The ASX 200 rose 46 points to 6753 after a mid-morning swoon on hopes for a delay to trade tariffs and a positive SPP results from WBC. US futures rose points. Once again quiet silly season trade with financials in the green led by WBC up 0.7% and CBA up 1.4%. Insurers joined in the fun with QBE up 1.8% and SUN doing well too up 1.5%. Miners were also in the winners enclosure as metal price rises helped spur the buyers back into action. FMG hit an 11-year high up 0.1% and BHP did well too up 0.4%. Elsewhere gold miners also had a surprisingly good day led by EVN up %. Healthcare was again dominated by CSL up 1.4% on a broker upgrade and RHC also did well up 1% ahead of UK election. Energy stocks fired up a little with WPL up 0.8% and OSH up 1.8%. Consumer staples were once again rocking with WES up 0.7% and COL up 0.7%. In corporate news, WBC raised another $770m from its SPP, WEB rose 9.6% as media speculation swirled that a suitor was waiting in the wings. Economically, the Westpac Consumer Confidence number was out again showing the local consumer has gone AWOL. The 10 -year bond yield rose 1 bps to 1.15%. Aramco lists today (7pm AEST) and FOMC continues. Asian markets were cautious as tension builds over the trade tariffs. Japan down 0.2% and China down 0.5%.

  • ASX 200 up 46 to 6753.
  • High 6753 Low 6710 Volumes below average.
  • Banks rally on WBC news.
  • Miners positive on iron ore prices.
  • Consumer staples back in demand at the checkout.
  • 10-year bond yields rally to 1.09%.
  • AUD eased to 68.17c
  • US futures up 36 points.
  • Aussie gold up to $2147
  • Bitcoin falls to US$7205
  • Asian markets mixed with Japan up 0.34% and China down 0.22%

STOCKS                                               

  • FMG +0.1% hits 11- year high before late sell off..
  • BOQ -0.41% 7-year low.
  • WEB +9.61% media speculation on approach.
  • GOR +2.58% SBM +3.23% PRU +3.63% gold miners back in fashion.
  • AD8 -5.83% profit taking continues.
  • PNV -4.60% no let-up in selling.
  • SXL -2.19% debt refinancing.
  • PME -3.71% profit at king as year-end looms.
  • SLK -2.15% smoke clears but not outlook.
  • SXY +4.48% expands gas agreement with ORA.
  • NET -16.13% upsizes equity raise.
  • WBC +0.70% appeals high court decision on selling super products.
  • CVW -8.82% low volume again.
  • IFL -0.64% Bell Potter still bearish.
  • MP1 -0.95% UBS says buy.
  • CSL +1.37% PT lifted to $312 by Goldman Sachs.
  • NUC +11.18% substantial shareholding.
  • SYR +11.90% finally moving higher.
  • MOC +4.49% low volume.
  • AMX +7.90% backs up for second day.
  • NIC +7.02% metal price rise.
  • VUK +3.20% Boris firms on Love Actually advert.
  • Speculative stock of the day: Nothing of note on volume.
  • Biggest Risers: WEB, NIC, COE, PRU, ALG, PRN and SBM
  • Biggest Falls: PAR, FCL, AD8, PNV, CMA, BWX and CCP.

TODAY

  • Downer (DOW) -0.85% Chilean conglomerate, Sigdo Koppers, has reportedly abandoned a potential bid for Downer’s mining division. Newswires suggest that another group is involved in negotiations for the division though a sale is not expected to be concluded until next year. The price tag for the asset is estimated to be between $550-700m.
  • Boral (BLD) +1.33% Chief Mike Kane is reportedly under pressure to step down sooner than expected, headwinds in its North American windows division have added to an already poor perception of its Headwarters acquisition. The board is expected to meet with top shareholders next week to discuss various issue including Kane’s tenure.
  • GrainCorp (GNC) – Is set to appoint Robert Spurway as MD and CEO after completion of its Malt business demerger in early 2020.
  • APN Convenience Retail REIT (AQR) -0.85% Reaffirms FY20 earnings guidance between 22.3c-22.5c per share at its AGM. Reaffirms FY20 distribution guidance of 21.8 cps.
  • APA Group (APA) +2.12% Reports estimated H1 distribution of 23c per security. In October APA repeated guidance at its AMG, anticipating EBITDA between $1.66-1.69bn and a distribution of 50c per security.
  • CIMIC Group (CIM) +1.36% There is speculation Apollo Global is considering a bid for CIMIC’s Thiess as part of a JV arrangement.
  • Flight Centre (FLT) +2.19% COO Melanie Waters-Ryan to move into the role of CEO, leisure business. Chris Galanty, formerly head of the company’s EMEA business has been appointed CEO, corporate business.
  • Westpac Bank (WBC) +0.70% Retail investors have backed WBC with a $770m vote of support for the SPP. The bank did give some shareholders the out if required but it seems that many have decided that at these prices it offers value.
  • Webjet (WEB) +9.61% Media speculation of potential interest in the group has been denied by the company.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer confidence fell 1.9pts to 95.1 in December. Unemployment expectations lifted to a two and a half year high.

  • Harris Scarfe goes bust.
  • ING says iron ore going to US$75 a tonne as supply stabilises.

BOND MARKET


ASIAN NEWS

  • China seems convinced the US will delay the new tariffs due to come in Sunday night.
  • China may back EU plan ‘B’ for WTO Appellate Board after US vetoes judges.

EUROPEAN AND US NEWS

  • Saudi Aramco float debuts today. Citizens are encouraged to buy shares to get US$2 trillion valuation.
  • Chevron will take a US$10bn write down on shale gas glut.
  • New Life Insurance in talks to buy Cigna unit for US$6bn.
  • Barrick Gold, the world’s second largest gold producer, sold its 90%stake in the Massawa project in Senegal to Teranga Gold for up to US$430m.
  • Boris’s lead narrows as hung parliament could be a reality. The YouGov poll (most accurate of them all) indicated Boris Johnson will gain a majority of 28, compared with 68 projected two weeks ago. He needs 326 to win out of 650. On track for 339. Labour at 231 and SNP at 41.
  • HSBC to pay US$192m penalty in US tax evasion case.

And finally…

 

Cracker Jokes…

Why is Parliament like ancient Bethlehem?

– It takes a miracle to find three wise men there.

 ‘Why does Donald Trump have his Christmas dinner on a plastic plate? He doesn’t get on with china.’

‘What does Donald Trump do after he pulls a cracker? Pays her off.’

 

Christmas dinner is a lot like Brexit. Half the family were told they needed to make room for Turkey, so opted to leave Brussels.

Clarence

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