ASX 200 rallies another 16 points to 5929 well off earlier highs of 5950 as banks and energy stocks take up the running. BHP and Telcos under a little pressure. Asian market weaker led by China down 0.72% and Japan down 0.53%. AUD holding at 75c with US Futures down 20.

STOCKS AND SECTORS

  • Miners weaker as BHP -1.24% replied to the plan from Elliott Advisers on a spin-off of the oil division. Rio Tinto (RIO) +1.96% rose slightly as the DLC structure applies to RIO as well as BHP. Fortescue Metals (FMG) -1.48% looks like it is going to slip below the bottom of the range at 600c. Base metals stocks slid with Oz Minerals (OZL) -2.15% and Sims Metal (SGM) -1.27% another casualty.
  • Gold stocks continue to slip as bullion fails to kick on current geo-political tensions. Regis Resources (RRL) -2.49% Saracen Minerals (SAR) -4.19% though we saw gains in Newcrest (NCM) +0.45% and Evolution Mining (EVN) +1.74%
  • Energy stocks strong with Woodside (WPL) +1.66% at a two year high with Oil Search (OSH) +0.53% and Origin Energy (ORG) +0.13%. Coal miners gave back some recent gains with Whitehaven Coal (WHC) -3.33% and New Hope Corporation (NHC) -1.88%
  • Industrials a mixed bag with some good gains for consumer stocks like Flight Centre (FLT) +1.35%, Crown Resorts (CWN) +0.58%, Domino’s Pizza (DMP) +1.73% and Corporate Travel (CTD) +1.56%. Consumer staples Wesfarmers (WES) -0.34% and Woolworths (WOW) -0.68% were barely changed. Costa Group (CGC) +7.08% surged to an all-time high following broker upgrades on the push into smashed avocados and higher berry prices.
  • Healthcare modestly higher with Cochlear (COH) +0.01% and CSL +0.13%. Mesoblast (MSB) +10.49% was a stand out as momentum continues to push the company higher.
  • IT and Telcos continue to struggle with Vocus Group (VOC) -4.03%, Class Limited (CL1)—0.69%, Objective Corp (OCL) -3.33% and Data #3 (DTL) -3.95%. Telstra (TLS) -0.44% and Amaysim (AYS) +0.77% after a strong start and hitting 207c.
  • Banks and financials the big driver today as Westpac (WBC) +1.22% suggested that capital requirements were not ‘a thing’. The Big Bank Basket hit $185.79 today as it continues to confound the bears. Wealth managers finding friends BT Investment (BTT) +3.81%, Magellan Financial (MFG) +2.43% and Platinum Asset (PTM) +2.44%. The big daddy, Macquarie Group (MQG) +0.73% knocking on the door of 9000c.
  • Speculative stock of the day: Argosy Minerals (AGY)+33.33% announced further progress on stage 1 of its development works for lithium carbonate at the Rincon Lithium JV project in Argentina.

CORPORATE NEWS

  • Woolworths (WOW) -0.68% looks like it is facing a class action led by law firm Maurice Blackburn, which could exceed $100m following the shock profit downgrade in 2015.
  • Oroton Group (ORL) +0.62% following news that he CEO had stepped down effective immediately after the 52% slide in profits recently. The interim CEO will be Ross Lane who ran Oroton from 1996 to 2006.
  • Bingo is on, with the new IPO covered at the bottom of the range of 175c. It will be the largest IPO this year and more will be known by the close today as to the pricing with bids up to 210c a share called for.

BOND CORNER

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ECONOMIC NEWS

The latest NAB Monthly Business Survey reveals business conditions rose 5 points to 14 points in March, while the reading on sentiment eased 1 point to a modest reading of +6. This is the bets survey since the GFC.

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ANZ- Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Survey

Headline consumer confidence jumped by 3.3% last week, more than reversing the previous week’s fall. The four-week average climbed 0.4ppt to 112.9 to be in line with the long-term trend.

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ASIAN NEWS

  • HSBC Holdings has told that it’s in default on a $200m loan agreement. The Huishan Dairy statement also said that courts in Shanghai froze about 546 million yuan (US$79 million) of assets held by Huishan, its subsidiaries and by Huishan Chairman Yang Kai and his wife, following an application from Chinese money manager Gopher Asset Management Co. The stock fell 85% on March 24th and has been suspended since. US hedge fund Muddy Waters targeted this company back in December with a zero valuation on it.
  • A report out today forecast that the population of Japan will fall by 88m by 2065.
  • An oil pipeline to southwestern China from Myannmar began today allowing China to receive oil supplies faster from the Middle East and Africa. The route to avoid the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea is part of the One Belt One Road infrastructure project.
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EUROPE AND US

In the UK, today’s inflation data is expected to show consumer prices rose by 2.3% in the 12 months to March. Consumer spending grew by 4.6% in March compared with the same month of 2016 with entertainment spending up 11.6%, restaurant payments rising 12.2% and spending on pub visits increasing by 12.5%.

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And finally…..

A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, “Relatives of yours?” “Yep,” the wife replied, “in-laws.”

 

A man in Scotland calls his son in London the day before Christmas Eve and says,“I hate to ruin your day but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.” ‘

Dad, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.

“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer” the father says. “We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Leeds and tell her.”

Franticly, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “Like hell they’re getting divorced!” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this!”

She calls Scotland immediately, and screams at her father “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow.Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. ‘Sorted! They’re coming for Christmas – and they’re paying their own way.’

Clarence

XXXX

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NT Markets

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