ASX 200 slips from early highs of 5784 to close up a mere 2 points at 5759 with miners and banks competing for attention. Media stocks did well as did some consumer stocks. Asian markets quiet and barley changed before crucial Fed meeting. Japan down 0.10% and China up 0.01%.


  • Miners the stars of the show today as money flowed from banks to resources. BHP +0.93%, South32 (S32) +4.25% and Fortescue Metals (FMG) +0.65% Western Areas (WSA) +4.46% had a good day on nickel hopes as gold miners also put in some solid gains. Silver Lake (SLR) +7.02% and Westgold (WGX) +% some of the big winners.
  • Energy moved higher as the energy crisis facing South Australia and the rest of the country is focussing attention on the gas sector. Origin Energy (ORG) +2.83%, Woodside (WPL) +0.68%
  • Banks and financials slid with the Big Bank Basket falling to $182.20 after some profit taking in the sector and a rotation to the resource stocks. The speech by assistant governor Michelle Bullock suggesting the RBA would need to do more to curb the housing bubble did nothing to help sentiment. Not that there is a bubble of course. Insurers fared slightly better with gains for QBE Insurance (QBE) +0.71% as higher rates will help.
  • Industrials mixed with consumer stocks doing well. The ‘Digital Sore Thumb’ of Fairfax (FXJ) +2.55% broke through the 100c level. We had a 110c target on it since late February and seems to be attainable. Other media stocks also benefitting with Nine Entertainment (NEC) +3.27% and even TEN +6.98%.
  • Specialty retailers also on shoppers lists with Bapcore (BAP) +2.58%, Beacon Lighting (BLX) +4.55% and Specialty Fashion (SFH) +5.50%. Brickworks (BKW) +7.42% a big winner today after Chairman Robert Milner said the rising cost of energy was pushing the company into offshore manufacturing. It has secured gas supply until 2019 but will pay $20m extra a year for energy.
  • Health care mixed with Fisher and Paykell (FPH) -0.78% suffering a little though Resmed (RMD) +1.17% gained. Mesoblast (MSB) +1.47% look to have broken through resistance at 200c again and could be headed higher.
  • Speculative stocks of the day: Redflow (RFX) +8.89% after the South Australian government moved to address their power problems with a combination of batteries and a new gas fired power station.
  • Medicinal cannabis is the new gold rush. Stemcell United (SCU) +3053.85%% after announcing it was pursuing opportunities in the medicinal cannabis sector. Crazy moves.


  • Coca Cola Amatil (CCL) -1.42% is looking for a new head of Australian Beverages after the surprise departure of Barry O’Connell to return to Europe.
  • Deutsche has six reasons to buy Australian banks.
  • Wesfarmers (WES) -0.23% In a presentation to analysts overnight the UK managing director for Bunnings said to compete in the £38bn UK hardware market the store needed to offer its customers the ability to buy online.


bond 14


  • NAB Business confidence fell to 7 points from 10 points and business conditions fell to 9 points from 16 points. Trading fell to 13 points from 23 points and profitability fell to 11 points from 13 points.

nab 14.png

  • The RBA is concerned that the banks have loosened their lending standards for housing investors. Assistant governor Michele Bullock has conceded that the effect of so-called macroprudential regulations imposed on the banks in 2015 to curb investor lending may be fading.


  • Consumer confidence edged down 0.7% in the week ending 12 March, after falling a sharp 4.4% the previous week, and is now back just above its long run average. The 4-week moving average now sits at its lowest level since May 2016.

 confidenc 14.png


  • In the month of February, China’s industrial production year-on-year is up 6.3% vs. 6.2%.
  • China’s February retail sales, however, came in below Bloomberg’s estimates rising only 9.5% year-on-year vs. 10.6% expected.
  • Chinese home sales rose 23% to US$132bn in January and February. Investment in real estate development gained 8.9% in the first two months, slowing from 11.1% growth in December,


  • The UK Parliament overnight passed legislation allowing the government to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, with the House of Commons overturning amendments from the unelected House of Lords that sought to restrict Prime Minister Theresa May’s room for manoeuvre. The trigger may well be pulled in the next two weeks before the end of March.
  • Scotland is pushing for another Independence vote just to complicate matters.

And finally……

Larry watched, fascinated, as his mother smoothed cold cream on her face.

‘Why do you do that, mum?’ he asked.

‘To make myself beautiful,’ said his mother, who then began removing the cream with a tissue.

‘What’s the matter, asked Larry ‘are you giving up?’



Little Larry attended a horse auction with his father.

He watched as his father moved from horse to horse, running his hands up and down the horse’s legs and rump, and chest.

After a few minutes, Larry asked, ‘Dad, why are you doing that?’

His father replied, ‘Because when I’m buying horses, I have to make sure that they are healthy and in good shape before I buy.


Larry, looking worried, said, ‘Dad, I think the milkman wants to buy Mum …..’





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