ASX 200 rises 50 points to 5913 shrugging off negative leads as banks and miners and especially BHP rally hard despite iron ore falls. Thin volume but the buyers are back, only gold losing its lustre. Asian markets mixed with Japan up 0.74% and China down 0.16%.AUD 74.91c and US Futures up 34 points.

STOCKS AND SECTORS

  • Miners surprised on the upside despite falls in iron ore. BHP +4.64% or a massive 12 points of the gain with a huge push in the last hour or so. Reports of a US hedge fun Elliott Advisers sending letter to the board outlining a plan to release value in BHP.

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  • Rio Tinto (RIO) +1.38% though Fortescue Metals (FMG) -0.16%. Even base metal stocks rose with South32 (S32) +2.41% and Bluescope Steel (BSL) +2.94%. Loses though for Western Areas (WSA) unchanged and Independence Group (IGO) -1.90%.
  • Gold stocks were a casualty today with Ramelius Resources (RMS) -6.03%, Westgold Resources (WGX) -2.95% and Oceanagold Corp (OGC) -3.60%.
  • Energy stocks enjoyed good gains with Woodside (WPL) +0.73%, Oil Search (OSH) +0.94% and Origin Energy (ORG) +1.92%. Coal stocks took a breather with Whitehaven Coal (WHC) +0.30% and Stanmore ((SMR) -5.32%.
  • Banks and financials very strong today with the Big Bank Basket up to $184.32 led by gains in ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) +0.92%. Wealth managers took their cue from BT Investment (BTT) +6.11% and rallied with Henderson Group (HGG) +2.95% and Perpetual (PPT) +2.33%
  • Industrials back in demand AGL Energy (AGL) +3.01% continue to storm ever higher with some good gains in Flight Centre (FLT) +3.66%, REA Group (REA) +1.44%, Orica (ORI) +2.18%, Qube Holdings (QUB) +0.78% and Mantra Group (MTR) +2.82%. Consumer discretionary stocks did well even Harvey Norman (HVN) +1.17% and gaming stocks in the green led by Crown Resorts (CWN) +1.78%.
  • Healthcare stocks a little mixed. Cochlear (COH) -1.21% whilst Resmed (RMD) +0.55% and Healthscope (HSO) +0.90%.
  • IT and Telcos missed out a little although we saw gains for Telstra (TLS) +0.44% on stories of securitisation of the government access fee.
  • Speculative stock of the day: Moelis Australia (MOE) +34.04% as it began its first day as a listed company. Seems the market likes the stock having been 10 times oversubscribed in the float.
  • Biggest loser award goes to the aptly named Reject Shop (TRS) -18.59% this following on from its 35% fall on Friday as the company slashed its forecast and dividend. Broker downgrades margin calls and stop losses killing the stock.

CORPORATE NEWS

  • Ardent Leisure (AAD) +1.03% released an update today on its Main Event business in the US and the Dreamworld numbers for March. Heavy rains have not helped the Queensland theme parks with revenue for the parks down 34.3% at $3.1m for March.
  • WorleyParsons (WOR) +4.08% back in the spotlight as it looks like Dar Group has increased its stake in the company with a parcel of around 15m trading at 1150c. This would bring treh Dar Group’s holding up to 19.9%
  • The takeover of Spotless Group (SPO) +0.46% by Downer EDI (DOW) +0.36% will not be referred to the takeover panel. The panel said today that there was no reasonable prospect it would conclude there were unacceptable circumstances in the bid. The bidder is expected to send out the takeover offer this week.
  • Michael Hill (MHJ) -3.21% issued a trading update today with same store sales growth of 0.8% for 9 months and has expanded its footprint to 18 stores. Trading conditions in Australia and NZ were challenging with Canada the stand out up 7%.
  • Mesoblast (MSB) + 9.88% announced its Phase 3 trial of its allogenic mesenchymal precursor cell product in heart failure was successful in an interim futility analysis of efficacy.
  • Flight Centre (FLT) +3.66% announced it had completed its acquisition of a larger interest in conjunction with Vietnam’s Thien Minh Group (TMG)
  • CIMIC(CIM) +0.97% has won a contract to build the first IKEA store in India worth around $70m.
  • BT Investment (BTT) +6.11% announced FUM of $46.2bn. The inflows were led by institutional demand for the Global Opportunities Strategy as well as other international funds.

BOND CORNER

  • National Australia Bank has raised its rates again for the fifth time in a month. It only applies to new Fixed rate mortgages. The one year fixed rate for residential investment home loans are increased by more than 10bps to 4.29% for principal and interest.

ECONOMIC NEWS

  • Home loan approvals fell 5% in February, brought down by a surprise slide in investor loans. The value of total housing finance fell 2.7% to $32.92bn in the month, while the value of loans approved for owner-occupied housing slipped 0.5% in February andloans for investment housing slumped 5.9%.

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  • US Federal Reserve member James Bullard was speaking in Melbourne today and suggested just one more rate hike would be sufficient this year, but he also said now is a good time to start reducing the Fed’s super-sized $US4.5 trillion balance sheet, which is a form of monetary tightening.

ASIAN NEWS

  • China’s Kweichow Moutai is now the world’s most-valuable liquor distiller, overtaking Johnnie Walker-brand owner Diageo Moutai’s market value reached US$71.5bn in Shanghai rose 55% over the past year

EUROPE AND US

  • Stada Arzneimittel AG said it will back an acquisition offer from private equity firms Bain Capital and Cinven for a deal that values the German drugmaker at about EUR5.32bn. The deal would give the two private equity firms access to German and Russian markets for over-the-counter and generic medicines, yet another step in the consolidation of the generics industry.
  • The UK stockbroking industry is set to undergo a bigger change than the Big Bang as the Markets in Financial Instruments directive (Mifid II) looks set to be written into law in July. The directive means that brokers can only send their research to clients that pay for it. This could well lead to a reduction in research in small and mid-cap stocks.
  • Barclays CEO Jes Staley is facing investigation by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority over claims about the bank’s whistleblowing program. The board has made him take a significant pay cut over the allegations.

And finally….

I came home from golfing today.

The wife left a note on the fridge “It’s not working,I can’t take it anymore
Gone to stay with my Mother.”

I opened the fridge, the light came on, and the beer was cold………
What the hell is she talking about?

Clarence

XXXX

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