The ASX 200 is up 12 points  in mid mid-morning trade after another drama free session. Banks +ve, Materials drag. Results key. WES adds 8pts to AORD, WEB flies, Employment data ahead #ausbiz



  • Economic data – employment data the main focus


  • Ex-dividend – Academies Australasia Group (AKG) 1.3c, CVC 7.0c, volution Mining (EVN) 3.5c, GWA Group (GWA) 9.0c, JB Hi-Fi (JBH) 91.0c, Korvest (KOV) 9.0c, Microequities Asset Management Group (MAM) 1.0c, Macquarie Media (MRN) 3.0c, QV Equities (QVE) 2.2c


  • European inflation
  • US economic data – Durable Orders, Philadelphia Fed Index, Existing Home Sales, Leading Indicators
  • Fed Speak – Atlanta Fed President (non-voter) Raphael Bostic


  • Rio Tinto (RIO) – Published details of its global tailings facilities.
  • ResMed (RMD)/Fisher & Paykel (FPH) – Have settled all outstanding patent infringement disputes. The settlement involves no payment or admission of liability by either side. FPH said it will have no material impact on earnings guidance.
  • Wesfarmers (WES) – NPAT from continuing operations +10.4% to $1.08bn ($4.538bn including significant items relating to the discontinued operations.) FF div of $1 and special dividend on $1. Outlook “Cost of living pressures and a decline in residential housing conditions have contributed to a moderation in retail spending growth and consumers remain cautious and value conscious.”


  • Qantas (QAN) – Underlying Profit Before Tax: $780m (down $179m); Statutory Profit Before Tax: $735m (down $105m); Fuel cost: $2.0billion (up $416 million); Record result for Qantas Domestic, Jetstar Domestic and Qantas Loyalty; Net free cash flow: $218 million; Statutory Earnings Per Share: 30c; Return On Invested Capital: 19.3%; Up to $500 million shareholder return: interim dividend increased to 12 cents per share fully franked, plus an on-market buyback of up to $305 million; Higher fuel costs for FY19 expected to be fully recovered by end-of-year; Major environmental program to remove 100 million single-use plastic items, slash waste to landfill by 75%. Fuel bill up 27%.


  • Sydney Airport (SYD) – EBITDA +7.2% to $1,282.6m, Net operating receipts (NOR) up 9.4% on the pcp; 2018 distribution paid of 37.5 cents per stapled security, growth of 8.7%; Growth across all core businesses with total revenue increasing 6.8%; Tightly controlled costs; total expenses excluding security and normalised for hotels, marginally increased 1.8%; Capital investment of $378.5 million, delivering aviation capacity, improved airport access and an enhanced customer experience; Strong balance sheet with robust BBB+/Baa1 grade credit metrics and significant flexibility with over $1.3 billion in undrawn facilities currently available to cover future debt maturities and fund ongoing investment; Customer satisfaction scores increased 5% and 3% across the domestic and international terminals respectively; distribution guidance of 39.0
  • Flight Centre (FLT) – The Australia/New Zealand business achieving 2% growth to $6bn; The Americas delivering 18% growth to almost $2.5billion (22% of group TTV); The EMEA achieving 12% growth to $1.6billion (about 15% of group TTV); and FLT’s Asia businesses delivering 39% TTV growth to $885million (8% of group TTV). Nrmal dividend of 60c and special dividends of $1.49. FY19 Guidance – Tracking towards bottom of range and closely monitoring Australian leisure results, amid ongoing earnings and market volatility; Ongoing volatility in Australian Leisure business early in 2H ahead of busiest trading months; Continued focus on productivity & business transformation targets


  • Webjet (WEB)- $1.9 billion (TTV) – up 29%; $175.3 million revenue – up 33%; $58.0 million EBITDA – up 42%; 33.1% EBITDA margin – up 201bps; $38.3 million NPAT (before AA) – up 61%; $31.8 million NPAT – up 59%; 31.5 cents earnings per share (EPS) – up 48%; 8.5 cents fully franked interim dividend; Reconfirmed FY19 guidance and remains on track to deliver at least $120m EBITDA (excluding one-offs associated with the acquisition of DOTW).
  • Santos (STO) –


  • Qube (QUB) – Outlook – Expects to deliver a solid 2H well ahead of pcp, although presently expects the overall underlying NPATA in 2H19 will be lower than 1H. Reflects several factors including seasonality in parts of the business and an expected slowdown in container volume growth in 2H19. Overall, subject to no material adverse change to economic or operating conditions, Qube maintains its previous guidance and expects to deliver a solid increase in underlying net profit after tax (pre-amortisation) and a return to underlying earnings per share (pre-amortisation) growth in FY19.


  • Perpetual (PPT) – NPAT down 12% on 1H at $60.2m, due to performance fees, net outflows, and change in accounting treatment of unrealised gains and losses; Revenue down 5%; Fully franked interim dividend of 125, down 7% on 1H18; Strong balance sheet, low and stable gearing ratio; Continued investment to leverage strengths in brand, client relationships and people across all business divisions; CEO resets direction and agenda for growth




US EQUITIES – S&P 500 +5 (+0.18%), Dow +63 (+0.24%), NASDAQ +2 (+0.03%)

Main themes

  • January FOMC Minutes were mostly in line with market expectations.

EUROPEAN MARKETS – All higher. STOXX500 +0.67%, UK FTSE +0.69%, German DAX +0.82%, French CAC +0.69%.


  • The USD is little changed at 96.56.
  • The Aussie dollar is a touch weaker at US71.63c.

BONDS – 2-yr: UNCH at 2.50%, 3-yr: -1 bp to 2.46%, 5-yr: +1 bp to 2.48%, 10-yr: UNCH at 2.65%, 30-yr: +1 bp to 3.00%


  • Oil – WTI futures were up US83c or 1.5% at US$56.92, the high for the year.
  • Iron Ore – IRESS reports iron ore up US30c at US$88.30 a tonne. CommSec reports iron ore down US$1.40 or 1.6% to US$87.30 a tonne.
  • LME metals – All stronger. Copper +1.47%, nickel +2.13%, aluminium +1.11%


  • FOMC – The minutes noted labour market conditions continued to strengthen while GDP growth remained solid in 4Q.  But members were concerned about the volatility seen in financial markets at the end of 2018. The Minutes echoed the Fed Chairman’s view that patience with regard to future changes to the fed funds rate range would “allow time for a clearer picture of the international trade policy situation and the state of the global economy to emerge.” The FOMC discussed options for “substantially slowing the decline in reserves by ending the reduction in asset holdings at some point over the latter half of this year” with “almost all” participants agreeing it would be desirable to announce a plan to stop reducing the Fed’s asset holdings later this year.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May met with EC President Jean-Claude Juncker today, with May reportedly seeking a legally-binding concession on the Irish backstop. But the joint statement released by the two sides did not indicate any agreements other than the agreement to talk again before the end of the month.
  • ECB chief economist Peter Praet said the governing council will discuss new targeted long-term refinancing operations during the policy meeting on March 7, but a final decision may be made at a later time.

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