ASX 200 sprinted up around 30 points before closing up only 4 at 7255 (+0.1%) as ex-dividends weighed and concerns on banking competition took their toll. Resources and especially iron ore was the place to be with BHP rallying 4.0%, RIO up 4.0% and FMG up 4.3%. Lithium stocks were up although PLS was off going ex-dividend and with a giant CATL placement weighing. Gold miners doing well, NCM up 2.2% and NST up 2.9% and base metal stocks in demand, S32 sprinting ahead 5.2%. Oiland gas better as WDS rallied with STO up 0.7%. Coal better too on China growth hopes. Banks were sold off heavily. CBA down 2.0% and NAB down 1.9% with the Big Bank Basket down to $171.25 over 2% . MQG lost 2.1% on mortgage competition and media reports of a big UK acquisition. Insurers eased with QBE down 0.6% and fund managers down again. MFG off 1.8% and GQG off 1.0%. Industrials fell across the board, REITs eased, Healthcare down led by CSL off 0.4% with COH down 0.2%. WES fell 0.9% and WOW off 1.4% with COL falling 3.2%. Tech mixed, XRO down 2.9% and WTC better by 1.0%. In corporate news, a little skinny out there today after reporting season, NTO board agreed to the Potentia takeover offer, DOW to be investigated by NSW corruption watchdog. CATL sold down its entire stake in PLS and KAR got slapped down 3.6% with a surprise temporary tax in Brazil. SBM announced it would put Touquoy on care and maintenance early next year. On the economic front, building approvals dropped to their lowest level since 2012. Asian markets flat, HK down 0.6% and China unchanged. Dow futures up 34 points. NASDAQ futures down 75 points.
- Winners: MGX, PRN, EMR, 29M, OBL, S32, BHP.
- Losers: WBT, LYC, 360, PTM, PNI, NVX, ARU.
- Positive sectors: Iron ore. Base metals. Lithium. Gold miners. Oil and gas.
- Negative sectors: Banks. Staples. REITs.
- High 7282 Low 7242 Narrow range, well off highs.
- Big Bank Basket: Hit hard to $171.25
- All-Tech index: Down 1.4%
- Gold higher to $2719
- Bitcoin: Steady at US$23487
- Aussie Dollar: Higher at 67.46c
- 10-Year Yield: Steady at 3.86%.
- Asian markets: Not much happening, mostly unchanged.
- US Futures: Dow up 34 points. Nasdaq down 75 points.
- MGX +8.77% iron ore gains.
- NEU +4.40% appoints Joe Basile to board.
- OBL +5.56% bouncing back.
- MIN +4.69% iron ore exposure.
- S32 +5.15% base metal bounce.
- WR1 +10.68% definitely win some today.
- PMT +5.14% statement of CDIs
- FZO +24.24% half yearly presentation.
- ADN +14.63% PEPR approved for Great White project.
- HAS -7.27% gave some back.
- WBT -11.75% had to happen. Ran hard.
- ARU -6.15% has been holding up for too long.
- PTM -6.49% Ex dividend.
- LYC -6.81% broker downgrades on Malaysian risk.
- Speculative Stock of the Day: JV Partners RXL +68.97% /VMC +25.93% – ‘Bonanza’ intercept of 28m @34.1g/t Au at Younami South.
- Above Average Volumes: ATV, RXL, VMC, VBC, TEE.
- Karoon Energy (KAR) reports that the Brazilian Government has announced a 9.2% tax on oil exports for a term of four months from March 1, 2023. The tax is expected to be deductible for corporate income tax purposes, and Karoon estimates that it will potentially pay $22-35m ($15-23m after-tax) during the term, depending on the volume of crude oil exported and realised oil prices.
- St Barbara (SBM) will put its Touquoy gold mine in Canada on “care and maintenance” early next year after it received requests from local authorities in response to an environmental assessment proposal to deposit tailings into the mine. Approval delays to deposit tailings would trigger production cessation in early FY24.
- Strike Energy (STX) has launched a fully funded gas acceleration strategy aimed at bringing up to four gas fields into commercial production by the end of 2025, starting with Walyering in early 2023.
- Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) – NAB has provided $12m financing to, a food producer looking to manufacture plant-based beverages in Australia, including oat milk. The financing will provide working capital and support the company’s financing capability during a time of market volatility and uncertainty.
- Macquarie Group (MQG) – Media reports the company is eyeing a £5bn-plus ($8.9bn) takeover bid of the UK fund manager and insurer M&G. Recently Macquarie chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake noted the group’s $12.5bn in surplus capital could be used to grow the business through acquisitions.
ECONOMICS & OTHER NEWS
- Building approvals slumped to a record low in January, fuelling the risk of further rental inflation as immigration numbers return to more normal levels. The number of standalone home approvals dropped 13.5% in January from December to a seasonally adjusted 7664, the lowest monthly total since June 2012.
- China’s GDP grew by 3% last year, missing the official target of around 5.5%. The Chinese government is widely expected to announce on Sunday a GDP growth target of around or above 5% for the year.
- Taiwan reported on Thursday a second day of large-scale Chinese air force incursions into its air defence identification zone.
US AND EUROPEAN HEADLINES
- The Musk master plan fell flat with investors after NOT revealing the master plan for the car company, just a plan to save the world. Four hours of vision and not much detail. None on the next generation of Tesla cars. Tesla shares fell as much as 6.8% to $189 in after-hours trading. He also said Tesla is more focused on refining lithium than on mining the battery metal.
- Salesforce beat expectations across the board. Up 16% after hours. Shareholder activists are everywhere in this one.Benioff pledges to put profits first amid activist face-off.
- Swiss prosecutors charge four bankers with helping to hide Putin’s millions.
- Bridgewater to cut jobs and cap flagship fund in post-Dalio overhaul.