ASX 200 down 15 to 7046 (0.2%) on the close after drifting for most of the day in quiet trade, banks slipped into the bell, WBC announced a $282m write down sending the Big Bank Basket down to $169.48. Meanwhile, iron ore miners got a boost from record high iron ore prices in Asia today, with BHP up 0.6%, and FMG up 4.8% after a broker upgrade. Gold miners eased after some strong runs as bullion prices faded a little, NCM down 2.6% and NST off 2.7%. Industrial stocks mixed with WOW down 0.8%, APT down 0.7% and we saw losses in TLS down 0.9% and GMG down 1.1%.  In healthcare stocks, CSL dropped 0.6% followed by SHL down 0.8%% and FPH down 1.2%. Tech stocks eased back with XRO off 0.5% with the AllTech Index falling 0.75%.  In corporate news, WBC said cash earnings will be reduced by $282m. Provisions, IT write-offs and costs of divestments weigh. NHF up 10.2% after a guidance update. Sees FY21 underlying operating profit between $220-225m. MEA has seen a boost to numbers due to the strong housing market, up 6.1%. Nothing on the economic front, 10-year yield unchanged at 1.73%. Asian markets mixed with Japan up 0.17% and China down 0.59%. Dow futures up 38 points.

Today’s Highlights

  • ASX 200 down 15 to 7046
  • High 7075 Low 7046. Narrow range drifting
  • 177 S&P 500 companies report this week. Tesla tonight.
  • Iron ore futures hit record high
  • Perth lockdown to end at Midnight
  • Big Bank Basket down $169.48
  • All Tech Index down 0.75%
  • Dow futures up 36
  • Australian Gold falls to $2290
  • 10-year yield unchanged at 1.73%
  • AUD rises to 77.68c
  • Bitcoin rebounds to US$52387
  • Asian markets mixed with Japan up 0.17% and China down 0.59%

END OF DAY PODCAST – ASX 200 closes down 15 (-0.2%) in quiet directionless trade. Banks slipped on the close but iron ore hitting records in Asian and an upgrade from Bell Potter saw FMG rise 4.8% and BHP up only 0.6%. WBC announced a $282m write down closing down 0.2% and industrials drifting lower. NHF updated guidance and rose 10.2%. All eyes on Tesla numbers tonight after hours in US. 10-year bonds steady at 1.73%


  • FMG +4.80% Bell upgrades.
  • ELD -0.40% Citi expects strong results.
  • DOC unchanged – says revenue to double in 2021.
  • PAR -6.27% FDA delay.
  • MEA +6.15% upgrades guidance.
  • SIG -1.45% CEO resignation.
  • NHF +10.20% upgrades guidance.
  • VUL +5.98% buyers get aggressive.
  • ORE/GXY +5.05%/5.18% lithium stocks gain.
  • WHC -6.82% CRN -7.97% downgrades.
  • JBH -4.05% KGN hurts.
  • CBR -23.10% ex entitlement and some.
  • 4DS -10.26% director resignation.
  • NXS +14.44% Antimicrobial solution cleared by FDA.
  • TLG +26.01% ASX speeding ticket.
  • LCK +18.42% hydrogen winner.
  • MFG -1.42%% Hamish change of interests.
  • WBC -0.16% $282m small change it seems.
  • Speculative Stock of the Day: Venture Minerals (VMS) +18.31% strong volume, building on Riley Iron Ore mine commissioning imminent.
  • Biggest Winners: BCK, ABR, NHF, RMC, PPK, VUL and PNI
  • Biggest Losers: API, CRN, WHC, PAR, DDR and PDN.


  • Crown Resorts (CWN) – There is speculation Apollo Global Management is considering a takeover offer. Blackstone is still the favourite.
  • Westpac Banking (WBC) -0.16% H1 cash earnings reduced by $282m due to notable items. A bit of loose change. Majority relating to provisions for litigation, customer refunds, payments and associated costs ($220m). Partly offset by several gains, an investment in Coinbase ($288m) the biggest contributor. ~$200m worth of items were announced in its Q1 update in February.
  • Sigma Healthcare (SIG) -1.45% MD & CEO Mark Hooper to retire effective the end of October 2021.
  • McGrath (MEA) +6.15% Expects FY21 EBITDA of $16.5-17.5m. Points to a range of residential property market tailwinds. Management comments: “Particularly pleased with performance across the multiple markets in which operate in and business improvement initiatives are bearing fruit across business segments. Trading continues to be positive and with the latest trends in GDP growth rates and record low interest rates, have provided with the confidence about our earnings guidance for the full year.”
  • NIB Holdings (NHF) +10.20% Should business conditions remain similar to those in Q3 nib expects underlying operating profit for FY21 to increase from $86.9m for H1 and be within the range of $200-225m.
  • Downer EDI (DOW) +0.56% To sell Otraco to Bridgestone Corporation for EV of $79m.


  • Nothing on the economic front today.


  • Vaccine Tracker: 1bn does in 172 countries. 19.2m a day. In US 229m at 2.75m a day.
  • India sets new record 352,991.
  • People will be able to travel between HK and Singapore without undergoing quarantine from May 26.
  • Bangkok has ordered shutdowns to contain latest CV10 outbreak.
  • The EU will allow US tourists to come this summer if they have been vaccinated.
  • Germany’s Finance Minister does not see restrictions to ease before the end of May.
  • Italy will ease some CV19 restrictions despite no headway made on crisis.



  • SK Innovation and SK IE Technology set to raise US$2bn in IPO for battery material business.
  • Chinese ‘econometer’ Redder means hotter economy.
  • Japanese opposition parties won all three by-elections for parliamentary seats in a blow for Prime Minister Suga. He must hold elections within the next six-months.


  • Bitcoin bounces strongly.
  • The Rise of the Crypto machine
  • Nomadland scoops Oscar pool. Netflix wins 7 Oscars. Amazon gets 2.
  • 44-year olds in UK now eligible for vaccinations.
  • Biden says new tax increases will only affect richest by 0.3%.
  • UK and EU banks plan to cut business travel after pandemic.
  • Global chip shortages spread to toasters and washing machines.
  • Philips Q1 EUR 3.8bn up 9%. CV19 winner, raises guidance slightly.

And finally….

I cant believe there is no cure for nits….if we only all put our heads together….

I was told that it’s the Law that you have to turn on your headlights when it’s raining in Sweden. How the hell am I supposed to know when it’s raining in Sweden?!!!

A lion goes into a restaurant and asks to see the menu. After perusing it for a while he says ‘To start with, I’ll have the garlic mushrooms’.

He then goes back to perusing the menu. To try and hurry him up the waiter says ‘And for the main?’

‘Oh, just a comb’ replies the lion.