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A snapshot of today:

 

What happened today?

ASX 200 down 47.1 points at 5108 as energy and material stocks once again collapse. Woodside walks as oil falls to a seven-year low. Business and consumer confidence perk up. China down 1.2% and Japan off 1%. US futures down 66.

It was never going to be pretty after the falls in commodity prices but could have been worse. Actually, it was in energy and iron ore miners. Our complete capitulation of the 80-point gain yesterday was a sign of things to come as resources continue to weigh.

News from Woodside (WPL) -3.96% that they had given up the ghost on Oil Search (OSH) -16.36% did nothing to help confidence as energy shares were hit hard. Material stocks also in the split hairs with BHP down over 5% and nearly below 1700 cents. It has been a huge fall from grace for the ‘not so big Australian’ this year and yet they continue to remain optimistic and digging record amounts of dirt. Love their bravado. Unfortunately, most analysts have been telling clients to buy them all the way down, so no one has any fire power left. Same goes with energy stocks, the poor deluded fools. It is only in the last decade that oil has got above $35, so it could get really ugly.

The market did slip under 5100 briefly before the better Chinese trade data lifted the spirits slightly to hit a high of 5139 before rolling over again and closing near its lows. US Futures showing further losses not at all helpful.

  • The big four banks and other financials did buck the trend as National Bank (NAB) -0.85% outlined its IPO and demerger proposal for Clydesdale Bank.Commonwealth Bank (CBA) -0.46% was the best performer of the four as insurers fell led by QBE-1.43%. REITS were once again a shining beacon of green fluorescence, Mirvac (MGR) +2.67% and Westfield Corp (WFD) +2.22%.
  • Infrastructure stocks bounced on the lower oil price. More cars on roads help their toll numbers. Sydney Airport (SYD) +1.45% and Qantas (QAN) +4.89% withTransurban (TCL)+2.41 finally bouncing as the pressure from the rights issue comes to an end today with rights up 200% on a 2.41% bounce in the stock.
  • Telcos also managed to stay green, Telstra (TLS) +0.75% and Speedcast(SDA)+3.86% bucked the sellers. Healthcare also tried its best to stay helathy, CSL+0.27%, Cochlear (COH) +0.24% and Healthscope (HSO) +1.22%.
  • Resources and Energy stocks were a sea of red today. Big names seemed to be worse hit than second liners. Portfolio selling in South32 (S32) -8.04% and BHP-5.23% simultaneously was aggressive with RIO -4.29% and Fortescue Mining (FMG) -2.96% all down hard too whilst Independence Group (IGO)-7.26%, Iluka Resources (ILU) -6.03% and Western Areas (WSA) -5.49% suffered in sympathy.Oz Minerals(OZL)+2.54% managed to buck the trend surprisingly but golds were mixed Newcrest (NCM) -0.84%, Oceana Gold Corp (OGC) -4.15%, Silver Lake(SLR)-10.81% but Evolution Mining (EVN) +2.75% and Northern Star (NST) +2.42% showed their class today.
  • In the energy sector it was a bloodbath, Santos (STO) -13.12%, Oil Search (OSH) -16.36% and  Beach Energy (BPT)-5.38 the hardest hit.
  • Recent real estate float John McGrath (MEA) -6.27% had another forgettable day after the IPO continued to sink from its 210 cent issue price.
  • Slater and Gordon (SGH) -12.61% is now the day traders plaything but the short positions have been unwound to only 12% of the shares.

Corporate News

  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL) -3.96% announced today that it has withdrawn its bid for Oil Search(OSH) -16.36%.
  • South32 (S32)-8.04% revealed plans today to drop their UK listing as early as mid-2016.
  • Broadspectrum (BRS) -4.38% the old Transfield Services who run our detention centres, has delayed their response to the Ferrovial bid at 135 cents. It will be tricky to recommend a lower bid than the one only 12 months ago at 200 cents a share. Sure they will try though. Major shareholder Allan Gray sitting on nearly 19% is the key.
  • IAG -1.4% has shuffled the deckchairs today with news that Andy Cornish, personal insurance boss, is leaving.
  • Transurban (TCL) +2.41% welcomed the announcement from the Victorian Government to progress the Western Distributor through to exclusive negotiations. TCL hopes to reach an agreement by mid-2016.
  • Clive Palmer, remember him, has lost in a Supreme Court bid to extract $65m from his estranged Chinese partner to keep his Townsville Nickel refinery business viable.
  • Spotless Group (SPO) +7.51% issued an investor update adding some colour and clarity to its recent profit downgrade. Obviously analsysts were happy with the news.

Economic News

  • Business confidence rebounded in November and conditions remain above average, suggesting the economic transition is on track. NAB’s latest monthly business survey found sentiment improved last month, after dipping in October.
  • Allan Moss has been appointed to the Reserve Bank board today to replace Roger Corbett as he has his hands full with Woolworths at the moment.
  • Seems the Aussie dollar has finally succumbed to gravity. It could only stay firm for so long after all. Canadian dollar in lock step.

In Asia

  • China November Retail Auto Sales Rise 17.6% on Year.
  • China’s exports fell for a fifth month and a slump in imports extended to a record 13 months as trade slows along with the world’s second-largest economy. November exports fell 3.7 % from a year earlier in yuan-denominated terms, while imports fell 5.6 %.

Slumping trade, hidden problem.

  • Japan’s economy dodged a recession in July-September with revised government data showing gross domestic product rose at a 1.0 % annualised rate, up from a preliminary reading of a 0.8 % contraction. Meanwhile, the country posted a current account surplus for the 16th straight month in October.

Tuesday’s revised GDP figures released by the Cabinet Office also show that:

  • Business spending rose 0.6 %, compared with the 1.3 % decline initially estimated.
  • Private consumption advanced by 0.4 % from the previous quarter.
  • Private inventories subtracted 0.2 % point from the growth, less than the 0.5 % point initially thought.

In Europe and the US

  • FTSE +6 points.
  • DAX +6 points.
  • CAC +43 points.

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NT Markets

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