ASX 200 grinds back from early losses to close down 22 at 5385. Dow futures up 100 points. A slow day with a narrow range and lower volumes as we wait to see how easing of restrictions play out. Baby steps. Banks were sold off after a couple of days of rises as analysts bickered over dividend cuts deferred or otherwise. The Big Bank Basket fell to $109.10 and NAB led the losses falling 2.3%. Elsewhere in financials, insurers lost ground and some nerves for MQG falling 0.8% ahead of results on Friday. Miners were a little sloppy as BHP fell 0.9% and RIO dropped 0.9%. FMG though bucked the trend as usual and rose 2.1%. Gold miners eked out some gains despite modest falls in bullion. NCM up 3.2% and NST up 1.0%. Healthcare was better led by CSL up 0.3% and RMD and FPH both bounced back by 3.6% and 3.0% respectively. Tech though was the go with APT continuing it’s run-up another 4.2%, Z1P followed in its wake up 8.5% and other tech also powered ahead, PPH up 19.4% the best. The All Tech Index rose 1.7%. In corporate news, MSB rose 12.5% after announcing its CV19 trial was enrolling patients, NSR dropped 6.5% after the resumption of trade, BIN lost 5.2% after a business update at the Macquarie Conference and MPL rose 3.8% after a similar presentation. The 10-year yield rose to 0.89%, AUD steady and in Asia, Japan closed but China back on stream with an unchanged market. Hong Kong up 1%.

  • ASX 200 lost 22 to 5385
  • High 5409 Low 5345. Narrow range. No volatility.
  • Oil rebound runs out of steam.
  • Banks see profit-taking. Big Bank Basket at $109.10.
  • Retails sales show hoarding.
  • Miners mixed. Industrials slip. Energy better.
  • Tech in demand with All Tech up 1.7%.
  • 10-year bond yields rise to 0.89%
  • AUD steady at 64.43c.
  • Aussie gold slips to $2641
  • Bitcoin steady at US$9031 ahead of halving.
  • Asian markets see China back online with a flat line and Japan still closed.


  • PPH +19.45% praise be. Good results.
  • EOS +12.14% nice to see a bounce again.
  • Z1P +8.46% following in APT footsteps.
  • MSB +12.50% Phase 2/3 trial begin enrollments.
  • KMD +10.19% stores opening.
  • MP1 +8.18% going very well.
  • JIN +6.90% solid bounce too.
  • JHX -5.59% broker downgrades.
  • NSR -6.51% capital raise completed.
  • BIN-5.24% business update.
  • PBH -3.99% profit-taking.
  • JMS -1.79% ex-dividend.
  • DCN -5.81% sinking feeling
  • RFG +36.36% becoming a substantial shareholder from MS.
  • DUB +15.51% Cisco price list.
  • PCK +13.33% rally continues.
  • Speculative stock of the day: E2 metals (E2M) +111.11% spectacular drill results from Santa Cruz in Argentina. 16m at 3.91gpt Au, 123gpt Ag from 68m, including 8m at 7.64gpt Au, 216gpt Ag from 76m and 1m at 36.8gpt Au, 1108gpt Ag from 78m.
  • Biggest Rises: PPH, MSB, EOS, KMD, NEA, MMS and APX.
  • Biggest Falls: NSR, NWH, COE, JHX, BIN, API and VUK..


  • Vicinity Centres (VCX) –1.44% On May 4, 50% of stores were open, representing 65% of the portfolio’s gross lettable area. Moving annual turnover (MAT) growth to March for the portfolio up 1.6%, with specialty store and mini-majors increasing 0.6%, supermarkets increased 6%. Sales variance for March across the portfolio was down 16.5% vs year ago. Non-critical capital expenditure deferred, including the proposed redevelopment of Chatswood Chase Sydney. 70% of team members working reduced hours.
  • Bingo Industries (BIN) -5.24% March performance on track to deliver pre-COVID-19 guidance but expects further softening in Q4FY20. EBITDA margins maintained above 30%. The balance sheet remains strong, with sufficient headroom against $500m debt facility. Q4 capex reduced by approximately $20m.
  • Medibank Private (MPL) +3.76% Underlying policyholder growth since March is tracking modestly below expectations. Continues to expect hospital and ancillary utilisation to remain around current levels for the remainder of FY20, excluding the impact of COVID-19. Anticipates approximately 3% underlying claims growth per policy unit for FY20, excluding the impact of COVID-19. Remains confident that Health Insurance earnings will be higher in H2 of FY20.
  • ASX (ASX) +0.01% reports April activity; volatility 1.6% vs year-ago 0.4%. Total capital raised $13.8bn, +185% vs year ago. Average daily number of trades +27% vs year ago. Average daily value $7.65bn vs year-ago $5.05bn.
  • JB Hi-Fi (JBH) +3.39% Q3 update; continues to consider it appropriate to not provide FY20 guidance. JB HI-FI Australia total sales up 11.6% vs year ago. JB HI-FI New Zealand total sales down 3.3% vs year ago, government restrictions weighing. Notes NZ business does not make a material financial contribution to the Group. It only represents around 3% of total sales. The Good Guys sales up 13.9% vs year ago.
  • Genworth Mortgage Insurance (GMA) +1.96% Q1 underlying NPAT, including COVID-19 impacts ($103.2m) vs year-ago $22.3m. New insurance written (NIW) up 18.5% to $6.4 billion, loss ratio 47.1%, reflecting housing market recovery and low-interest rates. Gross Written Premium $114.1m vs year-ago $86.3m. 1Q20 result affected by an anticipated increase in future claims likely to occur from the economic impacts of COVID-19, leading to a write-down of Deferred acquisition costs (DAC) of $181.8m. No decision on the interim dividend.
  • Magellan Financial (MFG) +3.66% total FUM at the end of April $96.97bn vs previous month $93.99bn. Experienced net inflows of $818m, which included; net retail inflows of $175m and net institutional inflows of $643m.
  • Westpac (WBC) –1.48% Is reportedly mulling options for its wealth management assets. Goldman speculated to be assisting in the process. Follows the announcement in its interim results, the wealth platforms business was to be moved into a ‘specialist businesses’ division which involves a number of non-core units including the auto loans business, Pacific Bank, and insurance operations.
  • Bubs Australia (BUB) +6.74% enters new supply agreements with Coles to distribute Bubs Organic Grass-Fed Infant Formula to 482 supermarkets, complementing the existing range of products already sold at Coles. BUB’s also entered into a new agreement with Baby Bunting to range a total of 16 products at 52 stores. Woolworths further increased the store range for Bubs Organic Grass-Fed Infant Formula from 700 stores to 800 and Bubs Goat Milk Infant Formula from 400 to 654. Expected to materially add to the company’s domestic revenues from Q4 FY20.
  • ALS (ALQ) -0.74% reaffirms FY20 guidance, has agreed to bank facility increase, which will see excess liquidity of $650m. In the final stages of developing new real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits for detection of the COVID-19 virus in human and on surface samples. Less than 10% of the global laboratory network has been adversely impacted by COVID-19.


  • Australian retail turnover rose 8.5% in March 2020, seasonally adjusted. There were rises for food retailing (24.1%), other retailing (16.6%), and household goods retailing (9.1%). These rises were partially offset by a fall in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-22.9%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-22.6%), and department stores (-8.9%).
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in New South Wales (8.0%), Victoria (7.7%), Queensland (8.8%), Western Australia (9.9%), South Australia (9.4%), Tasmania (8.9%), the Australian Capital Territory (9.5%), and the Northern Territory (11.6%) in March 2020.

  • Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on retail trade, the trend series has been suspended from February 2020.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 8.5% in March 2020. This follows a rise of 0.6% in February, and a fall of 0.4% in January 2020.
  • NZ jobless rate climbed to 4.2% from 4% in the fourth quarter. Beached as.


  • Interesting to hear the semantic arguments from the UK government on the methodology for counting deaths. Official data showed there were 29,427 confirmed coronavirus deaths in the U.K., with thousands more suspected. Think they may be missing the point.
  • Gilead Sciences is in talks with manufacturers to supply remdesivir, its Covid-19 treatment that’s been cleared by U.S. health regulators for emergency use.
  • Pfizer has started to give the first U.S. patients its experimental vaccines to fight the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
  • India’s fatalities due to the coronavirus rose 199 to 1,693, the biggest increase so far



  • Chinese ambassador to the US says stop the blame game.


  • European futures pointing to a slight negative open.
  • Germany unveils its reopening strategy. March industrials orders fell 15.6%; forecast of 10%.
  • Trump visits a Honeywell factory and does not wear a mask following Mike Pence’s example.
  • Disney dividend Frozen.
  • For followers of Bitcoin, there is a significant event looming. The halving (happens roughly every four years). This is when the rewards miners receive for processing a transaction will be cut in half as soon as May 12th. There is even a count down clock. There is no fixed date as it relies on the number of transactions hitting a specific mark.

The Halving Effect

  • BMW results Pre Tax Q1 profit EUR798m. Warns on demand.
  • The Spanish government will retain lockdown powers.

And finally…..

The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.

He acquired his size from too much pi.

I thought I saw an eye – doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

She was only a whiskey – maker, but he loved her still.

A rubber – band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it   was a weapon of math disruption.

In these tough times:

If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

My cousin had an exorcism but couldn’t afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.




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