The ASX 200 dropped 52 points to 7097 (-0.7%) as bifurcation of banks and miners the focus. Commodity stocks under pressure across the board as China growth fears stalk the market. Iron ore stocks weaker as Dalian futures fall again, BHP down 4.2% and FMG off 4.9%. RIO off 3.9% following its bid for minorities in Turquoise Hill. Lithium and base metal stocks in the doghouse, PLS down 7.6%, IGO down 6.3% and S32 off 4.5%. Gold miners too under pressure, NCM fell 2.8%, NST down 2.7% and EVN weaker by 2.0%. Oil and gas stocks also falling as WTI dropped below US$100, WPL down 2.9% with STO giving up 4.1%. Across the valley in the banks, higher bond yields gave bank buyers more reasons to buy. The Big Bank Basket rose to $184.60 (+1.3%). CBA up 1.8% and WBC out ahead of the pack. Insurers too doing well, QBE up 1.6% and SUN getting a double whammy hit up 2.8%. Industrials mostly unchanged, CSL better by 0.2%, AMC up 2.9% as packaging inputs dropped back slightly. Tech mixed, with SQ2 down another 5.2%, WTC down 2.9% and the All-Tech Index off slightly as CPU rallied 1.7% to save some face. In corporate news, UWL returned froma trading halt after Morrison and Co launched a takeover bid at 450c, rising 27.3%, HLS launched a $100m on-market buyback. Asian markets weaker with Japan up 0.9%, China down 2.6% and HK off 3.2% again.

End of Day Podcast – Tuesday, March 15

Major Movers:

  • Winners: UWL, IHL, CUV, PPH, JHG, OBL, DDR
  • Losers: SMR, YAL, PLL, CHN, CIA, Z1P, NMT, MLX
  • Positive sectors: Banks. Insurers. Healthcare
  • Negative sectors: Resources. BNPL
  • High 7121 Low 7081
  • Big Bank Basket: Jumps to $184.60 (+1.3%) on a bond yields
  • All-Tech index: Down 0.6%
  • Gold: Lower at $2706
  • Bitcoin: Rises to US$38867
  • Aussie Dollar:  Falls to 71.81c
  • 10-Year Yield: Rises to 2.52%
  • Asian markets mixed with Japan up 0.9%, China down 2.6% and HK off 3.2% again
  • US Futures: Dow up seven, Nasdaq up 53

Stocks on the Move

  • UWL +27.30% Morrison and Co bid 450c.
  • PPH +4.64% guidance update.
  • CUV +6.76% afamelanotide in stroke positive preliminary results.
  • HLS +3.25% $100m buyback announced.
  • IHL +6.93% bounce continues.
  • SUN +2.80% bond yields rally.
  • SDF +3.05% becoming a substantial holder.
  • SWP +6.00% UWL action helps sentiment.
  • BKY +9.62% half-year accounts.
  • SHP -12.50% profit-taking.
  • SZL -10.65% follows Z1P down.
  • SMR -22.70% coal stocks fall.
  • YAL -19.42% ex-dividend and more.
  • Z1P -9.32% change in director’s interest, coming undone.
  • NMT -8.76% profit-taking.
  • CIA -9.36% iron ore falls.
  • Speculative stock of the Day: Frontier Energy (FHE) +22.50% green hydrogen and renewable energy expansion studies.

In the News

  • Uniti Group (UWL) has halted trading pending an announcement on media speculation, after a 17% price increase.
  • Healius (HLS) – has approved an on-market share buyback of up to $100m over the next 12 months.
  • FAR – has begun steps to withdraw from its interests in the Esperanca Blocks 4A & 5A and Sinapa Block 2 offshore Guinea Bissau. The takeover from Samuel Terry has also lapsed.
  • The London Metal Exchange will reopen nickel trading on Wednesday, over a week after halting trading.

Economic News/Bond Markets

  • The RBA has warned Russia’s war in Ukraine has created additional uncertainty about the global outlook and could result in slower growth and higher inflation. The RBA also noted the impacts would be distributed unevenly across economies.
  • “Members acknowledged that it would take time for supply issues in the global economy to be resolved. The war in Ukraine was adding to these challenges.”
  • The weighted average of the eight capital cities Residential Property Price Index rose 4.7% this quarter and 23.7% over the last twelve months. The largest increases from the September quarter were Brisbane (+9.6%), Adelaide (+6.8%), and Hobart (+6.5%). NSW is still the only state with a mean house price over $1m, but the ACT and Victoria are close behind.
  • BlackRock Investment Institute says the risk of stagflation is now in play.

Asian Markets

  • Morgan Stanley cut its economic growth forecast for China to zero for the current quarter.
  • Chinese Industrial output grew 7.5% in the two months through February, figures from the NBS showed Tuesday, compared with 4.3% in December. Economists had expected 4% expansion.
  • Retail sales rose 6.7%, accelerating from 1.7% in December and beating a 3% increase projected by economists.
  • The surveyed jobless rate rose to 5.5% last month, mainly due to seasonal factors.
  • Uranium and nuclear power are back on the agenda in Japan following years of shuttered capacity.

US and European News

  • Boris Johnson to appeal to Saudis to increase oil production.
  • 43,000 British homeowners offer shelter to Ukrainian refugees.
  • US Senator Manchin will oppose Raskin nomination.
  • FOMC meeting gets underway tonight.

And finally…..

Murphy drops some buttered toast on the kitchen floor and it lands butter-side-up.   

He looks down in astonishment, for he knows that it’s a law of nature of the universe 

that buttered toast always falls butter-side-down.

So he rushes round to the presbytery to fetch Father Flanagan. He tells the priest that a miracle has occurred in his kitchen. 

But he won’t say what it is, so he asks Fr. Flanagan to come and see it with his own eyes.

He leads Fr. Flanagan into the kitchen and asks him what he sees on the floor.

“Well,” says the priest, “it’s pretty obvious. Someone has dropped some buttered toast on the floor and then, 

for some reason, they flipped it over so that the butter was on top.”

“No, Father, I dropped it and it landed like that!” exclaimed Murphy

“Oh my Lord,” says Fr. Flanagan, “dropped toast never falls with the butter side up. It’s a miracle. 

Wait… it’s not for me to say it’s a miracle. I’ll have to report this matter to the Bishop  and he’ll have to deal with it. 

He’ll send some people round; to interview you, take photos, etc.”

A thorough investigation is conducted, not only by the archdiocese but by scientists sent over from the Curia in Rome. 

No expense is spared. There is great excitement in the town as everyone  knows that a miracle will bring in much needed tourism revenue.

Then, after 8 long weeks and with great fanfare, the Bishop announces the final ruling.

“It is certain that some kind of an extraordinary event took place in Murphy’s kitchen, quite outside the natural laws of the universe. 

Yet the Holy See must be very cautious before ruling  a miracle. All other explanations must be ruled out. 

Unfortunately, in this case, it has been declared “No Miracle”, because they think that Murphy may have buttered the toast on the wrong side!