resources only managed $600m worth today.

Meanwhile in Asia, Finance Minister Aso came out suggesting that the Yens’ fall had been too quick and that was enough to pull it higher. Equity markets fell away on the currency rise with Tokyo down 0.5% whilst Honkers was positive to the tune of 0.11% and Shankers up 0.83% as I write.

Stocks and Stories

Hell hath no fury like a punter spawned as Cardno Limited (A$3.61, -24.9%) announced a profit downgrade today with new figures expected to come in the range of $27-31m instead of $35m .Yet another former darling biting the dust. Does look a little overdone but then they all are!

Great day to smile about at #PSQ# following news that NIB had sold its holding at $1.30 removing an overhang and opening up the register. Instos very happy buyers. Grins from ear to ear!

Duet Group (A$2.44, -4.0%) completed its entitlement offer at $2.39.

AGM’s today for Myer Holdings Limited (A$1.69, +0.3%),Billabong International Limited (A$0.67, +3.9%) and Kathmandu Holdings Limited (A$2.65, -1.1%) with the latter faring worse on the presentation as it revealed a 18% sales jump but margins under pressure and a more subdued second half. Billabong pulled out a Rachel Hunter story of not happening overnight but it will happen. Eventually. All spoke of challenging retail environs and low consumer confidence .It’s going to be a tough Xmas me thinks.

Talk about bringing home the bacon! Western Sydney Wanderers owner Paul Lederer and private equity firm Affinity have sold ham, bacon and smallgoods producer Primo Smallgoods to Brazilian food giant JBS for $1.45 billion.

New float #BTI# hit the boards today with some lacklustre interest. #SKF# fared much better after the Back door listing and capital raise at 20c.

Tomorrow’s News Today

It’s all about Medibank Public next week. That and the Murray enquiry.

Looks like these guys were flogging a dead horse and knew it. In a surprise move, the UK government has withdrawn its legal challenge to EU legislation that caps the level of bankers’ bonuses.

Dead Duck Obama looks to be on a collision course with the Republicans over his plan for illegal immigrants, shielding 5m from the risk of deportation.

Is this madness. Demand for the $8bn worth of Alibaba Bonds reached $55bn!

Soaring property values pushed the value of Britain’s wealth to £7.6tn in 2013, according to official figures that measure the nation’s total assets minus its debts. The value of homes rose to £4.7tn last year, more than three times their estimated value of £1.4tn in 1997.And we think we have a bubble!

Blackstone Group agreed to buy GE Japan Corp.’s residential-property business for more than 190 billion yen ($1.61 billion) to expand its apartment holdings in Japan. The business being acquired owns and operates more than 200 properties with more than 10,000 residential units, mainly in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. They did similar purchases in the US too. Mainly at the bottom of the market so they know how to pick them.

The chief executive of renowned auction house Sotheby’s, William Ruprecht, is stepping down after 14 years at the helm. Wasn’t he in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Could have sworn his name was Ruprecht!

Three of the Worlds’ top ten economies are now in recession. Japan ,Italy and Brazil.

Have a good weekend

Clarence

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