ASX 200 fell 20 points to finish at 7324 (-0.3%), letting go of some of yesterday’s gains. Energy sector leading the gainers today, WDS +1.1%, STX +5.3%, and COE +6.5%. Banks are down, WBC down 0.1% after getting upgraded to neutral from underperform at Macquarie, The Big Bank Basket falling to $172.21 (-0.9%) CBA falling 1.0%. Tech doing ok, with WTC up 1.5% and CPU up 1.4%. The All–Tech Index up 0.4%. Healthcare stocks were mostly down, CSL down 0.6% and RMD off 0.3%. REITS firmed GMG up 1.4% and URW up 1.0%. Bad day for miners BHP, RIO, and FMG all off 0.9%, 0.7%, and 1.8%, respectively as Cyclone Isla heads for WA. Gold miners finish in positive territory, NST up 0.7%, PRU up 1.2% and DEG firm 2.2%. Industrials lagging beyond again, TCL down 0.2% and QAN down 0.6% while DOW gained 2.6%. On the corporate front, Corporate Travel Management (CTD) surged +12.1% after being awarded a 2-year contract by UK Home Office worth £1.6B, Wesfarmers (WES) -0.7% offloads 37.2m shares in Coles (COL), OZ Minerals (OZL) +0.1% declares fully franked dividend of 175c per share. In economic news, Australian jobs data comes in hotter-than expected, holding near 50-year lows at 3.5% against forecasts of 3.6%. Labour market remains tight. Australian housing demand seen strengthening even further amid the migration surge, NAB’s April housing update attributed the recent rise in home values to low supply and extremely tight rental conditions, and additional demand form overseas migration. In Asian trade, Japan up 0.1%, HK down 0.7% and China down 0.3%. Dow futures up 9 points. NASDAQ futures up 21 points.
- Winners: TLG, CTD, ADT, NIC, STX, CXL, IMU
- Losers: SQ2, CIA, DMP. DVP, TUA, SLX
- Positive sectors: Oil and gas. Gold.
- Negative sectors: Staples. Iron ore.
- High 7322 Low 7235 Jobs number in focus.
- Big Bank Basket Falls to $172.21(0.9%)
- All-Tech index: Up 0.4%
- Gold Steady at $3008
- Bitcoin: Steady at US$30,071
- Aussie Dollar: Higher on 3.5% unemployment 67.00c
- 10-Year Yield: yields higher at 3.29%.
- Asian markets: Japan up 0.1%, China down 0.3% with HK down 0.7% on Baba news.
- US Futures: Dow up 9 Nasdaq up 21
- European markets openly mixed in quiet trade.
- TLG +12.12% good boost higher.
- CTD +12.06% UK government contract.
- NIC +5.35% run continues.
- DEG +2.15% RRL +3.11% gold still in demand.
- SFR +2.21% broker upgrades.
- DRE +16.42% movement at the station.
- MNB +3.33% African fertiliser project.
- WHC +2.67% bargain hunting.
- STX +5.32% still finding buyers.
- 29M -2.70% profit taking after Mammoth day.
- SQ2 -5.78% follows US down.
- HM1 -2.46% gives some gains back.
- DMP -3.83% stuffed crust again.
- MYR -2.86% economic concerns.
- ABB -2.19% change of director’s interest.
- IPO of the Day: Evergreen Lithium (EG1) +50.77% This floated yesterday and kicked again today.
- Speculative Stock of the Day:Omega Oil and Gas (OMA) +35.90% outstanding exploration success with canyon-2 intersecting 293m of gas and hydrocarbon shows. Good volume too.
- Beach Energy (BPT) – Reported a 5% decline in production for the March quarter to 4.5m barrels of oil, citing a gas surplus and a planned mine shutdown. This resulted in a 13% drop in total sales revenue to $353m due to lower sales volumes and lower realized oil pricing.
- Emerald Resources (EMR) – Reported strong gold production of 28,764 ounces during the March quarter in Cambodia, with 81,621 ounces produced year-to-date and on track to reach guidance. Cash and bullion holdings increased to $79.4m, while the indicative all-in sustaining cost remained within previously disclosed guidance.
- Corporate Travel Management (CTD) – Secured a bridging accommodation and travel services contract with the UK Home Office, valued at £1.6bn. The deal, which began in March and is set to run for two years with a one-year extension option.
ECONOMICS & OTHER NEWS
The jobless rate held at 3.5% in March, against forecasts of 3.6%.
During the month, 53,000 jobs were created, far above forecasts of 20,000. The participation rate remained at 66.7%. Today’s report suggests a tight labour market and the ASX 200 has sold off a little on worries that the RBA will have to be more aggressive.
- Full-time employment increased by 72,200 to 9,748,900 people
- Part-time employment decreased by 19,200 to 4,135,600 people.
- ANZ says it expects the total private sector credit to gain 0.7% in 2023 and 4.8% in 2024.
- Property sentiment was largely unchanged in the March quarter and remains below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, according to a survey conducted by ANZ and the Property Council.
- Advertisements for jobs on SEEK dropped 0.6 per cent in March, indicating some stabilisation.
- Cyclone Ilsa is expected to intensify into a category 5 weather system as it moves towards the east Pilbara coast tonight, the weather bureau said. Gusts up to 285km/h, the weather bureau says. This is an increase of 10km/h from the previous forecast.
- China’s exports unexpectedly rose in March. Exports jumped 14.8% in US dollar terms last month from a year earlier.
- Imports declined 1.4%, the customs administration said leaving a trade surplus of US$88.2bn for the month. In yuan terms, China’s exports rose about 23% in March from a year ago, up from 5.2% in February, according to Bloomberg calculations based on official data. Imports increased about 6.3% in March after rising 11.1% in February.
- Softbank is moving to sell the majority of its stake in Alibaba. It has sold more than US$7bn in Alibaba shares this year through prepaid forward contracts, after selling US$29bn last year.
US AND EUROPEAN HEADLINES
- President Biden is in Dublin today and will address parliament. To be sure.
- Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius said he expects the Federal Reserve to lift the range on its key federal funds rate by a quarter point in May and then hold it at 5 to 5.25% into the second quarter of 2024.
- Most Americans surveyed have little confidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping will “do the right thing regarding world affairs. The study found 13% of Americans who participated in the survey said they have never heard of Xi, a percentage that rose to 27% among respondents ages 18 to 29.