ASX 200 rises 2.3 points to 5109 as BHP bounces along with energy and consumer health sectors. Asian markets mixed with Japan down 0.98% and China up 2.46%. US March Futures +66. Brent oil falls to the lowest since July 2004.

Considering the huge falls on US markets in the post-Yellen euphoric days, we have performed very well. The Dow has lost 700 points in two days whilst the ASX200 is relatively unchanged. A loss from the opening brought the bargain hunters out as strength in iron ore and metals spilled into the market with gold stocks and even BHP +1.54% rallying. However, volume was very low as it appears a lot of market players have left for the coast. The themes of 2015 were played out again with ‘clean and green’ rising strongly. Bellamy’s (BAL) +5.45% and Blackmores (BKL) +5.00% continued to astound after hitting an all-time high around $220.

We had a low of 5075 and a high of 5126 for the day. Tonight will be crucial for the US markets and will determine if the recent falls were linked to the huge Quadruple Witching or the start of something more worrying. Jury is out.

Looks like the last decade has been the road to nowhere for the ASX200 as we limp into a 6% fall for 2015 for the worst year since the GFC.

  • In the sectors today healthcare continued to lose friends with Estia Health (EHE) -2.22%, Ramsay Health (RHC) -1.2%, Healthscope (HSO)-1.92% and Pacific Smiles (PSQ)-3.64%.
  • Financials were mixed as both Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) +1.17% and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) +0.43% bucked the trend down. REITS were also mixed – Mirvac Group (MGR) +0.51% a positive in a sea of small losses.
  • Energy stocks were surprisingly firm given the falls in the oil price. Santos (STO) +4.05%, Oil Search (OSH) +1.16% and Woodside (WPL)+1.42%. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) +8.76% were a stand out today as were serial underperformer (WOR)+3.01%. The energy sector has fallen 35% this year.
  • Resource stocks were better, Sims Metal (SGM) +2.17%, Fortescue Mining (FMG) +2.61%, RIO +0.99% and BHP +1.54% all better. Golds were generally much firmer, St Barbara (SBM) +6.98% shot the lights out but others were not so well liked. OceanaGold Corp (OGC) -7.27% and Regis Resources (RRL) -2.98%.
  • In industrials Slater and Gordon (SGH) +7.83% had an interesting day, given a fall to 75.5 cents before closing at 89.5 cents.
  • Recent IPO Class (CL1) +37.59% to continued to soar 194c following its listing a few days ago at 100c.
  • Market darling A2Milk (A2M) +14.08% also continued to trend higher following the profit upgrade last week. In the rest of the wining and dining sector, Costa Group (CGC) +6.07% also put in a solid performance.
  • Speculative stock of the Day was Dakota Minerals (DKO) +231.8% following a move into lithium and an investor presentation.

Corporate News

  • Crown Resorts (CWN) +4.1% today on news that James Packer is stepping down as a director of Crown. The school of thought is that he is stepping down to allow his private company to make a bid for the casino group either in whole or for selective pieces of Crown.
  • Telstra (TLS) -0.7% announced a deal to service and maintain the HFC network that it already runs. The contract is worth around $80m over the next few years.
  • Westfield (WFD) +1.24% has sold five shopping malls in the US for $US1.1bn to reduce gearing and fund a property development program. The sale, along with another transaction in November, would give Westfield about $US1bn in net proceeds and reduce gearing – its debt as a percentage of equity capital – by 3%.
  • Broadspectrum (BRS) +3.54% has upgraded its earnings guidance, claiming it is “performing well” as suitor Ferrovial prepares to open its hostile $715m takeover offer to shareholders. The company said full year EBITDA was expected to be between $265 million and $285 million.

Economic News

  • Iron ore has jumped back to almost $40 a tonne.
  • Iron ore port inventory rising sharply.

In Asia

  • Japan had its biggest two-day loss since September as the Yen gained the lost in a week.

Ahead in Europe and US

  • Spanish government bonds may open lower on Monday after an indecisive election that left Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy with limited options to forge a governing majority. While Rajoy’s People’s Party placed first in Sunday’s election, earning the right to try and form government, the results suggest the only party able to form a majority with them in the 350-member parliament would be historic rivals, the Socialists.
  • Apple is now down 21% from its recent high and has lost a huge $160bn in market cap. The fall is bigger than 477 companies in the S&P 500.
  • US politicians have approved a measure to lift the 40-year ban on crude oil exports. The move is part of a US$1.1 trillion spending bill approved by the Senate on Friday that will fund the US government until 2016.
  • Inflation has never been this low in the advanced world since WW11. Every G& country has inflation below 2%.

  • FTSE -36 points.
  • DAX -150 points.
  • CAC -52 points.



NT Markets

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