The ASX 200 is up 4 points in flat mid-morning trade. Mixed is the theme for today. Banks ↑ ex CBA, Materials mixed and results mixed too. SUL, MQG +ve TCL and CGF less so. Housing finance and NAB survey ahead, #ausbiz


  • Results – Macquarie Group (MQG) – Operational briefing, Transurban Group (TCL)
  • Economic data – NAB Business Confidence, Housing finance data
  • Ex-dividend – GUD Holdings (GUD) 25.0c, Insurance Aust. Grp. (IAG)12.0c
  • Chinese FDI


  • US economic data – NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, JOLTS – Job Openings


  • Macquarie Group (MQG) – Great result. Trading conditions were satisfactory with significant realisations across the Group in the December 2018 quarter; Annuity-style businesses’ combined December 2018 quarter net profit contribution1 slightly up on the December 2017 quarter (prior corresponding period)- FY19 YTD2 net profit contribution from annuity-style businesses down on FY18 YTD mainly due to lower performance fees in Macquarie Asset Management (MAM) offset by timing of transactions in Corporate and Asset Finance (CAF) Principal Finance and continued growth in Banking and Financial Services (BFS); Markets-facing businesses’ combined December 2018 quarter net profit contribution significantly up on the prior corresponding period – FY19 YTD net profit contribution from markets-facing businesses significantly up on FY18 YTD primarily due to higher principal revenue in Macquarie Capital and strong performance from the commodities platform in Commodities and Global Markets (CGM); Financial position comfortably exceeds regulatory requirements3 – Group capital surplus of $A4.0 billion and – Bank CET1 ratio 10.8% (Harmonised: 13.6%); Leverage ratio 4.9% (Harmonised: 5.6%) LCR 163%4; NSFR 111%; Macquarie expects an increase of up to 15 per cent in the FY19 result compared with the FY18 result
  • Super Retail Group (SUL) – Total Group Sales +6.0% to $1.4bn on pcp, EBITDA +11.3% to $166.2m, Positive contribution from all Segments, with Auto, Outdoor and Sports Segment EBIT expected to generate growth of 2.5%, 39.6% and 5.2% respectively; Operating cash flow of $235.4 million, $69.2 million higher than Group Segment EBITDA. Trading update: Strong start to 2H the three larger Group businesses delivering positive sales growth. LFL sales growth ~4% in Supercheap Auto over the first six weeks of the second half. BCF ~8%lfl sales growth over the same period, while Macpac ~-2% as the business is cycling a significant clearance program in the prior comparative period. LFL sales growth in Rebel ~8% over the six weeks.
  • Transurban (TCL) – 376,000 hours in average workday travel-time savings from July to December 2018; Average daily traffic (ADT) grew by 2.7%; Linkt Assist team established to help customers in hardship; NorthConnex tunnelling complete with paving and mechanical-and-electrical work underway; 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension project development framework agreed with VDOT; Raised $4.8 billion of new equity to support the WestConnex acquisition; FY19 distribution guidance reaffirmed at 59.0 cps, growth of 5.4% over FY18; 1H19 distribution of 29.0 cents per security (cps); Statutory profit of $145 million; Proportional toll revenue increased by 9.3% to $1,286 million; Underlying cost growth of 2.7% excluding new assets. This reduces to 1.5% growth excluding foreign exchange; Proportional earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 9.8% to $1,001 million; Free cash flow of $715 million




US EQUITIES – S&P 500 +2 (+0.07%), Dow -53 (-0.21%), NASDAQ +10 (+0.13%)

Main themes

Initial strength faded

  • Optimism surrounding the start of the latest round of trade negotiations between officials from United States and China – US officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, are visiting Beijing, with trade talks planned for later in the week. Reports of a meeting at the Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida. This meeting could take place as soon as mid-March, the report said.
  • US dollar stronger

EUROPEAN MARKETS – Higher. STOXX500 +0.85%, UK FTSE +0.82%, German DAX +0.99%, French CAC +1.06%.


  • The USD has rallied 0.4% to 97.05. It is now with 0% of the 2018 high. Further strength could put pressure on earnings and add to concerns about the impact of dollar strength on emerging markets.
  • The Aussie dollar is weaker at US70.67c.

BONDS – 2-yr: +1 bp to 2.48%, 3-yr: +2 bps to 2.46%, 5-yr: +3 bps to 2.47%, 10-yr: +2 bps to 2.65%, 30-yr: +2 bps to 2.99%


  • WTI crude futures were down 0.6% at US$52.41. Increase production (higher Baker Hughes rig count), US-Chinese trade relations and a US refinery closure more than offset the OPEC production cuts and US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
  • Iron Ore – IRESS reports iron ore unchanged at US$86.50 a tonne. The CommSec site shows iron ore down US$4.20 or 4.0% to US$90.20 a tonne.
  • LME metals – Mostly weaker. Copper -0.97%, nickel -0.64%, aluminium -0.00%


  • Chinese growth – Media reports (China Daily) that GDP growth is expected to slow to 6.3% in 2019 (6.6% in 2018). Other reports that sales over the year rose 42.7%.
  • UK data – Dec GDP -0.4%mom (expected 0.0%; last 0.2%). Q4 GDP +0.2%qoq (expected 0.3%; last 0.6%) and +1.3%yoy (expected 1.4%; last 1.6%). Construction Output -2.8%mom (expected 0.2%; last 0.1%). Industrial Production -0.5%mom (expected 0.1%; last -0.3%) and -0.9%yoy (expected -0.4%; last -1.3%). Manufacturing Production -0.7%mom (expected 0.2%; last -0.1%) and -2.1%yoy (expected -1.1%; last -1.2%).
  • US earnings – Loews (L -6.9%) earnings loss disappointed.


“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. Charles Darwin” – English scientist born this day in 1809. Died 19 April 1882


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