ASX 200 fell hard down 57 points to 7308 (-0.8%) after US falls and another day ahead of Powell testimony. Few sectors or stocks escaped today after the Fed spooking, Banks eased with CBA down 0.5% and WBC down 1.2%. The Big Bank Basket fell to $174.30 (-0.7%). MQG gave back some recent gains falling 1.1%, money managers held up better than expected. Insurers mixed. IAG and QBE slightly better. REITs slipped a little but held relatively firm, industrials mixed with WOW down 0.6% and COL off 0.3% with DMP falling another 3.8%. Tech flat with CPU up 1.4% and XRO down 1.2%. The AllTech index only slightly easier. Healthcare mixed with RHC off 0.5% and COH up 1.1%. Resources once again the problem. A killer combo of a lower AUD, lower Chinese GDP target and falling commodity prices are hurting. WDS fell 7.2% after going ex-dividend. BHP and RIO down slightly ahead of big dividends tomorrow. Gold miners crashed despite AUD Bullion unchanged, NCM down 3.3% and NST off 2.8% with EVN cratering 4.2%. Lithium on the nose, PLS down 1.4%, LTR off 2.1% and CXO falling 3.5%. Base metals also under pressure, S32 down 2.2%. On the corporate front, NCZ board threw in the towel and recommended the offer, QAN hit a three-year high on an ACCC report, NXL fell hard as the Ex CEO appealed the recent decision and MSB was approved its resubmision to the FDA and CAR in a trading halt as it buys another 40% of Brazilian website. On the economic front, RBA head teller went all warm and fuzzy and talked empathy on rates and the pause. Asian markets struck down on Powell comments. HK falling hard. 10-year yields remarkably steady considering. Dow futures up 27 points. NASDAQ futures down 1 point.


HEADLINES

  • Winners: MSB, NAN. WBT, PNV, VSL, PPH, IRE, QAN
  • Losers: RMS, TER, WDS, RRL, SIQ, INR, SLR, CMM
  • Positive sectors: Travel. Healthcare.
  • Negative sectors: Gold miners. Iron ore. Lithium. Coal. Banks.
  • High 7351 Low 7289
  • Big Bank Basket: Falls to $174.37, down 0.7%
  • All-Tech index: Down 0.3%
  • Gold steady at $2753
  • Bitcoin: Falls to US$22110
  • Aussie Dollar: Falls to 65.77c
  • 10-Year Yield: Falls to 3.75%.
  • Asian markets: Asian markets mixed, Japan up 0.3%, China down 0.5% but HK down 2.5%
  • US Futures: Dow up 27 Nasdaq down 1

MAJOR MOVERS

  • MSB +14.05% good news from USA.
  • WBT +6.04% hitting highs.
  • PPH +3.11% deal extended.
  • QAN +2.89% ACCC report.
  • NAN +7.51% can see no reason ‘cos there are no reasons.
  • NEU +2.75% deadline approaches. PDUFA March 12th.
  • IVZ unchanged – bucking the downtrend at least.
  • WDS -7.23% ex div and some.
  • 5EA -11.55% down again.
  • TLG -3.39% Livewire article.
  • VNT -4.74% reduction in shareholding by CIMIC and Apollo.
  • NXL -15.23% appeal to go ahead.
  • JAN -6.67% not happy.
  • Speculative Stock of the Day:Summit Minerals (SUM) +26.92% exceptional drilling results at Stallion REE project. (REE is rare earths equivalent).
  • Above Average Volumes: SUM, VNT, YPB

COMPANY NEWS

  • Mesoblast (MSB) has announced that the US FDA’s Office of Therapeutic Products has accepted its resubmission for remestemcel-L. The drug will be used to treat steroid-refractory acute graft in children. The FDA has considered the resubmission as a complete response, and the prescription drug user fee act goal date has been set for August 2.
  • Hearts and Minds Investments (HM1) released a February investment update. HM1 portfolio fell 1% in Feb but remains up 4.7% over the last 6 months. HM1’s share price is trading at a discount to NTA backing per share.
  • Carsales.com (CAR) is raising $500m through an entitlement share offer to acquire a 40% stake in Webmotors in Brazil for $353m. The offer is priced at 1995c per share and includes a 10.8% discount to the closing price on March 7.
  • Pushpay Holdings (PPH) has announced that the buyout offer from Pegasus Bidco has been extended until March 13, after the consortium failed to collect enough shareholder votes last week. The bidder is offering NZ134c per Pushpay share and requested an extension to explore alternative proposals.
  • Sayona Mining (SYA) has generated 70 tonnes of lithium concentrate in the first production at North American Lithium operation in Québec, Canada. The company targets four shipments for 1H24 and aims to produce 85,000 to 115,000 tonnes during this period.
  • Nuix (NXL) will continue to reject Edward Sheehy’s claims even after he lodged an appeal following the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss his claims last month. Sheehy contests that the primary Judge was incorrect in concluding that he was precluded from raising the matters in his claims by the doctrine of Anshun estoppel.
  • NRW Holdings (NWH) reported a 15% increase in revenue to $1.33bn and an EBITA of $80.1m, up 7.4% YoY, in its FY23 half-year results. The company’s NPAT was $50.4m, up 3.9% YoY, while its cash balance was $154.8m. NWH maintained its EBITA guidance for the full year FY23 at $162m to $172m.

ECONOMICS & OTHER NEWS

  • RBA governor Lowe is considering a pause on further interest rate rises, citing difficulties for households and revealing that mortgage repayments are set to consume a record share of wages. After increasing the cash rate by 0.25 percentage points to 3.6%, implying at least one more interest rate rise is guaranteed, Lowe said “we are closer to the point where it will be appropriate to pause interest rate increases.”.
  • ACCC’s quarterly report on Airline Competition in Australia shows a third decrease in discount fares in January 2023. Passengers only reached 89% of pre-pandemic levels. On-time performance improved, although Jetstar reported the highest rates of delayed and cancelled flights. Jet fuel prices fell 35%. Qantas’ market share fell to 34.8%, Virgin Australia held 33.4%, and Rex transported 4.9% of domestic passengers. ACCC’s report is the 11th report under the Australian Government’s direction to monitor domestic air passenger services.
  • CBA maintained its RBA forecast of one more rate increase in April, taking the cash rate to 3.85%. It noted there is a risk the central bank could opt to keep it on hold. CBA expected a bounce back in employment of 45,000, a lift in the participation rate and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.7%.
  • NAB says an RBA cash rate pause in April or May is a real possibility but still expects an interest rate increase in both April and May, taking the cash rate to 4.1%.
  • Nomura has maintained its RBA cash rate forecast of a quarter-point increase in April and May to 4.1%. It anticipates rate cuts early next year, taking the cash rate to 2.85% by December 2024.

ASIAN MARKETS

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed more than 2% in the first hour of trade, led by consumer cyclicals, health-care, basic materials and technology stocks.

US AND EUROPEAN HEADLINES

  • Day Two of Humphrey Hawkins testimony from Powell. Maybe reverse all engines.
  • US 2-year yield exceeds 10-year by a full percentage point.
  • Berkshire Hathaway bought nearly 5.8m shares in Occidental, in a few separate trades on Friday, Monday and Tuesday, paying prices in the range from $59.8 to $61.90. totaling more than $350m.
  • Executives at some of the world’s largest telecommunications and technology firms have said that 6G is likely to launch in 2030 though after huge investments 5G penetration among consumers remains low globally.
  • Ukraine denies any involvement in Nord Stream pipeline explosions.
  • EU tells Elon Musk to hire more staff to moderate Twitter.

And finally……

LIFE IN 1950s MELBOURNE AT A GLANCE 

Price of a loaf of bread: 8 cents Average yearly wage for male factory workers: $592.33 

Average yearly wage for female factory workers: $294.40

Average yearly wage for a male clerk or manager: $866.14

Average yearly wage for a female clerk or manager: $325.06

Unemployment rate: 1-1.7 per cent

Biggest names in sport: Dawn Fraser, Betty Cuthbert, Peter Thomson.

Latest tech device (the tablet of its day): Television

Population of Melbourne: 1.3 million in 1950

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