MID MORNING MARKETS 15-02-19

The ASX 200 is up 4 points in mid-morning trade after a US retail sales fright. Narrow range. Results dominate. DHG and MPL relief, BBN disappoints, AHG impairment. TLS bounce. RBA Kent and Chinese CPI ahead #ausbiz

m1m2m3TODAY

  • Assistant Governor Christopher Ken speaking today
  • Ex-dividend – Argo Investments (ARG) 16.0c
  • Chinese inflation

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TONIGHT

  • UK – Retail Sales
  • European – Balance of Trade
  • US economic data – Export Prices ex-agriculture (prior -1.1%), Import Prices ex-oil (prior 0.0%), and February Empire Manufacturing Survey (Briefing.com consensus 7.0; prior 3.9), January Industrial Production (consensus 0.2%; prior 0.3%) and Capacity Utilization (consensus 78.8%; prior 78.7%); Preliminary February Michigan Sentiment Survey (consensus 94.0; prior 91.2)

COMPANY NEWS

  • Medibank Private (MPL) – Group NPAT down 15.4% to $207.7, Strong improvement in customer advocacy, Medibank Service NPS of 24 (+8) and ahm Service NPS was 35 (+5); Group operating profit $293.0 million, up 2.4%; Health Insurance (Operating profit $281.5 million, up 1.5%, Premium revenue growth 2.1%, management expense ratio 8.5%, down from 8.6% in first half 2018); Medibank Health (Operating profit up 14.7% to $28.9 million or up 38.5% to $12.6 million on an ongoing basis, Net investment income $4.1m, down from $59.7 million in first half 2018 in line with relevant indices. Dividend 5.7c

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  • Domain Group (DHG) – Revenue up 0.3% to $183.9m; EBITDA down 7.1% to $52.7m; EBIT down 12.0% to $38.4m; NPAT down 14.2% to $21.1m; EPS down 15.1% to 3.64c. FY19 Outlook – First six weeks of FY19 H2 saw continued growth in yield and lower listings volumes in a seasonally low listings period. The late timing of Easter reduces current visibility into the Autumn selling season. Continued investment in growth initiatives (including product development, marketing, and driving sales performance) is being supported by ongoing cost discipline. For FY19, Domain’s underlying costs (excluding investment in new Consumer Solutions businesses) are expected to be slightly down against proforma FY18. Total costs are expected to increase midsingle digit against proforma FY18.
  • Link Administration (LNK) – Statutory NPAT up 187% to $186.8m, Operating EBITDA up 25% to 185.4m, Operating NPATA up 17% to $107.8m; Revenue up 42% to $714.4m; 49% of revenue derived outside of Australia & New Zealand; Recurring Revenue of $570.5m, representing 80% of total revenue; Net operating cash flow of $138.0m, down 6% on the pcp; Interim dividend of 8.0c (up 14%).
  • Origin Energy (ORG) – Will acquire OC Energy, expanding its centralised energy services business. Cost is $58m, comprising an upfront payment of $33m and deferred payments of $25m. Will add 55,000 serviced hot water and embedded electricity network customers to Origin, primarily in New South Wales and Victoria. This is expected to grow by approximately 30,000 customers as contracted developments are completed and centralised energy services are installed. Origin will incur capital expenditure associated with installing centralised energy services at contracted sites over the next two years.
  • Automotive Holdings (AHG) – Will recognise a non‐cash impairment of approximately $226m in 1H result, reflecting the Company’s Franchised Automotive ($147m) and Refrigerated Logistics ($79m) business units and reflect a more conservative view of the balance sheet given current market conditions. Also restructuring/closing several sites, along with other corporate initiatives, leading to unusual items of $38m.

OVERNIGHT

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SPI FUTURES -11

US EQUITIES – S&P 500 -7 (-0.27%), Dow -104 (-0.41%), NASDAQ +7 (+0.09%)

Main themes

  • Dow was down as much as 235. Weak retails sales data spooked markets (largest monthly decline since September 2009)

EUROPEAN MARKETS – Mostly weaker. STOXX500 -0.32%, UK FTSE +0.09%, German DAX -0.69%, French CAC -0.23%.

CURRENCIES

  • The USD is little changed at 97.04.
  • The Aussie dollar is a little stronger at US71.04c.

BONDS – 2-yr: -3 bps to 2.50%, 3-yr: -4 bps to 2.48%, 5-yr: -6 bps to 2.47%, 10-yr: -5 bps to 2.66%, 30-yr: -3 bps to 3.01%

COMMODITIES

  • WTI crude futures were up US51c or 1.0% at US$54.51 on trade optimism and output cuts. China’s crude imports in January were above 10mbpd for third straight month.
  • Iron Ore – IRESS reports iron ore down US$4.00 to US$ 88.50 a tonne. The CommSec site shows iron ore up US$1.35 or 1.3% to US$87.80/a tonne.
  • LME metals – Mostly weaker. Copper +0.17%, nickel -1.69%, aluminium -1.94%

 ECONOMIC DATA, NEWS & POLITICS

  • US economic data – Retail Sales -1.2% (consensus 0.2%; prior 0.1%), Retail Sales ex-auto -1.8% (consensus 0.1%; prior 0.2%), January PPI -0.1% (consensus 0.1%; prior -0.1%), core PPI 0.3% (consensus 0.2%; prior -0.1%), weekly Initial Claims 239,000 (consensus 225,000; prior 235,000), and Continuing Claims 1.773 mln (1.736 mln); November Business Inventories -0.1% (consensus 0.2%; prior 0.6%)
  • Fed Speak – Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said the retail sales report is a reminder of downside risks, adding that the balance sheet run-off should end later this year.
  • US trade – South China Morning Post reported that U.S. and Chinese officials remain far apart on agreement China’s structural reforms but that negotiators are reportedly considering removing some tariffs. (Removin the 10.0% tariff on $200bn but keeping the 25.0% duty on $50bn).
  • European data – German GDP 0.0%yoy, but recession avoided. Eurozone Q4 flash GDP +0.2%qoq (as expected, last 0.2%); French Q4 Unemployment Rate 8.8% (prev 9.1%, expected 9.1%)
  • Chinese trade data yesterday – Larger than expected trade surplus for January ($39.16bn; expected surplus of $33.50 billion; last surplus of $57.06 billion), Imports from the US fell nearly 39.0%yoy while exports to the U.S. increased 1.9%yoyr.
  • Japanese GDP +0.3%qoq (expected 0.4%; last -0.7%). Technical recession avoided but external demand decreased 0.3%qoq (expected -0.4%; last -0.1%).

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“My standard comment is, ‘If you don’t want your kids to be like Bart Simpson, don’t act like Homer Simpson.’” – Matt Groening, American cartoonist born this day in 1954.

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