ASX 200 slips another 15 points to 5724. Energy financials and telcos weigh. Lendlease and QBE Insurance (QBE) shine. Asian markets weaker with Japan down 0.60% and China down 0.27%. AUD 76.92c and US futures up 31.
Eight down days in a row now as US notches up eleven from eleven up days. Results season winds up tomorrow with an avalanche of company squeaking in before the curt off.
STOCKS AND SECTORS
- Miners lower with a few exceptions. Fortescue Metals (FMG) +1.37%, South 32 (S32) +0.81% and Metals X (MLX) +0.58% with losers including BHP -0.28%, RIO -0.62% and Iluka Resources (ILU) -1.16%.
- Gold stocks followed Canadian gold miners lower despite a higher bullion price. Resolute Mining (RSG) -1.34%, Dacian Gold (DCN) -3.30% and Saracen Mining (SAR) -2.13%.
- Energy slipped led by Woodside Petroleum (WPL) -1.72%, Santos (STO) -4.09% and Oil Search (OSH) -2.49%. Coal stocks too fell away with Yancoal (YAL) -8.82%, New Hope Corp (NHC) -2.87% and Soul Pattinson (SOL) -1.16%
- Banks and financials generally weaker with the Big Bank Basket slipping to $178.91 with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) -0.94% the ugliest duckling. Insurers and wealth mangers also weaker with AMP -%, Henderson Group (HGG) -2.19% and Beston Global (BFC) -12.77%. Insurance Group Australia (IAG) -1.47% though QBE Insurance (QBE) +2.44% was the stand out.
- Industrials mixed again with Cleanaway Waste (CWY) +3.86%, Aurizon Holdings (AZJ) -3.18%. In the gaming sector Aristocrat (ALL) +5.10% rallied as did Crown Resorts (CWN) +2.45% though Ardent Leisure (AAD) -2.12% continue tits weakness together with Flight Centre (FLT) -2.01%. Retail Food Group (RFG) -6.69% continued the slide
- Healthcare feeling better. Fisher and Paykel (FPH) +1.46%, Impedimed (IPD) +5.88%,Mayne Pharma (MYX) +3.05% and Sigma Pharma (SIP) +1.70%
- T. and Telcos saw some good bad and ugly. The good included Nextdc(NXT) +6.74%, Infomedia (IFM) +3.95% and Aconex (ACX) +4.49% whilst 1-Page (1PG) -11.11% and DWS -9.76% together with Isentia (ISD) -3.36% fell into the bad and ugly camp. Telcos fell into the bad camp though as Vocus Group (VOC) -3.28%.TPG Telecom (TPM) -2.34% and Speedcast (SDA) -1.80%
- Speculative stock of the day: Western Mining Network (WMN) +294.12% after an acquisition of a historical cobalt mine. The mine at one stage produced 430,000t of high grade cobalt-nickel which was shipped to England for smelting.
- Adairs (ADH) -14.29% profits fell 35.3% to $8.58m with a 3.5c dividend. A softer Xmas period than expected though with some key trading days underperforming.
- Amaysim (AYS) +3.23% posted a net loss of $23.3m for the December half, from a profit of $3.3m the previous year. Interim dividend of 4c unfranked up from 3.2c last year.
- Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) +5.10% announced the new CEO Trevor Croker had received mandatory approvals. The company also expects growth in NPAT in the range of 20-30%.
- Austal (ASB) -2.27%profits fell 44% to $9.345m from $16.81m.
- Boart Longyear (BLY) -8.00% net loss for the year of $US156.8m ($204.4m) from $US326.3m and EBITDA turned to a profit of $1.6m from a loss of $115.3m
- Cardno (CDD) -9.48% reported a net profit of $6.5m in the first half from a loss of $30.2m in the year ago period, thanks to a $27.6m gain on the sale of discontinued operations, primarily related to XP Solutions. No dividend. On track to meet forecast.
- Commonwealth Bank (CBA) -0.94% set to announce an increase of 47bps, or a rise to 4.73%, on its three-year “special rate” investment loans. The rate on its owner-occupied “special rate” loan is rising by 30 basis points. It is also reintroducing a $600 establishment fee.
- DWS (DWS) -9.76% has entered a binding agreement to buy SMS Management and Technology (SMX) +10.71% for 100c cash and 0.39 DWS shares valuing SMX at 166c.
- Japara Healthcare (JHC) -5.94% after net profits fell to $9.7m from $14.6m. EBITDA rose to $29m and a dividend of 5.5c fully franked.
- Lend Lease (LLC) +3.58% reported a 12% rise in profit after tax of $394.8 million, with an interim unfranked distribution of 33c. construction margin improved by 70bps to 2.7%.
- Macmahon (MAH) -0.00% posted a net loss of $23.3m for the December half, from a profit of $3.3m the previous year. No dividend and the company has recommended shareholders do not accept the takeover offer of 14.5c from Cimic (CIM) -%
- Nanosonics (NAN) +9.02% after the company announced new beneficial requirements for high level disinfection of ultrasound probes.
- QBE Insurance (QBE) +2.44% reported a $844m net profit and a $1bn share buyback over three years, posting a 5% increase in annual profit as improved underwriting, claims management and insurance pricing boosted earnings. Increased its final dividend to 33c. The CEO had his pay cut by $550,000 due to a relationship with his personal assistant.
- Silex (SLX) -7.69% issued an operational update saying the company was still seeking new investors in GLE the global laser enhancements and does have $45m in cash.
- Slater and Gordon (SGH) -21.88% with another round of losses now brings it to $1.3bn and a negative shareholder worth of $126m. Revenue fell to $322.7m and to make matters worse the company is still in negotiations with its lenders. its auditors, Ernst & Young, have also warned of “material uncertainties” relating to the group’s survival.
ABS company profits growth numbers out today:
- Fourth-quarter company operating profits soared 20.1%, well outpacing a predicted rise of 8 % and following a gain of just 1%in the third quarter. Profits were up 26.2% for the year.
- Estimated growth in wages and salaries was 0.5%lower for the quarter but 1.0%higher for the year
- Q4 inventories rose 0.3%in the quarter, coming in below expectations of a 0.5% rise, and following the preceding quarter’s 1% gain. Inventories rose 1.6% over the year.
- Dalian futures are up 4.5% at 723.5 yuan ($US105.23), providing some tailwind for the spot price, which fell 0.9%to $US90.50 a tonne on Friday night. Steel inventory held by Chinese traders fell to 16.29m tonnes as of February 24th, from 16.39m tonnes in the prior week, the first decline since last November.
EUROPE AND US
- UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s team may be preparing for Scotland to potentially call for an independence referendum in March.
- The London Stock Exchange’s merger with Deutsche Börse was thrown into doubt after the LSE’s board said addressing EU competition concerns would be “detrimental” to the business.
- The LSE said the European Commission was unlikely to approve the €24bn (£21bn) deal to create Europe’s largest exchange operator.
- The UK is seen as the third most important country for growth. Investors involved in technology and financial industries in particular, gave a high ranking to the UK.
- The new US administration is set to boost defence spending and slash funding for agencies like the EPA as it prepares its March budget proposal.
Three older ladies were discussing the travails of getting older.
One said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand, in front of the refrigerator, and I can’t remember whether I was taking it out or putting it away.”
The second lady said, “Yes, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs, and I can’t remember whether I was on my up, or on my way down.”
The third lady chimed in, “Well, I’m glad I don’t have those problems. Knock on wood.” With that, she rapped her knuckles on the table, then said, “That must be the door. I’ll get it.”