Sorry been away! Did you miss me?

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ASX 200 sinks 31 points to 5840 as banks hit with rumours of levy in the budget tonight. Commonwealth Bank numbers uninspiring as sector under pressure. Miners and Telstra provide some positive news as poor retail figures dent confidence. Asian markets modestly weaker with China down 0.42% and Japan flatlining. AUD continues to slide lower now 73.55c and US futures down 6.

STOCKS AND SECTORS

  • Banks and financials: Another bad day for the sector following disappointing Commonwealth Bank (CBA) -3.85% results. The Big Bank Basket has now fallen from its high around $190 to $176.48 today. ANZ -2.64%, National Bank (NAB) -2.05% and Westpac Bank (WBC) -3.52%. The big four have lost around $30bn in market cap in one week. ANZ has been the worst hit down 11%. Banks were hit extra hard today with a story on Sky Business that they would be hit with a new levy on institutional loans with the money raised to go towards the improved NDIS. We will know more this evening in the budget.
  • Miners turned mildly positive with BHP +0.83%, RIO +0.53% and Fortescue Metals (FMG) -0.20%. Some base metals stocks did ok, Alumina (AWC) +2.37%, South32 (S32) +1.49% and Western Areas (WSA) unchanged but it was hardly convincing. Gold stocks back in black St Barbara (SBM) +4.92%, Resolute Mining (RSG) +2.61% and Northern Star (NST) +79%.
  • Energy stocks continuing to move higher Woodside Petroleum (WPL) +0.75%, and Origin Energy (ORG) +2.64%. AWE +6.67% up slightly after some media speculation that Beach Energy (BPT) -0.71% may be interested in the stock, Santos (STO) +2.23%.
  • Industrials mainly better Brambles (BXB) +1.86%, CIMIC Group (CIM) +1.60%, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) +2.29%, Qantas (QAN) +1.50% and Sydney Airport (SYD) +0.97%. A2Milk (A2M) +3.09%, Inghams (ING) +1.28% and Bellamy’s Australia (BAL) +5.17%
  • Retailers suffering again with JB Hi-Fi (JBH) -4.39% pronounced a top short at a New York hedge fund conference. Harvey Norman (HVN) -3.50%, Kathmandu Holdings (KMD) +1.30% and Myer (MYR) -1.50%.
  • Healthcare trod water today with no real winners or losers. Perhaps the budget tonight will throw a light on the sector.
  • IT and telcos back in favour with the behemoth Telstra (TLS) +2.30% followed by TPG Telecom (TPM) +0.86% and Vocus Group (VOC) +0.82%. In tech stocks Link Admin (LNK) +1.15%, Technology One (TNE) +1.43% and MYOB (MYO) +3.32%.
  • Speculative stock of the day: Zoono Group (ZNO) +114.29% after relisting the old Goldsearch listing having raised $7m to acquire Zoono which develops environmentally friendly antimicrobial solutions for skin care and acne.

CORPORATE NEWS

  • Commonwealth Bank (CBA) -3.85% Cash earnings for the quarter were $2.4bn which was slightly weaker than consensus expectations of $2.45bn, but on an underlying profits basis, the result was about 6% below consensus expectations.
  • Crown Resorts (CWN) +1.68% has sold its final shareholding in Macau gaming through Melco. Crown sold 11.2% for $1.34bn as Crown will formally end its partnership with Melco and Lawrence Ho.
  • Ardent Leisure (AAD) -0.95% updated the market today with Dreamworld trading figures showing a 36.7% decline in visitors with a 38.9% decline in March/April. Rainfall numbers did not help the situation. The theme park division is now expected to report an EBITDA loss of approximately $2m-$4m. Monthly trading updates will continue.
  • Incitec Pivot (IPL)+2.98% releases half year reports showing a EBIT up 23% to $242.8m. Dividend maintained at 4.5c with explosives a standout division. US EBIT up 24% NPAT for the group up 11% to $152.1m.
  • AGL +0.04% after the strike at Loy Yang was averted by the Fair Work Commission.

ECONOMIC NEWS

  • National Australia Bank has again raised rates on interest only loans to owner occupiers and residential investors by up to 50bps. Two-year fixed rate loans though are being cut by 30bps for principal and interest loans.
  • A surprise 0.1% monthly fall in retail sales with annual growth in retail turnover dropping to 2.1%, its weakest in nearly five years. Over the March quarter, and after stripping out price effects, turnover rose 0.1% in the March quarter. The main contributors to this rise were food retailing (0.6%), household goods retailing (0.4%) and other retailing (0.4%). In Queensland retail sales fell 1.3%. Cyclone Debbie cannot have helped.

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  • In other retail news NAB has estimated that Australians spent $22.3bn on online retail around 7.3% of bricks and mortar spending.

This is where we are spending our money on line.

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NAB Online Retail Sales Report

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  • Interestingly 80% of sales was domestic in March.

ASIAN MARKETS

  • Chinese stocks are heading for their worst performance since December 2013 as it is intensifying a campaign to clean up markets and reduce leverage. The China Banking Regulatory Commission announced Monday that banks should carry out collateral pressure tests at least once a year.
  • More details to come in this story but a row with the Indonesian government and Freeport McMoRan is threatening the future of Grasberg, the world’s second biggest copper mine. The company has six months to work out a deal that allows the Indonesian government more control and allows Freeport to continue investing.

EUROPE AND US

  • In the UK, the prestigious Lex column in the FT has come out on the side of management to turn down the TPG offer for Fairfax Media.

And finally……

An old Italian man who lived on the outskirts of Rimini, Italy, went to the local church for confession.  When the priest slid open the panel in the confessional, the man said: “Father, during World War II, a beautiful Jewish woman from our neighbourhood knocked urgently on my door and asked me to hide her from the Nazis.  So I hid her in my attic. 

The priest replied: “That was a wonderful thing you did, and you have no need to confess that.

“There is more to tell, Father.  She started to repay me with sexual favors.   This happened several times a week, and sometimes twice on Sundays.”

The priest said, “That was a long time ago and by doing what you did, you placed the two of you in great danger; but two people under those circumstances can easily succumb to the weakness of the flesh.

However, if you are truly sorry for your actions, you are indeed forgiven.”

“Thank you, Father.  That’s a great load off my mind.  I do have one more question.”

“And what is that?” asked the priest.

“Should I tell her the war is over?”

 

 

Clarence

XXX

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Get a Global take on things at www.ntmarkets.com

 

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