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What happened today?
The ASX 200 closed down 54 points. Greece? Are we there yet? Seems not.
Is this the capital of Greece? 1Euro!
After two days of calm on the Greek issue, once again we are whacked by fears of Greece.We opened badly and with corporate news continuing to bombard the nervous market we continued to slip away ,culminating in a close at the low for the day. Traders whacked 10 points of the market on the match out. Volume was not particularly huge at around $5bn for a move this big.
It was all about Greece again as unfortunately we will continue to talk about it forever. The sad truth is that the German and French banks and others lent too much money to Greece on the belief that the great Euro experiment cannot possibly go wrong. Goldman Sachs fudged the books worse than Bernie Madoff and everyone lent them increasingly large amounts of money at super stupid rates. Now they want the interest back to enable them to lend them more money. Is this just me or is this completely stupid?
The Greek government is playing an almighty game of chicken and the real issue should be, how do they renegotiate the current loans to get to a situation where they have a half chance of ever paying them back.
And so we now enter what we call ‘Gredlock’.We have had ‘Grexit’ and ‘Grimbo’ (that’s limbo) and now we have both parties at complete loggerheads. Greece is basing its new cunning plan on tax increases for larger companies and the wealthy. Trouble is the wealthy are wealthy because they pay as little tax as they can and move to places that do not tax them. Andlet’s face it, the Greek Tax Collector has hardly got a brilliant track record of shaking the people upside down and watching the money fall out. And so it continues.
The market skidded 10 points lower on the close as the banks couldn’t quite hold things up and having been down 35-45 points, it fell on the match out, to be down 54 points. We have had a procession of bad news this week from Corporate Team Australia. Seemed that nowhere was safe as once blue chip stocks got a taste of investor backlash. Flightcentre and Slater and Gordon were the worst this week but others were happy to join in. Woolworths (WOW) -1.2% and Wesfarmers (WOW) -1.35% continue to languish, luckily financials are holding well.
Banks continued to outperform with National Bank (NAB) -0.02% and Commonwealth Bank(CBA) +0.11% nearly bucking the pessimism. In resource land, BHP +0.14% and RIO +0.07% held up well with the Iron Ore price improving but Fortescue Metals (FMG) -3.64% did not fare quite so well. Gold and other metal stocks gave back recent gains.
Slater and Gordon (SGH) -17.46% were sent reeling again today after revelations that the company they have bought in the UK, Quindells and is listed on AIM is now under investigation from UK authorities. Despite repeated denials about problems with the business and their accountants, it is being hammered by bears as they do their stuff in the woods. When the deal was announced the company touted that it was a company maker. That’s maker not breaker I hope.
Slater and Gordon in free fall
One of the big winners today and for the year has been Capilano Honey (CZZ) + 4.9% and +100% for the year. The theme of the emerging middle class and their nutritional desires is a massive driver in the sector. Ask Blackmores (BKL) up from 2800c to nearly 8000c for the year.
Shareholders in Atlas Iron (AGO) have backed the junior iron ore miner’s $180 million capital raising, strengthening its balance sheet and cementing a company-saving agreement with its contractors. Along with the 5c right issue to raise the required capital they are also giving shareholders a one for one option at 7.5c expiring in June 2017.This one is destined to become an absolute punters special over the next two years as its gearing to an increasing Iron Ore price will be very attractive.
Renewed confidence today in the IPO pipeline as Costa Group is seeking to raise $541m to $637.4m in an initial public offering which would see it list with up to $839.4m market capitalisation, the IPO was priced at $2.20 to $2.70 a share which was 14.8-times to 17.6-times forecast 2016 financial year net profit after tax.
Mining services has not been a happy hunting ground over the last two years but at leastMacmahon (MAH) + 47.83% finally had something to cheer about as it sold off its Mongolian coal contract for US$65.Hardly a great win though as they had forecast around $100m of revenue in 2015 alone from this contract. But any good news in the sector is celebrated at the moment. The cash they receive is bigger than their market cap yesterday.
A couple of the small miners had a good day today with Talisman Resources (TLM) + 23.08% announcing some great results in their joint venture with big brother Sandfire Resources (SFR) + 2.95%.However they were well off their highs..Assay results from the Springfield project” have found copper grades as high as 18.9 per cent in stretches of up to 16 metres. This is comparable to the original DeGrussa results from Sandfire. The rest of the sector did not fare so well with Oz Minerals (OZL)- 5.1% Western Areas (WSA)- 6.61% and Independence Group (IGO)-3.4% all representative of the falls.
On economic news today, Job vacancies in rose 2.0 per cent in the three months to May to hit their highest since late 2012.ABS data showed total job vacancies rose to 155,800 seasonally adjusted in the May quarter, from an upwardly revised 152,700 in the three months to February. That left vacancies up 6.3 per cent on the May quarter of last year.
Household wealth in Australia rose by $232 billion in the March quarter mostly due to an increase in assets such as shares and housing. The rise in wealth was the result of a $262 billion increase in the value of household assets, offset by $30 billion rise in liabilities, mostly debt. The biggest category of assets was land, which rose by $76 billion to $3.70 trillion, and the dwellings sitting on it, which rose by $20 billion to $1.75 trillion.
Below is a chart of the forecasts for the US GDP. Food for thought for Janet Yellen as she mulls over any upcoming rate rise.
Asian markets were mixed with the Nikkei (-0.1%) sliding back from their recent 18 year highs whilst the roller coaster ride in China (-0.37%) of recent sessions seems to be settling down.
Tech shares though seem to be having some issues of their own with recent listings like the Beijing Shiji Information Technology which has lost 31 percent since June 2, wiping out $3.5 billion of value. The stock still trades at more than 100 times earnings though!
Options expiry day today so expect unusually high volumes tomorrow and perhaps some book squaring pre another long weekend for finance ministers and the Greek government.