The ASX 200 is down 11 points in mid-morning trade after a volatile night. Gold and Materials ok but other sectors ↓. BREXMESS (Better than BREXS**T) is too hard, Moore is definitely less and it’s a bit quiet on news. #ausbiz
- IPH Limited (IPH) – The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Xenith Group by IPH.
- Pact Group (PGH) – Mr Sanjay Dayal has been appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, effective 3 April 2019. Sanjay was most recently Chief Executive, Building Products, Corporate Strategy and Innovation at BlueScope Steel.
- Lendlease(LLC) – Presentation at CS Asian investment
SPI FUTURES 0
US EQUITIES – S&P 500 -13 (-0.46%), Dow -32 (-0.13%), NASDAQ -48 (-0.63%)
- Market well off the lows. Dow was down 232 at one stage but staged an afternoon rally, potentially after better than expected trade data, which could be a boost to this quarter’s GDP.
- Yields under pressure from after Stephen Moore called on the Fed to cut rates 50bp.
EUROPEAN MARKETS – Generally flat. STOXX500 +0.02%, UK FTSE -0.03%, German DAX +0.00%, French CAC -0.12%.
- The USD is a touch stronger at 96.94
- The Aussie dollar is lower at US70.86.
BONDS – Another rally in bonds. 2-yr: -5 bps to 2.21%, 3-yr: -4 bps to 2.14%, 5-yr: -3 bps to 2.17%, 10-yr: -4 bps to 2.37%, 30-yr: -5 bps to 2.82%
- Oil – WTI futures fell US53c or almost 1% to close at US$59.41 a barrel. EIA reported inventories rose by 2.8bm (exp 2.8mb) while growth concerns also weighed on demand expectations. From a supply perspective, support came from news that Venezuela’s main oil export port of Jose and its four crude upgraders are unable to resume operations following a massive power blackout.
- US gold futures closed down US$4.60 at US$1,310.40
- Iron Ore – IRESS reports that iron ore was unchanged at US$87.00. CommSec reports iron ore was down US40c or 0.5% to U$84.40.
- LME metals – Mixed. Copper -0.19%, nickel -0.38%, aluminium -0.05% but lead rose 0.8%
ECONOMIC DATA, NEWS & POLITICS
- US economic data – Weekly MBA Mortgage Index 8.9% (prior 1.6%); January Trade Balance -$51.10bn (consensus -$57.50bn; prior -$59.90bn); Q4 Current Account Balance -$134.4bn (consensus -$126.60bn; prior -$126.60bn)
- European banks rallied after comments from ECB president Mario Draghi, who said the ECB is looking at the “side effects” of negative interest rates on the banking sector. He reiterated that growth risks in Europe remain and that substantial accommodation was still needed in order to get inflation back to the bank’s target. Also commenting on banks’ squeezed net interest margins “if necessary we need to reflect on possible measures that can preserve the favourable implication of negative rates for the economy while mitigating the side effects, if any”, adding that “low bank profitability is not an inevitable consequence of negative rates.” Current ECB rate is -40bp
- Boeing has unveiled a new 737 Max plane software fix which addresses some of the safety concerns, including changes to the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS automated flight control system. Initially rose 1% on the news.
- Brexit – Theresa May has offered to resign as Prime Minister if parliament will support her Brexit deal. IT has already been rejected twice.