The ASX 200 finished close to highs with the index up 29 to 6715 (0.4%). Dow futures up 120 points.  Banks once again driving the bus with the Big Bank Basket up to $155.74. MQG bounced back too with a 1.0% gain. BNPL stocks back in the spotlight as APT had a PT upgrade, up 9.7% and Affirm listed in the US at a 100% premium and pull through valuations, drove Z1P higher by 5.0% and SZL up 7.5%. Industrials also pushed higher after some doldrum days, WOW up 1.0% and TCL up 1.5%. Miners though took a hit as commodity prices waned, BHP lost 0.3% and FMG off 1.6% with gold miners sinking as NCM fell 1.0% and NST off 1.7%. Energy flat lined. Healthcare firmed as SHL saw some buyers up 0.8% and COH rallied 4.8%. In corporate news, WHC rose 3.1% on its Q2 production update. Tightens FY21 sales guidance. ALD up 0.1%, $145m loss for its Lytton refinery ahead of analyst expectations. QAN flat, lowers domestic capacity forecast for March quarter. In economic news, building approvals rose 2.6% in November. 10-year bond yields steady at elevated levels around 1.10% and the AUD 77.65c. Asian markets mixed as Japan rose 1.75% and China down 1.1%.

Today’s Highlights

  • ASX 200 up 29 points to 6715. Wishy washy finish.
  • High 6725 Low 6669.
  • Big Bank Basket rises to $155.74.
  • All Tech romps % higher on APT and XRO.
  • Dow Futures up 120 points.
  • Gold eases to AUD$2376
  • 10-year yield steady at 1.11%
  • AUD steady at 77.47c
  • Bitcoin rallies back to US$37,297
  • Asian markets mixed as Japan rose 1.75% and China down 1.1%.


  • PME +14.98% contract win.
  • APT +9.74% broker upgrade
  • Z1P +4.95% SZL +7.54% US IPO Affirm lists at 100% premium.
  • NHC +8.04% update WHC +3.14% ups guidance.
  • TYR -7.07% outage fall out.
  • NVX -4.32% added to OTCQX International index.
  • ASM -3.86% profit taking.
  • PMV -3.83% fly too high.
  • AVA +29.00% strong business update
  • VMT +18.29% B2B contract win.
  • SOR +17.28% rally back on.
  • LBY +13.73% business update.
  • RXL -14.00% exploration update.
  • WZR -5.13% disappointment continues.
  • TCL +1.49% buyers step back in.
  • Speculative Stock of the Day: Orthocell (OCC) +27.17% after receiving first US CelGro approvals.
  • Biggest Winners: PME, APT, NHC, TLX, NHC, SZL, DDR and JMS .
  • Biggest Losers: OMH, TYR, ADN, ABC, TLG, BGL and ABP.


  • Australian Ethical Investment (AEF) +1.45% Funds under management $5.05bn for quarter ended 31-December vs quarter-ago $4.32bn. Quarterly net flows $0.27bn.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) -0.89% Has reached a deal with Meridian Energy that allows New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter until 31-Dec-24.
  • Qantas Airways (QAN) – CEO lowers airline’s domestic capacity forecast for March quarter. CEO Alan Joyce reportedly said that a pre-Christmas outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Australia has probably set the airline back three months. Adding that in the three months to end-March, the forecast now is for Q3 capacity to be at 60% of pre-COVID domestic capacity levels, below the previous forecast of 80%. Qantas is now expected to run at 80% of pre-COVID-19 domestic capacity in the three months to end-June.
  • Laybuy Group Holdings (LBY) +13.73% Q3 gross merchandise value (GMV) NZ$182m vs year-ago NZ$64m.UK GMV NZ$100m vs year-ago NZ$14m. ANZ GMV NZ$82m vs year-ago NZ$50m. Active Customers 687,000 vs year-ago 316K. Active merchants 8K vs year-ago 5K. During Q4 FY21, Laybuy expects to continue its US market entry following its soft launch in Q3 FY21 with US customers being able to transact on the platform with UK and ANZ based merchants that currently ship to the US via Laybuy US.
  • Pro Medicus (PME) +14.98% signs 7-year, $40m deal with Intermountain Healthcare. The contract will see the company’s Visage 7 Viewer and Visage 7 Open Archive products implemented across all of Intermountain’s radiology and subspecialty imaging departments. The rollout is to begin in Q3 FY21, with data migration commencing immediately by Visage’s engineering team. Intermountain is the largest healthcare provider in the Intermountain West (Utah, Idaho, Nevada).
  • Whitehaven Coal (WHC) +3.14% Q2 managed ROM Coal Production 5,138 vs year-ago 3,124. Managed Saleable Coal Production 3,949 vs year-ago 3,069. Total Managed Coal Sales 4,461 vs year-ago 4,386. Managed Coal Stocks at period end 2,276 vs year-ago 975. FY21 Guidance: Managed coal sales (excluding purchased coal) 19-20Mt vs prior 21-22.8Mt.
  • Ampol (ALD) +0.11% Full-year loss for the Lytton refinery of $145m. Ahead of analyst expectations of a $165m loss.As previously announced, Ampol is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Lytton refinery to determine the best operating model over the medium-term.
  • Bell Financial Group (BFG) +3.61% Preliminary FY20 profit $46.7m, +44% y/y. Preliminary full-year EPS 14.6cps, +44% y/y. Preliminary full-year revenue $299m, +18% y/y. Preliminary full-year Funds Under Advice $63.9bn, +9% y/y.


Building approvals:

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved rose 2.6% in November.
  • Private sector houses rose 6.1%, in seasonally adjusted terms, while private sector dwellings excluding houses fell 3.9%.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of non-residential building approved fell 27.4%.



  • China recorded its first Covid-19 death since April. It reported 124 new local infections on Thursday, including 81 in Hebei province and 43 in Heilongjiang.
  • California’s Orange County opened a vaccine centre “Super POD,” or point-of-dispensing site, at Disneyland in Anaheim on Wednesday.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first to have applied for an emergency rollout in Hong Kong.
  • Some better news from the US, the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients was roughly flat in the U.S. this week, and likely will begin declining for the first time since September.


  • Chinese Exports grew 18.1% in dollar terms in December from a year earlier, while imports rose 6.5%. A trade surplus of US$78.17bn for the month, higher than the US$72bn median estimate in a survey of economists.
  • For the full year, the Chinese trade surplus reached $535bn, a 27% increase from 2019 and the highest since 2015.
  • Neighbours now the biggest trading partners
  • China’s exports to the U.S. surged 34.5% in December from a year earlier, while imports of American goods rose 47.7%, the most since January 2013.
  • WHO arrives in Wuhan. Now in quarantine for two weeks. Then off to the market.


  • Trump impeached for the second time. Not sure the outcome will be any different this time.
  • Biden’s economic plan to be revealed tonight. A plan so cunning, well you know the rest…US$2 trillion is the number being touted. Big number.
  • Italy government in crisis for the seventh time this week as Renzi ministers resign.
  • Airbnb cancels Washington bookings as National Guard flood the capital in advance of inauguration.
  • NY cuts ties with Trump businesses.
  • Vanguards assets under management hit US$7trillion.
  • One Betcoin exchange is warning of trading outages this weekend as systems struggle to cope with weekend warrior traders.
  • Federal Reserve head Powell is due to discuss topics including the Fed’s policy framework Thursday.
  • JP Morgan and Citi and Wells Fargo kick off results season. U.S. initial jobless claims data are due Thursday.

And finally…

Queen Elizabeth and Dolly Parton die on the same day and they both go before an Angel to find out if they’ll be admitted to Heaven. 

Unfortunately, there’s only one space left that day, so the Angel must decide which of them gets in.

The Angel asks Dolly if there’s some particular reason why she should go to Heaven.

Dolly takes off her top and says, ‘Look at these, they’re the most perfect breasts God ever created, and I’m sure it will please God to be able to see them every day, for eternity.’

The Angel thanks Dolly, and asks Her Majesty the same question.

The Queen takes a bottle of Perrier out of her purse, drinks it down.

Then, wees into a toilet and pulls the lever.

The Angel says, ‘OK, your Majesty, you may go in.’

Dolly is outraged and asks, ‘What was that all about?
I show you two of God’s own perfect creations and you turn me down – but “She” wees into a toilet and she gets in!

Would you explain that to me?’

‘Sorry, Dolly,’ says the Angel, but even in Heaven . . .  a Royal Flush beats a Pair – no matter how big they are.