ASX 200 did well today to buck the 14 points of downdraft of the CBA dividend to close up 14 points at 5805. Results the focus with winners and losers scattered in sectors. BHP and Fortescue Metals (FMG) failed to inspire but industrials and health stocks shine. Asian markets ease with Japan down 0.15% and China down 0.16%. AUD still stuck around 76.92c and US Futures up 27.
STOCKS AND SECTORS
- Miners in profit taking mode despite a knockout result from both BHP –0.67% and Fortescue Metals (FMG) -2.65%. Base metal stocks also got hit with Independence Group (IGO) -3.29%, Lynas Group (LYC) -12.50%, Sandfire Resources (SFR) -1.31% and Oz Minerals (OZL) unchanged.
- Energy had one or two bright spots in Origin Energy (ORG) +1.16% and Oil Search (OSH) +4.91% though coal and uranium stocks eased. ERA -13.19%, Paladin Energy (PDN) -8.00% and New Hope (NHC) -3.30%
- Gold miners felt the pain after falls in the bullion price last night on a strengthening USD. Saracen Mineral (SAR) -6.50%, Westgold (WGX) -4.69% and Resolute Mining (RSG) -2.21%
- Banks and financials weaker today with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) -2.59% as it went Ex- Dividend by 199c. ANZ +0.62% though did well with National Australia Bank (NAB) +0.75%. Wealth managers not so flash though Magellan Financial (MFG) -0.86%, AMP -3.74% and Platinum Asset (PTM) -0.61%
- Industrials dominated by results today. Generally, better though with consumer staples Wesfarmers (WES) +1.82% and Woolworths (WOW) +4.43%. Nasty falls in Chinese facing food stocks like A2Milk (A2M) -3.96%, Bellamy’s (BAL) -1.68% and Webster (WBA) -2.19%
- Healthcare attracted buyers again with Healthscope (HSO) +5.80% and pathology stocks following its path. Sonic Healthcare +2.61%, Ramsay Healthcare (RHC) +1.80% and CSL +1.05%.
- IT and Telcos very mixed. Isentia (ISD) -35.43%, Wistetech Global (WTC) +9.22%, Altium (ALU) -2.62% and Praemium (PPS) -10.23%. In the telcos, Telstra (TLS) +0.41% whilst both Vocus Group (VOC) +9.32% and TPG Telecom (TPM) +4.01% were back with buyers covering recent shorts.
- Speculative stock of the day: Broken Hill Prospecting (BPL) +24.49% possibly after our write up yesterday on cobalt stocks but more likely not. The company answered a ASX query. Maybe more to do with its recent spinoff of Cobalt Blue (COB) +4.35%, still 49% owned by BPL.
- The horror. ISentia (ISD) -35.43% fell into a hole and could not climb out as profit surged 82.5% to $18.7m. Problem is EBITDA fell 13% and the King Content business is a fiasco. Not a good look and outlook downgraded. Yet they paid a dividend. Of 3.1c. A bridge too far to cut that it seems. Debt at $56m too.
- Coca Cola Amatil (CCL)+5.65% announced the closure of its Adelaide plant, a$150m buy back and a write down of its SPC business again. Profit fell to $257.3m from $403.4m. Revenue rose 1.3% to $5.25bn.
- APN Outdoor (APO) +0.16% net profit rose 18% to $48.4m. Revenue rose 10% to $331m, beating its expectation of 8.5% to 9% Final dividend of 12.5c up 14%.
- Fairfax Media (FXJ) +8.05% the digital sore thumb as we called it a few weeks ago stood out today with news that the company is going to spin off the Domain business into a separate listing. Results were irrelevant to the bigger story but interim profit came in at $83.75m on a fall of 4.7% in revenue. Domain the standout.
- McMillan Shakespeare (MMS) +8.41% said its consolidated underlying net profit after tax and acquisition and amortisation was $42.1m a 1% increase with net profit up from $38.9m
- Steadfast Insurance (SDA) +2.36% half-year profit is down 3% to $37.9m. Underlying net profit climbed 13% to $30 m. Final dividend up by 8% to 2.6c.
- Western Areas (WSA) -1.55% back in the black with a profit of $516,000 on a 7.1% revenue gain. EBITDA up 58% to $29.4m.
- Healthscope (HSO) +5.80% net profit fell 7% to $90.5m with a dividend of 3.5c declared unchanged. Positive outlook statement helped though with CEO saying “we expect the rate of growth in Hospitals Operating EBITDA in the second half to be similar to the first half.”
- Amcor (AMC) +0.77% spin off Pact Group (PGH) +0.45% said net profit rose 20% in the first half to $50.2m and revenue jumped 6 % to $727.4m. Interim dividend raised to 11.5c up 15% from last year. Outlook remains unchanged.
- Qube Holdings (QUB) -0.42% net profit fell 2.4% from $49m to $47.8m. 2.7c fully franked dividend.
- Fortescue Metals (FMG) -2.65% after releasing a stunning result of US$1.22bn in profit and a 20c dividend. Revenue rose 34% to US$4.492bn and costs remain US$12-13 WMT and eth outlook is bright Nev Power is wearing shades.
- Woolworths (WOW)+4.43% reported a 16.7% fall in profits to $785.7m but that was not enough to take the wind out of the sales which now appear to be growing faster than Coles. Dividend of 34c down from 44c but turnaround was the theme. Market responded accordingly. Big W a “work in progress”.
- Vocus Group (VOC) +9.32% reported a bumper profit up 403% as the acquisitions last night start to drive earnings. Net profit up to $47.2m and it seems the acquisition integration is going well.
- Blackmore (BKL) -10.34% suffered a serious slowdown in its Australian business with a 41.7% fall in profits top $28.2m Sales were down 5.7%. Australian retail is the issue as the buying of vitamins and shipping them in suitcases to China seems to be long gone. Interim dividend of 130c.
- Woodside (WPL) +0.10% after announcing a profit of US$868m up from US$26m a year ago. Final dividend of US49c. Costs out and increasing production and a positive outlook statement.
- Sirtex (SRX) +2.34% said after tax profit for the half ended December fell 19.8%to $20.8 million on revenue of $112.8 million, up 0.2%on the previous year.
- The federal government has sold $11bn of notes maturing in November 2028, its biggest-ever bond transaction. The November 2028 securities were priced to yield 3.005%. It exceeds the $9.3bn issued at a sale of December 2021 notes last month and the $7.6bn from last October’s debut 30-year deal.
- Hong Kong Budget today- Biggest losers’ electric cars as the waiver of rego is capped at HK$97,500.
- Melco has pledge to spend ‘whatever it takes’ on a Japanese casino. “This opportunity is priceless and we’ll spend whatever it takes to win,” Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Ho said with numbers as high as $10bn spent to build an integrated resort after the Japanese government legalised casinos in December.
EUROPE AND US
- HSBC is facing a probe in the UK into anti-money laundering controls adding insult to injury after profits fell 62% last night.
- The US Treasury secretary has called on the IMF to monitor currencies.
BBC News – Suicide Bombers Go On Strike
Suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Wednesday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife.
Emergency talks with Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an agreement.
The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death would be cut by 25% this February from 72 to 54. A spokesman said increases in recent years in the number of suicide bombings has resulted in a shortage of virgins in the afterlife.
The suicide bombers’ union, the British Organization of Occupational Martyrs ( B.O.O.M.) responded with a statement saying the move was unacceptable to its members and called for a strike vote. General Secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, “Our members are literally working themselves to death in the cause of Jihad. We don’t ask for much in return but to be treated like this is like a kick in the teeth”.
Speaking from his shed in Tipton in the West Midlands, Al Qaeda chief executive Haisheet Mapants explained, “I sympathize with our workers concerns but Al Qaeda is simply not in a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the realities of modern-day Jihad in a competitive marketplace. Thanks to Western depravity, there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the afterlife. It’s a straight choice between reducing expenditures or laying people off. I don’t like cutting benefits but I’d hate to have to tell 3,000 of my staff that they won’t be able to blow themselves up.”
Spokespersons for the union in the North East of England, Ireland, Wales and the entire Australian continent stated that the change would not hurt their membership as there are so few virgins in their areas anyway.
According to some industry sources, the recent drop in the number of suicide bombings has been attributed to the emergence of Scottish singing star, Susan Boyle. Many Jihadists now know what a virgin looks like and have reconsidered their benefit packages.