ASX 200 rallies from an early low of 5728 to rally 15 points as banks turn around and iron ore miners back in fashion. REITs also recover their mojo temporarily. Asian markets mixed with Japan down 0.33% and China down +0.12%. AUD 75.72c and US Futures up 34 points.

STOCKS AND SECTORS

  • Miners rescued the markets today as iron ore futures in China once again surprised to the upside hitting a two-week high. BHP +1.47%, Fortescue Metals (FMG) +5.65% and RIO Tinto (RIO) +2.24% all showing solid gains as buyers stepped back in. OZ Minerals (OZL) +3.98% also look like turning the corner after some recent weakness. Other base metal stocks remained on the nose a little with South32 (S32) unchanged and Independence Group (IGO) -2.00%. Lithium stocks continued to be sold down as the shorters are enjoying the game. Orocobre (ORE) -3.24% suffering badly.
  • Gold miners gave up recent gains with Newcrest (NCM) -0.96%, St Barbara (SBM) -4.62% and Gold Road (GOR) -1.74%
  • Energy stocks showing some signs of life as the oil price finds a bottom. Origin Energy (ORG) +0.46% and Oil Search (OSH) +1.18% doing ok but Senex Energy (SXY) -2.90% gave back some of yesterdays’ gains.
  • Industrials mixed to say the least. Consumer stocks fell as the market awaits the Myer (MYR)+0.44% numbers tomorrow and discretionary spend stocks also slipped Lovisa Holdings (LOV) -0.89% after a near 10% fall early and Gazal (GZL) -4.35%.
  • Banks and Financials stage a late turn around with the Big Bank Basket $184.42 after earlier losses were erased into the close. QBE Insurance (QBE) +1.64% benefitting from the rate increase talk in the US tonight. Challenger (CGF) +1.92% cannot put a foot wrong.
  • Healthcare stocks weighed CSL -0.10%, Cochlear (COH) -1.41% ex -dividend didn’t help but ResMed (RMD) -1.37%, Healthscope (HSO) -1.34% and Mayne Pharma (MYX) -1.55% also weighed.
  • IT and Telcos trying hard to recover some mojo. Telstra (TLS) +0.64% pitched in with its best day for a long time. Chorus (CNU) +2.15% too chimed in though Vocus (VOC) -0.70% and TPG (TPM) -0.15% failed to catch the optimism wave. IT stocks firmed with Wisetech (WTC) +6.36%, Praemium (PPS) +7.35% and Xero (XRO) +1.74% all doing well.
  • Speculative stocks of the day: Stemcell United (SCU) -9.76% after the company clarified the announcement yesterday which sent the stock racing from 1.3c to 41c last night and over 100c today. Volume again strong as speculators created a feeding frenzy. The ‘King of Cannabis’ who has been advising them on medicinal cannabis opportunities creating a market cap of over $200m at it high.

CORPORATE NEWS

  • In the UK, the Macquarie Group (MQG) +0.22% was christened the Vampire Kangaroo over its shareholding in Thames Water. The company has sold its final stake now for $2.4bn to Canadian Pension fund Omers and the Kuwait Investment Authority. The bank was in the limelight as it is trying to buy the UK governments Green Bank. The bank has been criticised in the UKL for its high debt low tax model and shareholders at the expense of customers, hence the nickname.
  • Both ANZ +0.50% and Westpac (WBC) -0.23% have been slapped with a enforceable undertaking from ASIC over their alleged spot FX issues back in the day. To show that ASICX mean business the banks have also given $3m each to various charities and a Financial Literacy program.
  • iSelect (ISU) unchanged after founder and director Damien Waller decided to retire to pursue other business interests.
  • Hot cannabis stock MGC Pharmaceuticals (MGC) has tapped investors for some more money with a $10m equity raising at 6.5c. Would expect the company to be overwhelmed by demand given the feeding frenzy in cannabis stocks at the moment. Reminds me of infant baby formula. Those were the days.
  • Blue Ocean Equities is raising $14.6m for MOD Resources (MOD) at 6.2c a 16% discount to the current price. MOD Resources is as ASX-listed copper company exploring in the Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana.

ECONOMIC NEWS

  • Sales of new vehicles fell sharply in February to end two months of gains. ABS data showed sales dropped 2.7%in February from January, when they increased by 0.5%. Sales of 94,786 vehicles were down 4.1% on February last year.
  • The Melbourne Institute and Westpac released their consumer sentiment numbers today showing sentiment edged up by 0.1% in March, from February when it climbed 2.3%.That left the index at 99.7, just below the level where the number of optimists matches pessimists.

ASIAN NEWS

  • Toshiba fell another 13% after it said it would consider a sale of Westinghouse but did not offer any clarity on whether it would proceed with a Chapter 11 filing for the US nuclear unit – a move that could stem losses.
  • As the Chinese National People’s Congress wraps up Premier Li Keqiang has said there are bright prospects for cooperation with president Trump. “We don’t want to see a trade war,” Li said, adding that China will keep opening its door. Li said domestic risks must be taken seriously, especially in the financial sector, and that authorities will take targeted measures to keep them from spreading.

EUROPE AND US

  • No certainties in the Dutch election except that whoever wins will be good looking.
  • Charlotte Hogg has resigned as deputy governor of the Bank of England less than two weeks into the role after failing to disclose that her brother holds a senior position at Barclays. Ms Hogg was considered as a replacement for Mark Carney at one point.
  • Gin, non-dairy milk and bicycle helmets will all be included in the UK’s official measure of CPI from this month, reflecting the rising popularity of “hipster” consumer goods.

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?’
 

Larry’s class were on a field trip to their local police station where they saw pictures tacked to a bulletin board of the 10 most wanted criminals.

One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a wanted person.

‘Yes,’ said the policeman. ‘The detectives want very badly to capture him’

Larry asked, “Why didn’t you keep him when you took his picture?”
Clarence

XXX

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