ASX 200 fights back slightly to finish down 38 to 6708 (-0.6%). A nervous start gave way to some bargain hunting and Friday book squaring with Dow Futures up 100 points helping buyers find confidence. Big miners remain under pressure with BHP down 1.7% and RIO off 1.6% as commodity prices slip back, gold miners remain in demand only NCM seeing sellers down 3.4%, NST up 4.17% and second liners saw some profit-taking with BGL down 5.6%, CHN bucking the weakness up 0.2 % and SLR down 4.4%. Energy companies on the nose following crude drops, WPL down 3.2% and STO off 2.5% though it could have been worse. Big banks better in the main except CBA down 1.2%. The basket down to $163.39. Insurers doing well on bond yield rise, IAG up 1.9% and QBE up 1.1%. Industrials slipped with SYD down 3.3% on traffic numbers, TCL down 2.7% on bond yields and CSL down 0.8% just because. Tech stocks mixed with APT off 2.4% to a four-month low and XRO finding favour up 1.9%. The AllTech Index fell 0.41%. In corporate news, plenty of stocks returned from trading halts and capital raises, PDN down 11.0%, RED down 13.6% and VML down 6.2%. In economic news, retail sales fell 1.1% in February missing expectations of a 0.6% rise.10-year yields rose to 1.79%. AUD slipping to 77.42c. Asian markets mixed Japan up 0.04% and China down 1.25%

Today’s Highlights

  • ASX 200 down 38 to 6708. Closes on lows.
  • High 6741 Low 6674. Below average volume.
  • For the week the ASX 200 fell 59 points or 0.87%.
  • Big Bank Basket falls slightly to $163.39.
  • All Tech Index down 0.41%
  • Dow Futures up 100.
  • Gold steady at $2239.
  • 10-year yield rises to 1.79%
  • AUD falls back to 77.42c
  • Bitcoin slips back to US$57604
  • Asian markets mixed Japan up 0.04% and China down 1.25%


  • JMS +3.51% Friday bounce.
  • PLL +0.93% lithium rally continues.
  • PDN -10.99% placement indigestion.
  • KAR -4.04% oil price falls.
  • RED -13.60% placement weighs.
  • BGL -5.56% SLR -4.44% profit taking.
  • BLU +19.74% new gas supply agreement.
  • BRN +9.02% stonking higher.
  • CRO +6.52% stonks on.
  • WZR +7.14% positive announcement and update.
  • CLV +9.09% broker upgrades on results.
  • NXL -6.49% tech stock sell off.
  • SPA +31.82% as Telstra agrees to sell its kids phones.
  • APX +2.49% technical bottom fishing.
  • Speculative stock of the day: Oneview Healthcare (ONE) +59.57% off to the races again. Plenty of rocket emojis I suspect. Big volume. StocksDigital will be happy.
  • Biggest Winners: BRN, LIC, HMC, EHE, RDC, SZL and GRR.
  • Biggest Losers: PDN, MMM, NXL, CCX, ASM, CIA and BGL.


  • Webjet (WEB) -2.72% Acquires 25% of blockchain start-up Locktrip for US$4.1m, with an option to increase its stake to 51%. Locktrip provides a business to consumer (B2C) hotels marketplace. It also provides its own decentralised public blockchain.
  • Mortgage Choice (MOC) +0.85% Extends the contract of CEO Susan Mitchell to 3-October-2022. Mitchell was appointed CEO on 3-April-2018 on a three-year contract that was due to expire on 3-Apr-2021.
  • Coles Group (COL) –0.51% Says it can deliver net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Expects the entire company to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by the end of FY25.
  • Sydney Airport (SYD) -3.33% February traffic down 87.8% vs year ago.Domestic down 81.4% to 596,000 passengers. International down 97.8% to 27,000 passengers.
  • Bell Financial Group (BFG) +0.84% Trading update: “We have had an excellent start to the year”. Estimate group revenue of ~$64m for Q1 ending 31 March, +10% ahead of the preceding corresponding period. Estimate group profit ~$12m for Q1, +27% ahead of the preceding corresponding period. Estimate Funds Under Advice of ~$69bn at the end of the quarter, +8% ahead of 31-Dec-20.


  • Over the month retail sales fell 1.1% in February vs consensus +0.6%. Turnover rose 8.7% when compared to February 2020. Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, said: “Restrictions due to COVID-19 in Victoria, and parts of Western Australia, drove the February fall. Victoria fell 4%, and Western Australia fell 6%, as trade was restricted for five days in each state.


  • Vaccine Tracker: 410m doses in 132 countries. 9.96m a day. In US 116m does at an average of 2.5 doses a day.



  • BOJ to shake up its bond-buying policy widening its trading band on its long-term rate up or down 0.25%.  It said it would let the 10-year JGB yield move in a range between minus 0.25% and plus 0.25%, compared with the previous guidance for a band between minus 0.2% and plus 0.2%. Short term rates remain unchanged at -0.1%.
  • US – China talks descend into mud-slinging in Alaska. NSA advisor Jake Sullivan said “a confident country is able to look hard at its own shortcomings and constantly seek to improve, and that is the secret sauce of America.” The Chinese had this to say “the United States isn’t qualified to speak to China from a position of strength.” Not going to end well after this start.
  • Greensill Capital owes US$1.15bn to SoftBank Group Corp.
  • Philippines has cleared the Russain vaccine for emergency use.


  • Paris heading for a 4-week lockdown.
  • Global commodity rally slips away. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index slumped 2.4%, the biggest drop since mid-September.
  • Goldman Sachs junior bankers complain of 95-hour weeks. Luxury.
  • Chubb makes a US$23bn takeover bid for rival Hartford.
  • NFL signs 11-year deal to let Amazon stream exclusive content.
  • UK and US airlines are raising funds to cope with expected demand on travel bounce.
  • Biden is targeting mid-May for a relaxation of travel restrictions.

And finally…

When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

… A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

… When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

… The batteries were given out free of charge.

… A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

… A will is a dead giveaway.

… With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

… A boiled egg is hard to beat.

… When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

… Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

… Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?   He’s all right now.

… A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

… When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

… The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

… He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

… When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she’d dye.

… Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

And the cream of the twisted crop: 

… Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.