The ASX 200 is up 46 points in mid morning trade after a great week/month/quarter end. Staples the highlight with WOW buyback and BigW update. Gold the laggard. CCP halt with raising and update, SHV crop update, RIO prodn update. Big day/week of news #ausbiz
- Economic data – AIG Manufacturing Index, CommBank Australia Manufacturing PMI Final, TD-MI Inflation Gauge , HIA New Home Sales, NAB Business Confidence
- Japanese data – Nikkei Manufacturing PMI Final
- Chinese data – Caixin Manufacturing PMI
- Ex–dividend – BetaShares Australian High Interest Cash ETF (AAA) 0.0c, Aurora Absolute Return Fund (ABW)0.2c, Aurora Global Income (AIB) 0.1c, Aurora Property Buy-Write Income Trust (AUP) 3.6c, CTI Logistics (CLX) 2.0c, Evans Dixon (ED1) 5.0c, Lycopodium (LYL) 15.0c, NB Global Corporate Income Trust (NBI) 0.9c, Stanmore Coal (SMR) 3.0c, Suncorp Group (SUN) 8.0c
- European data – Markit Manufacturing PMI Final, Inflation Rate YoY Flash
- UK data – Markit/CIPS Manufacturing PMI
- US economic data – Retail Sales, ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending
- Woolworths (WOW) – $1.7bn off-market buyback, completion of petrol sale and outcome of Big W network review. successful completion of the sale of its Petrol business to EG Group, with proceeds from the sale to be returned to shareholders via a $1.7 billion off-market buy-back. Will also close 30 Big W stores over the next 3 years and 2 distribution centres. Cost of existing will be $270m, with $100m in non-cash impairments. BIG W comparable sales growth in Q3’19 (12 weeks non Easter-adjusted) was approximately 6% and was underpinned by strong transaction growth. Despite this, the profit improvement is slower than planned with BIG W currently expected to report a loss before interest and tax in F19 of $80-$100 million (F18: loss of $110 million).
- Charter Hall Retail REIT (CQR) – Will acquire Rockdale Plaza, NSW for $142 an draise $150m in an insto placement ay $4.51, and UPP for $10m. Reaffirms FY19 operating earnings growth of 2%, in line with its previous guidance
- Rio Tinto (RIO) – Progressively resuming operations in the Pilbara following Tropical Cyclone Veronica. Initial inspections uncovered some damage to the Cape Lambert A port facility and RIO has declared force majeure on certain contracts and is working with its customers to minimise any disruption in supply. Loss of approximately 14 million tonnes of production in 2019 and Pilbara shipments in 2019 are expected to be at the lower end of the 338 and 350 million tonnes (100% basis) guidance provided.
- Credit Corp (CP) – $100m placement at $20.45.and $10 SPP to “enhance the strategic position of the Group, accelerate the execution of the Group’s strategic expansion initiatives and provide the Group with additional balance sheet flexibility.” Updated guidance
- Smart Group (SIQ) – Special dividend of 20c
- Sigma Health (SIG) – New Community Service Obligation Deed (CSO Deed) with the Commonwealth of Australia. The new contract commences 1 April 2019 and runs until 30 June 2020
- Select Harvests (SHV) – Crop and Market Update. 2019 harvest is progressing very well. Around 50% of the trees have been harvested and completion is expected around the end of April. Results from the 25% of the crop processed so far is 10% above industry benchmark volumes. With the estimated crop volume over 70% USD hedged and almond prices expected to remain at current levels, we are now forecasting an FY2019 almond price range of A$8.40 – A$8.70/kg.
- Domestically – RBA meeting, house prices, retail sales and trade data
- China – official PMI data over the weekend (both manufacturing and services) and the Caixin version later in the week.
- European inflation and unemployment and PMI numbers
- UK – also PMI numbers
- US – ISM index and retail sales on Monday, followed by employment data on Friday.
SPI FUTURES +18
US EQUITIES – S&P 500 +19 (+0.67%), Dow +211 (+0.82%), NASDAQ +60 (+0.78%)
EUROPEAN MARKETS – All positive. STOXX500 +0.60%, UK FTSE +0.62%, German DAX +0.86%, French CAC +1.02%.
- The USD is a touch weaker at 97.21
- The Aussie dollar is stronger at US70.99.
BONDS – 2-yr: +4 bps to 2.27%, 3-yr: +4 bps to 2.21%, 5-yr: +4 bps to 2.24%, 10-yr: +3 bps to 2.41%, 30-yr: +1 bp to 2.82%
- Oil – WTI futures rose 84c to US$60.14 a barrel. Oil was up over 30% for the quarter. Boosted by OPEC/Russian commitment to reduce supply by 1.2mbpd, as well as US sanction against Iran and Venzuela and lower US production. US crude production moved lower in January to 11.87 mbpd and the Baker Hughes rig count fell to lowest in about a year..
- Iron Ore – IRESS reports that iron ore was unchanged at $86.500. CommSec reports iron ore was up US$3.2 or 3.8% to U$87.05.
- LME metals – Mostly higher. Copper +1.59%, nickel +1.05%, aluminium +0.47%
ECONOMIC DATA, NEWS & POLITICS
- US economic data – January Personal Spending 0.1% (consensus 0.3%; prior -0.6%), Core PCE Price Index 0.1% (consensus 0.2%; prior 0.2%), Personal Income 0.2% (consensus 0.3%; prior -0.1%); Chicago PMI 58.7 (prior 64.7); New Home Sales +4.87% to 667,000 (consensus 618,000; prior 636,000) and Final March Michigan Sentiment Index 98.4 (consensus 97.8; prior 97.8)
- PCE Prices – +0.1% and core +0.1% to by +1.4% and +1.8% over the year respectively, below the Fed’s longer run inflation target of 2.0%.
- Chinese data on the weekend – stronger than expected and up from February. In particular the Chinese manufacturing PMI raised its target price by rose above 50.
- US growth – Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles said that he maintains an upbeat view of the growth potential in the economy, which may necessitate more rate hikes.
- Brexit – The British Parliament voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal for the third time, increasing the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit on April 12.
- Chinese economy – China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced that trans-provincial natural gas pipeline tariffs, gasoline and diesel prices, and electricity tariffs for industrial and commercial use will be lowered on April 1.
- European growth – German February Retail Sales 0.9% (expected -1.0%; last 2.8%) to be +4.7%yoy (expected 2.8%; last 3.1%). March Unemployment Rate 4.9% (from 5.0%), a new post-reunification low. French February Consumer Spending fell 0.4% m/m (expected 0.2%; last 1.4%).