Clarence hitting the media on the ABC Friday night
ASX 200 gained 1.5 points to 5838.4 after banks reversed early losses and Telstra showed strength. A new bid for Fairfax Media helped sentiment but caution remains. Asian markets mixed with China up 0.44% and Japan down 0.21%. AUD 74.01c and US futures down 7.
STOCKS AND SECTORS
- Miners mostly weaker although BHP +0.29% managed a small gain as the marketing campaign to lose the Billiton bit kicks off today. Fortescue Metals (FMG) -0.63% resumed its slide as did base metal stocks Oz Minerals (OZL) -2.44% and Independence Group (IGO) -0.94% although both Sandfire (SFR) +0.86% and South32 (S32) +1.52% gained slightly. Gold stocks back in the red again with Newcrest (NCM) -1.16%, Evolution Mining (EVN) -2.98% and St Barbara (SBM) -1.77%.
- Energy stocks a little brighter with Woodside (WPL) -0.03% and Origin Energy (ORG) +0.91%. Coal stocks though struggled as Whitehaven (WHC) -0.79% and Soul Pattinson (SOL) -1.34% and New Hope (NHC) -3.57% all slid.
- Industrials suffered today as some profit taking crept in and portfolios snapped up some relatively cheap banking exposure. Brambles (BXB) -1.24%, Downer EDI (DOW) -0.31% and CIMIC Group (CIM) -0.50%. Retailers continue to feel the harsh Amazonian winds of change. Harvey Norman (HVN) -1.25%, JB Hi-Fi (JBH) -0.92%, The Reject Shop (TRS) -7.36% and even Premier Investments (PMV) -1.94%. A casualty today was Asaleo Care (AHY) -11.17% after the CEO sold a parcel of 1.156m shares to meet tax obligations. News that Aldi is sharpening its pencil on pricing saw falls in Woolworths (WOW) -0.56%, Wesfarmers (WES) -0.93% and Metcash (MTS) -5.36%.
- Healthcare stocks weakened as Fisher and Paykel (FPH) -1.15% came in for some profit taking, Healthscope (HSO) -2.25%, Mesoblast (MSB) -5.36% and Japara Healthcare (JHC) -1.87%.
- Telstra (TLS) +0.92% was a beacon of light in the telco sector. Spark Infrastructure (SPK)-1.73% has received an unsolicited offer to buy shares at a 6% discount by a company called Zero Commission. The company has written to selected small shareholders trying to buy their shares. TPG Telecom (TPM) -0.67% and Vocus Group (VOC) -2.40% remain under pressure. Some profit taking in the tech sector as Catapult Group (CAT) -3.85% slipped below the SPP price. MYOB (MYO) -2.21% and Isentia (ISD) -3.44% back in the naughty corner. Xero (XRO) +2.13% continued to gain traction following the results last week.
- Banks and financials the swing vote today after early falls saw bargain hunters step in National Australia Bank (NAB) +0.96% ex-dividend tomorrow so attracting the most buying. The Big Bank Basket rose slightly to $177.12 as insurers slipped back. Medibank Private (MPL) -0.34%, Insurance Group Australia (IAG) -1.56% and Suncorp (SUN) -0.35%.
- Speculative stock of the day: Real Energy (RLE) +48.65% after signing an MOU with Santos (STO) +0.28% for gas processing and transportation in the Cooper Basin gas network.
- Fairfax Media (FXJ) +6.54% after receiving a revised offer from TPG and its associates of 120c for the company. This new offer is now for the whole entity and is a step up from 95c for the best bits and leaving the unwanted assets in a separate vehicle. The offer will have to be raised slightly but it may give TPG a look at the books. The bid will also need FIRB approval.
- Elders (ELD) +1.36% results today show how far the company has come with underlying net profit up 54% to $34.9m and net debt of $170.4m
- Qantas (QAN) +0.84% Moody’s has upgraded Qantas Airways’ credit rating to Baa2, with a “stable” outlook, from the previous Baa3 rating.
- Slater and Gordon (SGH) +4.76% after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK requested some documentation from Watchstone regarding the Quindell acquisition.
- Oil Search (OSH) +1.38% on a drilling update on Muruk which is owned 37.5% by the company. Santos (STO) +0.28% is also a 20% partner in the PNG project which could be a significant new gas find, subject to final evaluation.
- Bad news potentially just around the corner for both Quintis (QIN)and Oroton Group shareholders with both stocks in a trading halt pending a sales update. Due back Wednesday.
- Martin Aircraft Company (MJP) unchanged, updated the market with news of its ongoing test program after achieving its Series 1 Free Flight milestone.
- The number of Australian home-loan approvals fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in March from February, the ABS announced today. Expectations had been for no change for the month. The value of loans for investment housing rose 0.8% from February.
Chinese economic data today:
- Industrial output rose 6.5% last month from a year earlier, compared to 7% seen by economists and 7.6% in March
- Retail sales increased 10.7% versus 10.8% seen by analysts
- Fixed-asset investment excluding rural areas expanded 8.9% for the first four months, compared to a median estimate of 9.1%.
Infrastructure spending appears to be taking hold globally with China pledging a $125bn infrastructure investment on its ‘One Belt, One Road’ policy. Good for construction and commodities.
EUROPE AND US
- As the global cyber-attack seems to be peaking it is worth considering a ETF (HACK) that is solely designed to give exposure to those companies involved in stopping such attacks. Since listing last September the ETF is up 13%.
- Cyber-attacks are also on the mind of US senators as the takeover of MoneyGram by China’s Ant Financial looks to be running into some issues. The US$1.2bn bid for the company from Alibaba backed Ant, is competing with an offer from Euronet Worldwide worth around US$955m.
- Russia and the Saudis have pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ to reduce global stock piles. Their very own Draghi moment.
“PRESENTLY, I AM TRYING TO MAKE FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF FACEBOOK WHILE APPLYING THE SAME PRINCIPLES.
THEREFORE EVERY DAY, – I GO DOWN ON THE STREET AND TELL THE PASSERBY WHAT I HAVE EATEN, HOW I FEEL , WHAT I HAVE DONE THE NIGHT BEFORE, AND WHAT I WILL DO AFTER,
I GIVE THEM PICTURES OF MY WIFE, MY DAUGHTER, MY DOG AND ME GARDENING AND SPENDING TIME IN MY POOL….
I ALSO LISTEN TO THEIR CONVERSATIONS AND I TELL THEM I LOVE THEM.
AND IT WORKS : I ALREADY HAVE 3 PERSONS FOLLOWING ME :
– 2 POLICE OFFICERS AND A PSYCHIATRIST. “