ASX 200 closed up 3 points at 7311 (0.05%). A good effort considering the downdraft of around 28 points from BHP and RIO ex-dividends. Solid gains across the board in a tight trading range with US jobs on Friday now the focal point after Powell. Banks higher again with CBA up 0.3% and WBC leading the charge up 1.2% with the Big Bank Basket up to $175.48 (0.6%). MQG flat, Insurers slightly higher with wealth managers mixed, AMP up 1.0% and MAF down 0.9%. Industrials better led by XRO in the tech space as it announced a new growth policy by cost-cutting. CPU up 0.9% with the All–Tech Index doing well up 2.3%. Staples better, WES up 0.7% and TLS up 0.5% with BXB up 1.0%, and QAN continue to cruise at altitude up 0.4%. REITs positive too, healthcare eased CSL ex-div down 2.2% and RMD off 1.2%. Resources bounced back except for BHP and RIO, which fell on ex-divs, lithium stocks were better, LTR up 4.3% and PLS up 4.4% with MIN better by 1.9% and LYC finding some friends after JARE deal up 1.6%. Gold miners were slightly firmer on some bargain hunting, and energy stocks better WDS up 1.2% and STO up 1.1% and WHC bouncing hard up 5.6%. In corporate news, MYR stunned retail watchers with a great set of numbers and a special dividend. Solly will be happy. Up 18.3% on the news. XRO cut 800 jobs, Alta Fox reduced its stake in EML. 29M sank 4.7% on rain closing production in QLD, and lithium hopefuls A11 and PLL in a halt pending a response to a short seller attack. Nothing local on the economic front, but Chinese CPI coming in weaker than expected. 10-year yields 3.70%. Dow futures down 25 points and Nasdaq futures down 24.
- Winners: MYR, WBT, XRO, RNU, ADT, NHC, WHC, ARU
- Losers: HLI, BFL, MMS, 29M, TER, VSL, IMU, PPT, BRG
- Positive sectors: Tech. REITs. Industrials. Banks.
- Negative sectors: Nothing.
- High 7329 Low 7290 Narrow range
- Big Bank Basket: Rallies to $175.48 up 0.6%
- All-Tech index: Up 2.3% XRO the star.
- Gold steady at $2748
- Bitcoin: Falls to US$21760
- Aussie Dollar: Steadies to 65.97c
- 10-Year Yield: Falls to 3.70%.
- Asian markets: Asian markets mixed, Japan up 0.5%, China down 0.4% but HK up 0.2%
- US Futures: Dow up 25 Nasdaq down 24
- MYR +18.32% great update.
- XRO +10.76% Cost cutting wins friends.
- WBT +10.76% rally continues ahead of retail briefings next week.
- ARU +5.31% bargain hunters.
- WHC +5.55% becoming a substantial shareholder.
- PLS +4.39% lithium not so depressed.
- LIN +18.37% high grade REE extension at Kangankunde.
- SLC +9.24% block trade relieves pressure,
- EML +5.62% substantial shareholder notice.
- AMA +4.08% smashed repaired.
- 29M -4.70% heavy rain halts production.
- GCY -37.21% re-instatement after capital raising.
- NEU -2.67% nerves ahead of D-Day next week.
- MMS -5.15% ceasing to be a substantial shareholder.
- FZO -11.90% presentation to Hartleys Rottnest conference
- Speculative Stock of the Day:Solstice Minerals (SLS) +12.90% after drill results at GSP revealed high-grade nickel sulphide.
- Above Average Volumes: SLC, KAU, SEQ, MNG, AUN, COS, BUY
- Atlantic Lithium (A11) has entered a trading halt after US-based Blue Orca Research launched a short attack, causing its shares to fall 32.2% on the London Stock Exchange will allegations of corruption. PLL also suspended on same report..
- Myer Holdings (MYR) has reported a 101.4% jump in interim profit to $65m as sales rose 24.2% to $1.9bn over the 26-week period to January 28. The firm also declared a special dividend of 4c, on top of its interim dividend of 4c. MYR Warned of macro conditions and economic uncertainty.
- Xero (XRO) plans to cut 700-800 roles globally and exit cloud-based lending platform Waddle, as part of a cost reduction program to achieve “disciplined growth”. The company expects to incur a write-down of $30-40m in FY23, and management is targeting an operating expense-to-revenue ratio in FY24 of around 75%.
- 29Metals (29M) has suspended all production and non-essential activities at its Capricorn Copper operations in QLD following extreme rainfall. The suspension may last up to three-to-four weeks.
- EML Payments (EML ) – Alta Fox Capital Alta Fox has reduced its stake in bombed-out EML Payments to 8.14%.
ECONOMICS & OTHER NEWS
- National Australia Bank and Westpac both passed through the full 25bps rise to mortgage borrowers. They also lifted some interest rates on deposit accounts as competition heats up for savers.
- Australia is expected to buy as many as five US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines in the 2030s as part of a landmark defence agreement between Washington, Canberra and London according to several US defence officials.
- Bitcoin fell to a three-week low, sapped by the collapse of crypto-friendly bank Silvergate Capital and the prospect of higher-than-expected central bank interest rates.
- China’s consumer inflation slowed sharply in February as economic activity let up following the end of Lunar New Year, while factory prices continued to decline.
- CPI rose 1% last month from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday, down from 2.1% in January and well below an economists’ median estimate of 1.9%.
- Core inflation, which doesn’t include volatile food and energy prices, ease to 0.6% from 1%.
- Producer prices dropped 1.4% last month, following a 0.8% fall in January. Economists had expected a 1.3% decline.
- Shares in Chinese suppliers of materials for semiconductors surged after unsubstantiated reports of impending Japanese export curbs circulated on social media.
- Japanese GDP expanded at an annualised 0.1% in the fourth quarter from the year-earlier period, the Cabinet Office said on Thursday.
- Bank of Japan will conclude Governor Kuroda’s final meeting Friday. Could be a surprise in store according to some. Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas are among the minority flagging the risk of Kuroda adjusting or scrapping the central bank’s yield curve control program.
US AND EUROPEAN HEADLINES
- Crypto bank Silvergate to shut down in face of market turmoil.
- Chinese AI groups use cloud services to evade US chip export controls.
- VW puts European battery plant on hold as it seeks €10bn from US.
- Total sales at the Amelia Island auction reached US$178.4m — a record for the event, topping the 2016 record of US$140m, according to classic-car insurance and events company Hagerty. A total of 43 cars sold for over US$1m, up from 33 last year, according to Hagerty. No sign of any slowdown here.
- The most expensive car sold at Amelia Island was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, sold at Gooding & Company for US$18m. Never get that for a Tesla.
- Cathie Wood’s flagship Ark fund tops US$300mn in fees despite losses. Maybe she can afford a Ferrari now.