The ASX 200 climbed another 52 points to 7464 (+0.7%) to be only around 2% from its all-time high. The budget looms and banks shone again with the Big Bank Basket up to $190.63 (+0.4%). CBA running 0.2% and WBC up 1.1% as bond yields continue higher, now 2.91% in the 10s. MQG doing well too gaining 1.4% and Insurers slightly higher. Healthcare bounced as the AUD fell below 75c, CSL up 1.4% and RMD up 4.1%. Industrials firmed, WES up 1.8%, TLS up 1.6% and ALL up 2.6%. REITs up again despite higher rates, Tech also in demand with SQ2 up 6.8% with its bitcoin exposure helping, XRO up 3.3% and WTC better by 3.7%. The All-Tech Index up 2.6%. Miners mixed, iron ore and energy stocks eased, BHP down 0.6% and STO off 0.3% with WPL down 1.1%. Gold miners fell a little but rare earths and lithium stocks once again very firm. PLS up 1.6%, LYC up 3.1% and SYA up 6.8%. In corporate news, NEA soared 16.6% on an update on its ACV, UWL down 1.7% as an increased bid from Morrison’s at 500c saw off the Macquarie competition. TLX and LKE had positive announcements and Blackstone got approval to buy CWN from FIRB. Sigh of relief all around. Plenty happening in economic news ahead of the budget with retail sales beating expectations up by 1.8% to be 9.1% ahead of last year. Asian markets mixed and 10-year yields 2.90%.

End of Day Podcast – Tuesday, March 29

Major Movers:

  • Winners: NEA, LKE, TLX, INR, AEF, AQZ, MFG, SQ2
  • Losers: IHL, MCR, CVN, WHC, SGF, KAR, PLL
  • Positive sectors: Banks. Insurers. Healthcare. Industrials. REITs
  • Negative sectors: Iron ore. Gold miners. Oil and gas. Coal
  • High 7481 Low 7410
  • Big Bank Basket: Rises to $190.63 (+0.4%)
  • All-Tech index: Up 2.6%
  • Gold: Falls to $2569.
  • Bitcoin: Rises to US$47491
  • Aussie Dollar: Falls to 74.86c
  • 10-Year Yield: Firms to 2.90%. Helps banks
  • In Asian trade, mixed session, HK up 0.4%, China down 0.5% and Japan up 0.6%
  • US Futures: Dow up 36  – Nasdaq down 10

Stocks on the Move

  • NEA +16.60% ACV to hit $150m.
  • LKE +14.88% non-binding MOU with Hanwa.
  • AEF +7.86% looks to have turned.
  • PNV +6.60% post CV bounce.
  • INR +8.33% MOU with NexTech Batteries.
  • AGY +6.25% Rio Rincon deal helps sentiment.
  • DGL +5.86% kicks again.
  • SYA +6.82% Lithium in Canada.
  • SQ2 +6.82% Block rally continues. Bitcoin exposure helps.
  • BTH +9.15% tech rally.
  • CAT +9.38% signs German FA.
  • IHL -5.08% volatility continues. Loyalty options prospectus.
  • WHC -4.28% becoming a substantial shareholder.
  • CVN -4.55% $70m capital raise.
  • TIE -11.97% capital raise.
  • MAY -13.79% drilling update sub-optimal.
  • EMV -4.55% sell-off continues on no volume.
  • ATL -6.09% tourists? where the bloody hell are they?
  • Speculative stock of the Day: Recharge Metals (REC) +250.00% Significant copper mineralisation at Brandy Hill South. Open at depth and along strike. 37m traded.

In the News

  • Uniti Group (UWL) – HRL Morrison & Co and Brookfield have lobbed a revised bid for UWL of 500c. Last Thursday, Macquarie Asset Management and PSP Investments put a 500c offer on the table which outbid the previous 450c bid from Morrison and Brookfield. Looks like Macquarie though has dropped out. The budget which is due tonight also had some pre-released spending measures that offered some upside potential for UWL. A $480m infrastructure project was announced to increase NBN speeds in rural Australia.
  • Rio Tinto (RIO) – completed the acquisition of the Rincon lithium project in Argentina for $825m, following approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). The direct lithium extraction technology proposed for the project has the potential to significantly increase lithium recoveries as compared to solar evaporation ponds. Lithium demand is forecast to grow in the range of 25-35% per year over the next decade.
  • Nearmap (NEA) – Annual contract value (ACV) surpasses $150m for the first time. Government contract signed in North America. Back in December Nearmap said its North America ACV portfolio was expected to surpass Australia and NZ. Sees closing ACV at the upper end of the $150-160m guidance range vs FY21 $128.2m, reflects growth of ~20%. NEA also highlighted it is trying to shift from being a content profiler to a solutions provider. Continues to search for a US-based director and board member to help its growth ambitions.
  • Telix Pharmaceuticals (TLX) – has been granted organ drug designation (ODD) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for TLX66, for conditioning treatment prior to hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
  • Carnarvon Energy (CVN) – says the $70m fully underwritten institutional placement announced on Monday was successful.
  • VGI Partners (VGI) and Regal Funds Management (RF1) have agreed to further extend the period of exclusivity to April 1 regarding their proposed merger.
  • Tiettoo Minerals (TIE) – has received binding commitments for a two-tranche placement to raise $130m
  • Ioneer (INR) – completed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NexTech Batteries, a developer of lithium-sulphur battery technology-based in Nevada.

Economic News/Bond Markets

  • Inflation expectation jumped 6.4% to a several year high. ANZ said consumer confidence is very weak given the
    strength of employment, which they say is directly linked to concerns over cost-of-living pressures.
  • ANZ Roy Morgan Weekly Consumer Confidence Index dips 0.1% to 91.1. 100 is considered a neutral level.
  • Retail sales for February improved by 1.8% to be up 9.1% vs a year ago and ahead of estimates of 0.9%. Cafes, restaurants and takeaways experienced the largest rise, up 9.7%. Food retailing had the largest industry fall, down 2.6% according to the ABS. Spending on clothes, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 11.2%in February, while departments store sales climbed 11.1%. Spending on food dropped 2.6% as COVID-19 restrictions eased.

Asian Markets

  • Shanghai lockdowns extended with oil slipping slightly on news in Asia. Daily positive numbers 4477.
  • Huarong Asset Management said state-owned Citic Group will replace the Ministry of Finance as its largest shareholder.

US and European News

  • Solid opening in store for Euro markets.
  • Russia no longer demanding Ukraine ‘De-Nazifies’ in talks.
  • Bitcoin turns positive for the year.
  • FedEx Founder steps aside after 50 years.
  • Brazilian President appoints an economist to run Petrobas ahead of election.
  • SPAC deals slipping as backers move to cut fees.
  • Barclays Bank said it is buying back a slug of structured notes at a loss after selling too many of them – it will book a loss of US$591m.

And finally…..