ASX 200 up 12 to 6791 (0.17%) after a solid morning gave way to an afternoon sell off (again) before a good match. Steady is the story, big miners slipped with RIO off 1.5% and BHP unchanged despite some good news from UK court. Big banks drifted higher led by WBC down 0.3% and tech stocks under pressure as APT fell again by 1.9% and XRO drifted 1.0% lower. The All-Tech Index down 0.9%. Industrials mixed with GMG leading the REITs higher with a 0.7% gain, but the positive news was in the healthcare space as CSL improved 1.4% as the local vaccine production begins under contract. In corporate news, MCP got a first shot bid which for a change was not as conditional as many usually are. The stock rose 15.6% with more entrants to come perhaps. BKW reported strong results, up 4.7% and giving SOL a lift up 4.3% and ABC dragged 5.3% on the news. Late this afternoon it has been reported that the AMP CEO will resign, just the colour of the parachute to be determined. The stock down 3.6% pre the suspension. QAN down 0.4%, ACCC re-authorises Qantas-American Airlines alliance. On the economic front, total household wealth increased 4.3% ($501.5bn), the highest quarterly growth rate since the December quarter 2009, according to ABS. 46% of businesses expect it to be easy or very easy to meet financial commitments over the next three months, compared to 23% in August 2020. The 10-year bond yield rose to 1.68% and the AUD was steady. Asian markets mixed 1.0% and China down 0.1%. Dow futures up 100.
- ASX 200 up 12 to 6791 Off highs.
- High 6806 Low 6770. Narrow range.
- Big Bank Basket rose slightly to $164.53.
- All Tech Index down 0.3%
- Dow futures up 100. Helped steady the ship at the close.
- Gold steady at $2279.
- 10-year yield slightly higher at 1.68%
- AUD steady at 75.97c
- Bitcoin steady at US$5427
- Asian markets mixed 1.0% and China down 0.1%
- ASX -0.96% rival gets sold to US behemoth.
- GNX -Atlassian boys back capital raise.
- APT -1.90% three month low.
- ART -22.86% Reddit fans battered and bruised today.
- CWN +0.34%% gives commission details of past wrongs.
- BHP -unchanged- kills off UK lawsuit.
- HUM +1.56% moves into dental and health.
- RAP +2.86% TGA approvals.
- MCP +15.57% first bid of many.
- WZR +2.50% rare move higher, won’t last.
- MDR +6.15% global health adviser extends deal.
- NWL -13.66% loses ANZ deposit product. HUB -% in sympathy.
- Z1P -5.28% continues to fall.
- PNV +4.88% signs with Premier Inc.
- WHK -8.77% down. Solid volume too.
- AMP -3.61% CEO pulls rip cord.
- RSG -26.19% Bibiani mine lease terminated by Ghana.
- 4DX +6.96% secures streamlined access to US DoD&VA contracts.
- ABC +5.28% BKW result cheers.
- PMV +4.61% not giving up the money.
- Speculative Stock of the Day: Nanoveu (NVU) +60.38% a mouse that roars. The company announced a contract with Nestle Professional to apply its nano shield protectors to vending machines worth US$50,000.
- Biggest Winners: ABC, JMS, PNV, BKW, PMV, SOL, EHL, CTT and ERA.
- Biggest Losers: RSG, ART, HUB, NWL, PLL, PYC and ABB.
- Westpac Banking (WBC) -0.29% Expected to sell or demerge its NZ business following its review, potential valuation of NZ$6-7bn. Newswires report that in response to the increase in capital requirements, NAB has also been mulling options for its Bank of NZ business and ANZ is believed to have been selling off NZ agricultural loan portfolios and other non-core real estate loan books while CBA is considering a potential divestment of its NZ subsidiary ASB.
- AGL Energy (AGL) +0.29% May look to divest or split out its Loy Yang A coal plant in Victoria – The Australian.
- Galaxy Resources (GXY) -1.73% Advises that Sal de Vida will adopt production of battery grade. Galaxy has been internally developing a simplified evaporation flowsheet for the Sal de Vida Project. Test work and piloting over the previous 12 months has steadily improved product quality and project metrics. Recent test results demonstrate that battery grade lithium carbonate can be achieved through a simple, bolt-on process. This addition can be seamlessly incorporated into the Stage 1 project development schedule without any delay.
- Brickworks (BKW) +4.71% H1underlying NPAT $89.5m ex-items vs year-ago $100.3m. Reports H1: Revenue $431.7m vs year-ago $448.7m. Adjusted EBITDA $163m vs year-ago $170m. Dividend 21 cents per share fully ranked. Outlook: Building products Australia: All brick and roof tile plants on the east coast are expected to run at capacity during H2, in order to meet the increase in demand. Building products North America: Severe winter weather continued to impact sales in Feb. Non-residential building segment is expected to remain relatively subdued in H2. Price rises have been successfully implemented in February, with the increases achieved expected to exceed cost inflation and therefore contribute to improved margins. Property trust: Oakdale South construction has commenced with completion expected before end of FY21. The Amazon facility in Oakdale West is expected to be completed in Sep-21. Oakdale East expected to reach completion by end of FY21. Rochedale approval has been secured with construction commencing in the coming months and completion expected by mid FY22.
- Qantas Airways (QAN) – 0.39% ACCC re-authorises Qantas-American Airlines alliance.
- Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Co. (SOL) +4.26% First-half regular profit down 27.7% to $90.2m vs half year ending 31 January 2020 of $124.7m. WHSP’s net asset value (pre-tax) $5.2bn, up 1.3% through the half. Interim Dividend (fully franked per share) 26c vs year-ago 25c.
- Netwealth (NWL) -13.66% Agreement with ANZ in relation to the interest payable on the total pooled cash transaction account is to be terminated in 12 months. NWL is in negotiations to establish an alternate facility & deposit rate.
Business Conditions and Sentiments
- 46% of businesses expect it to be easy or very easy to meet financial commitments over the next three months, compared to 23% in August 2020.
- 29% of businesses are accessing support compared to 73% in May 2020.
- 19% of businesses expect to increase staff numbers over the next three months.
Chi-X has been sold to the Cboe Global Markets after JC Flowers got out. Chi-X has an 18% share of the market in Australia and is now putting more pressure on the ASX after outages last year.
- 486m doses in 137 countries. 11.9m a day. In US 130m doses given 2.49m a day.
This is the race to end the pandemic
- North Korea has fired its first ballistic missiles in a year. No rocket emojis for these guys.
- US regulators have revived threats to push Chinese tech stocks off of US exchanges. Tencent and Alibaba slid more than 5% in Hong Kong Thursday before paring losses.
- Greg Hunt says his mobile phone was hacked as overseas agents looked for pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
- Samsung announced plans for its next-generation memory chips that will double the speed of existing technology and offer the biggest capacity yet. It said it had developed 512GB DDR5 (Double Data Rate 5) memory modules based on a High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) fabrication process that’s traditionally been used in logic chips. Analysts estimate DDR5 chips will be about 20% larger than DDR4 parts, leading to increased pressure on semiconductor supply chains.
- Olympic Torch relay begins.
US AND EUROPEAN HEADLINES
- AstraZeneca lowers its efficacy results to 76% on new results.
- Suez Canal is still blocked as Bob the Bobcat is not going to do it. Talking helicopters taking off the cargo.
- UK and EU try to calm tensions over vaccinations.
- Merkel says sorry and back flips. Easter is back on.
- Kamala Harris gets the best job around, now in charge of the US/Mexico border crisis.
- Just as Australian is part of the Eurovision Song community, so too it appears we are a de facto part of NATO as it jumped to our defence in Chinese relations.