The ASX 200 is down 21 points in mid-morning trade after mixed o/n leads. Defensive sectors ↑, Materials worst. NUF result and guidance ↓, WTC back online, BKL mgmt. change. FOMC decision ahead #ausbiz
- Nufarm (NUF) – Underlying EBITDA -2% to $120.9m. Underlying loss of $11.5m (prev $10.7m profit). Group revenue +8% (or 9.1% in constant currency terms). trong performance in the North American, Latin American and Seed Technology businesses, which largely offset weaker performance in Australia and Europe. Interim dividend suspended. Sales weighted to 2H. Australian 2H challenging due to very low sub-soil moisture levels in key cropping areas and expectations of a poorer than average season in Eastern states. Expects full year EBITDA to be in the range of $440-$470m – around 12% lower than its previous guidance of underlying EBITDA in the range of $500 million to $530 million.
- Wisetech Global (WTC) – Has successfully completed a $300m fully underwritten placement (‘Placement’) of 14,354,067 fully paid ordinary shares to existing institutional shareholders and eligible new institutional investors at a price of $20.90 (last price $23.18). Increased form $250m due to demand. SPP will be the lower of the Placement Price or a 2% discount to the 5-day VWAP to the Closing Date of the SPP.
- Blackmores (BKL) – Following Richard Henfrey’s resignation as CEO and MD, Marcus Blackmore (son of founder Maurice Blackmore) will become interim CEO effective 1 April 2017.
- McMillan Shakespeare (MMS) – Pause in trading
- Corporate Travel (CTD) – Investor presentation
- Wesfarmers (WES) – Bunnings presentation and site tour
- Sydney Airport (SYD) – Traffic numbers
Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey
- Survey of 239 global fund managers and $664bn in assets under management.
- Overall, the bull-bear indicator is in neutral territory
- Global stock allocation fell to its lowest level since October 2016 to 3% overweight (6% last month), with $46bn in outflows ytd.
- Cash allocations fell 0.2% to 4.6%, or 40% overweight (down from a decade high of 44% in February but well above the long-term historical avera).
- Major concern is slowdown in China (cited by 30% of respondents), while the US-China trade war risk fell to 2nd place after 9 months at number 1 (cited by 19% of respondents),
- US dollar at its most overvalued since June 2002.
- Economic growth and inflation – expectations improved, with 34% of investors expecting a higher consumer price index over the next year. However 59% of investors are bearish on the outlook for the next 12 months, the highest since October 2016.
- Rate expectations – 55% expect the Fed to continue to raise rates, 38% think the cycle has ended
- “Most crowded trade” was to short European equities (the first time).
SPI FUTURES +10
US EQUITIES – S&P 500 +0 (+0.00%), Dow -27 (-0.10%), NASDAQ +9 (+0.12%)
- Conflicting reports over progress with US-China trade negotiations – initially that China was pushing back on US demands (Bloomberg) and then that talks were in final stages and
EUROPEAN MARKETS – Mostly higher. STOXX500 +0.57%, UK FTSE +0.34%, German DAX +1.13%, French CAC +0.24%.
- The USD is lower at 96.40
- The Aussie dollar is also lower at US70.88.
BONDS – 2-yr: +1 bp to 2.46%, 3-yr: +2 bps to 2.42%, 5-yr: +1 bp to 2.42%, 10-yr: +1 bp to 2.61%, 30-yr: +2 bps to 3.03%
- Oil – WTI futures were down US6c to US$59.03. OPEC has cancelled its April meeting, extending its output cuts to June at the earliest.
- Iron Ore – IRESS reports that iron ores was up US$1 to US$89.00. CommSec reports iron ore was down US85c or 1% to U$86.95.
- LME metals – All stronger. Copper +0.39%, nickel +1.08%, aluminium +0.62%
ECONOMIC DATA, NEWS & POLITICS
- US economic data – Factory Orders 0.1% (consensus 0.2%; prior 0.1%)
- RBA meeting minutes yesterday – Noted the significant uncertainties in the economic outlook. It sees a risk of a “marked slowing” in dwelling investment in the near term.
- Housing prices – -2.4%qoq (expected -1.9%; last -1.5%), the sharpest contraction in the series that dates back to 2008.
- Brexit – Reports that British Prime Minister Theresa May will seek a 9-12 month Brexit extension from the EU after Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow indicated that he will not allow a third vote on the same withdrawal bill. In other Brexit news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will “fight to last hour” for an orderly Brexit.
- European data – German economic sentiment was better than expected in March
- UK – employment trends in the UK were also better than expected, with the unemployment rate (3.9%) the lowest since 1975.