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Markets Live: Investors on a high

Date

Patrick Commins

Shares defy a weak lead from overseas to build on yesterday's post-GFC highs as banks and miners gain.

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That’s it for Markets Live today.

You can read a wrap-up of the action on the markets here.

Thanks for reading and your comments.

See you all again Monday morning from 9.

Enjoy your long weekend!

The Australian sharemarket finished the week up 1.4 per cent as bank stocks helped the S&P/ASX 200 Index to close to a six-year high and the case for keeping interest rates on hold for the rest of 2014 firmed, buoying the in-favour banking sector.

In a shortened week characterised by low volumes, the Australian dollar gave up some of its ground against the United States dollar, falling below US93 cents on Wednesday for the first time in more than a week. It was fetching US92.92 cents late on Thursday.

The benchmark finished the last session of the week at 5531 points, up 13.2 points or 0.2 per cent for the day.

The successful initial public offering of auto parts supplier Burson Group on Thursday was a highlight for equities traders, with Burson closing at $2.05 a share compared with its issue price of $1.82 apiece. The company’s former parent, private equity group Quadrant, retains a 19.9 per cent stake in the newly listed business and its price performance is a further vote of confidence by investors in the floats market.

Australian stocks shrugged off weak manufacturing output data from China earlier in the week to edge closer to a new post-financial crisis high for the ASX 200. The dominant banking sector and record share prices for Westpac Banking Corp and ANZ Banking Group were standouts.

Whitehaven Private Portfolios director Brendon Alford said a narrowing of the yield differential among the banks suggested that investors were still in the hunt for stocks with strong dividend credentials. “Now they’re pretty much in line with each other on 2014 numbers,” he observed.

ANZ closed 0.2 per cent higher to $34.67 on Thursday and Westpac was up 0.5 per cent to $35.78.

Mr Alford also singled out the performance of healthcare group ResMed, which rose 3.1 per cent in the final session to $5.26 on good quarter-on-quarter growth.

Read more.

And here they are, the winners and losers among the top 200 names today.

 

 

 

Best and worst performing stocks in the ASX 200 today.

Best and worst performing stocks in the ASX 200 today.

It looked a wee bit shaky around the middle of the day, but the market has managed to build on yesterday's gains, despite falls in blue-chip giants Woolworths and CBA.

The ASX 200 closed 0.2 per cent higher, or 13 points, to 5531, while the All Ords was up a similar amount to 5515.5.

While CBA eased 0.2 per cent, Westpac, NAB and ANZ all gained, with BHP also helping lift the index.

Resmed jumped 3.1 per cent on quarterly earnings, while Sydney Airport advanced 2.2 per cent.

Bank of Queensland slumped 2.9 per cent as it traded ex-dividend.

The Australian dollar has fallen to a two-week low against the New Zealand dollar as the country's Reserve Bank hike interest rates for the second-straight month and maintained a hawkish outlook for the economy.

The local unit, which was already reeling from a softer-than-expected first-quarter inflation reading on Wednesday, slipped further against its New Zealand counterpart on Thursday and has lost more than NZ1¢ over the past day.

It was fetching as low as $NZ1.077 early Thursday.

The cross rate is tipped to move sideways over the next few weeks, amid expectations that the RBNZ's next hikes are already priced into the New Zealand dollar and with a quiet period for Australian data before the May federal budget, Westpac senior currency strategist Sean Callow said.

"The Kiwi has probably benefited about as much as it will from the expectation of aggressive tightening, so the [Aussie's] rally from those lows under $NZ1.05 is [the result of] both the change in the RBA's outlook and some questions over whether the RBNZ hikes as much as expected.

"At this stage, until we get the next big shock from either side of the Tasman, I think we are probably talking a rough range of $NZ1.065 on the downside and a topside of maybe $NZ1.095."

Read more.

Toll road operator Transurban will raise $2.74 billion to pay for the $7 billion acquisition of Queensland Motorways.

The company will raise $2.34 billion via a fully underwritten renounceable rights offer and a $400 million placement to bid partners AustralianSuper and Tawreed Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Co.

The company as also confirmed its full-year distribution guidance for the 2014 financial year at 35c, with the 2015 distribution to be 39c.

Analysts say Transurban’s first foray in Queensland is pricey, but they are backing the deal, which was completed on Wednesday night and will see the company take over a 70 kilometre network of tolled roads in Brisbane.

Kiev-Arsenal spy camera disguised as a packet of cigarettes dates from about 1970.

Kiev-Arsenal spy camera disguised as a packet of cigarettes dates from about 1970.

“Willie Feinberg was not a spy as far as we know,” says Charles Leski of Mossgreen Auctions, “but he certainly understood their tradecraft."

Evidence of this is his extraordinary collection of 225 miniature cameras, many designed especially for spying and espionage. These went on sale through Mossgreen in Melbourne on April 13, and sold well, fetching a total of $75,847 (including buyer's premiums, IBP). The average result was 10 per cent above estimates.

Leski says there were about 50 people in the rooms and another 150 participating by phone, on the web and through prior bids. Foreign interest came from Germany, China and the United States.

There was strong interest in Feinberg's spy cameras, with some having the joke-shop quality of Get Smart.

The most obvious example is the camera disguised as a pack of JPS cigarettes, made circa 1970 by Kiev-Arsenal in Ukraine. The cigarettes protruding from the top of the pack are the camera controls; the lens is hidden along the side of the pack. Estimates were $300 to $400, and it sold for $701.50 IBP.

Minox, the former Latvian, now German, manufacturer of sub-miniature cameras, was especially well-represented in the collection. Its spy cameras were used by both sides in the Cold War and featured in the earlier James Bond movies. Among the 50 or so examples listed were some made when Latvia was under Soviet control. One from 1940, in original brown leather case and engraved ''Made in USSR'', sold for $1708 IBP.

Read more.

Nobody will shed tears for the taxi industry, writes BusinessDay columnist Michael Pascoe:

The biggest business story today isn’t on the business pages. (Well, it wasn’t until now.) It’s Ben Grubb’s coverage of Uber’s disruptive technology threatening the very powerful, very well-connected taxi industry and the predictable reaction from those with billions of dollars to lose.

Following Grubb’s coverage of how Uber allows people to circumvent the highly regulated taxi monopoly with its layers of rent-seekers, the next step will be a test of the New South Wales Government’s integrity: will the new premier side with the consumer, competition, innovation and improved productivity  – or the vested interests of the industry incumbents and the government’s own existing revenue streams?

A very large amount of money is at stake. Using Deloitte Access Economics figures prepared for the Taxi Council (and therefore in keeping with the rich tradition of such commissioned consultants’ reports), there were 5,647 plates just in Sydney last year with each plate worth the better part of $400,000. Call it $2.2 billion.

Then there’s Cabcharge, the biggest of the networks, with a market capitalisation of $480 million. Deloitte says annual NSW taxi revenue is $1.3 billion, there are 17,500 direct equivalent full time jobs and the industry generates $1.15 billion “in total value added” to the NSW economy. It also notes that the NSW government itself is the biggest lessor of taxi licenses with 600 under lease, providing the treasury with $20 million in annual revenue.

But it’s not just the money – it’s the connections.

Read more.

Left behind ... Uber's evolution is showing up the taxi industry.

Left behind ... Uber's evolution is showing up the taxi industry. Photo: Louie Douvis

The US Federal Reserve is highly likely to slow its asset purchases by another $US10bn next week as the economy shakes off its winter torpor.

Retail sales, industrial production and payrolls growth were all robust in recent weeks, adding to evidence of accelerating growth, after a cold winter led to fears for the economic outlook.

The US economy’s resilience means debate among officials on the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee is moving away from the short-term outlook and towards long-run questions about how the economy will behave as it nears full employment.

“In recent months, some indicators have been notably weak,” said Janet Yellen, the Fed chairwoman, in a speech last week, “but my FOMC colleagues and I generally believe that a significant part of the recent softness was weather related.”

The Fed will not update its forecasts or hold a press conference at this meeting, which concludes on April 30, so aside from modest changes to its statement the only action is likely to be a further taper in purchases to $US45bn a month.

Read more at the FT.

Australia’s largest automotive parts supplier to mechanics and trade customers, Burson Group, has made an impressive debut on the ASX with opening trades at a 12.6 per cent premium to its issue price.

Burson shares began trading at $2.05 each when the company listed on the ASX at 12 noon, above its issue price of $1.82 as it began life as a $330 million-plus public company after being in the hands of private equity firm Quadrant, which is retaining a smaller stake of 19.9 per cent.

Burson sells more than 500,000 different car parts from its network of 114 stores to independent mechanics and chains including Ultra Tune, Midas and Kmart Tyre and Auto. The customer base consists of about 30,000 different workshops, who rely on speedy deliveries of replacement parts for vehicles they are servicing and repairing.

Burson chief executive officer Darryl Abotomey said on Thursday that he was pleased with the sharemarket debut.

“It’s reassuring because it shows that what we’re doing is the right thing,’’ he said.

But he was looking forward to running the business without the extra distraction of a sharemarket listing process, which had soaked up substantial time.

“We’ve got so many opportunities on our radar,’’ Mr Abotomey said.

Transurban's first foray in Queensland is pricey, but analysts are backing the $7 billion deal.

The toll road owner won a bid on Wednesday night to buy Queensland Motorways, which owns a 70 kilometre network of tolled roads in Brisbane.

Transurban led a consortium that included superannuation fund conglomerate AustralianSuper and Abu Dhabi Investment Co, beating two rival international bidders. It will pay 27 times its 2013 earnings for the toll network.

Legg Mason senior research analyst Andrew Chambers said at first glance the deal was expensive but there was not enough detail, particularly regarding synergies, to say Transurban had overpaid.

''It looks high on multiples in the short-term, however given the high quality nature of the asset, the long-life nature of them and growth, we'd expect it to look a lot better on multiples in a couple of years time,'' Mr Chambers said.

''We expect quite reasonable synergies and obviously the cost quantum of those could change that multiple quite significantly.

''Transurban have a very good record of chopping costs out of their past acquisitions in Sydney, so the extent of those synergies would be a key part of the analysis in this transaction.''

Transurban shares are trading slightly lower to $7.27.

Read more.

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Unilife, the retractable syringe maker headed by colourful Irishman Alan Shortall, has finally hit back at ''malicious blogs'' by ''short sellers'' who accused it of hiring PR companies to write glowing articles about the company, report’s BusinessDay’s CBD column.

''Unilife has never paid anyone to write articles about it,'' the company said in a release to the ASX yesterday. Unilife ''categorically refutes any allegations of wrongdoing'' and has asked that the US securities watchdog investigate these short sellers for ''stock manipulation and illicit gains''.

The company says most of the allegations relate to wrongful termination lawsuit file by a disgruntled employee and points out that last month's $US60 million debt refinancing by Orbimed required ''extensive due diligence'' of its operations.

Following this due diligence, Orbimed agreed to lend the money at an interest rate of 10.25 per cent as well as help itself to as much as 2.75 per cent of Unilife's annual revenue during the six-year life of the agreement.

''We believe this agreement represents a significant endorsement of Unilife,'' Shortall said last month when the debt financing was announced. ''I believe Orbimed's decision to accept a small share of our future net sales highlights their confidence in our business model and future growth.''

Well, CBD agrees it says something about Orbimed's confidence in Unilife's future.

Read more.

Oil and gas junior Horizon Oil and potential suitor Roc Oil Company have both entered a trading halt following a takeover bid.

Both companies cited a potential transaction as the reason to halt trade.

Sources said the $436 million Horizon Oil could announce a deal as early as this week, reported The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column yesterday.

The energy player has been the recipient of some good news this month by progressing its $US300 million Stanley gas condensate project in Papua New Guinea.

‘‘The trading halt is required pending an announcement to the market in connection with a potential material control transaction which is still under consideration by the company,’’ Horizon chief financial officer Michael Sheridan said in a statement to the ASX.

Trading for both companies is expected to resume on Tuesday, April 29, or earlier, if the announcement is made before then.

While the approval from the PNG government was not unexpected, Ord Minnett analyst John Young said at the time it augured well for Horizon’s efforts to develop its other, bigger gas and liquids fields nearby.

The company’s other main assets are a stake in the producing Maari field in New Zealand and in the Beibu Gulf oil project in China.

Horizon shares finished Wednesday 10.5 per cent higher at 3.5¢, while Roc Oil shares last traded at 45.5¢.

The takeover talks come at a time of substantial merger and acquisition interest in Australia’s oil and gas sector.

ASX-listed Aurora Oil & Gas is currently under offer from Canada’s Baytex, while Senex Energy made a play for AWE late last year.

Food company Goodman Fielder is up 6.7 per cent today to 56 cents, but with an absence of corporate news to explain the rapid move.

The thinly traded stock crashed 22 per cent to 48.25 cents on April 2 after the company lowered its full-year earnings forecast by 10 to 15 per cent. That followed an interim loss of $64.8 million announced in February, driven by one-off costs.

The company's shareholder base is dominated by professional investors. Perpetual and Ellerston Capital hold 12.2 per cent of the issued shares each. Perpetual last added to its holding on April 4, according to an ASX statement.

Faced with a choice between ramping up tax or bearing down on spending, Joe Hockey has opted to stifle spending, writes Peter Martin, economics editor for The Age:

His target is unprecedented - to limit annual spending growth of 1.75 per cent above inflation for a decade.

By way of comparison spending grew 7.6 per cent per year above inflation in the 1960s, 6.7 per cent above inflation in the 1970s, 3 per cent above in the 1980s, 4 per cent above in the 1990s and 4.4 per cent above in the 2000s.

In one year alone, 2017-18, the current projections have it growing 6 per cent above the rate of inflation. That’s when Labor’s long-term big spending promises on schools and disability care hit the budget.

Hockey didn’t say he would abandon Labor’s commitments in his speech on Wednesday night. He didn’t need to - the numbers said it for him.

The straitjacket is more severe than the 2 per cent target Labor adopted and proved incapable of meeting. Winding back growth in government spending is hard without targeting entire institutions and services - just about the only thing Labor stopped short of doing.

It wasn’t Hockey's only choice. The Commission of Audit made clear that another option would be to allow taxes to rise. It could be done without even pushing up rates. All that would be needed would be to leave rates where they were and allow a decade of bracket creep to push more ordinary Australians into higher tax brackets.

It recommended against that course and the Treasurer has accepted that recommendation. So we are in for another decade of tax cuts at least sufficient to stop our tax burden from climbing.

Read more.

--

-- Photo: Louise Kennerley

BHP Billiton iron ore president Jimmy Wilson says greenfield mine developments are still possible in Western Australia this decade, even though the sector has crimped capital spending to shift focus on boosting production from existing assets.

Mr Wilson officially opened BHP Billiton's $US3.2 billion ($3.5 billion) Jimblebar mine in the Pilbara on Wednesday, capping off an extraordinary expansion for the world's biggest miner and the broader resources sector.

It is one of the last mines to open, with just Gina Rinehart's 55 million tonne per annum Roy Hill project left to complete, which is expected next year.

Mr Wilson said miners across WA were going to "chase down" efficiency but this did not mean no new mines would be built in the coming decade.

"To say this will be the last greenfields mine outside of Gina's (Rinehart) facility going up I think would be a bit of stretch," Mr Wilson said.

He said raw steel production in China grew at 24 per cent in the first half of the last decade, slipping to 12 per cent and forecast to grow this decade by 3.4 per cent.

Jimblebar delivers 35 million tonnes per annum of ore but has capacity to generate 55 million tonnes. This additional 20 million tonnes is part of a broader push by BHP to boost production to between 260 million tonnes to 270 million tonnes from its current mine operations.

BHP anticipates producing 217 million tonnes of ore by June 30. In 2002 BHP's annual production was just 72.5 million tonnes.

It has upgraded its iron ore production guidance twice this year after improving its operations generated better than expected production output.

Read more.

Atlas Iron is heading for the top end of its iron ore production guidance range, despite its shipments in the March quarter falling short of the company’s target of 3 million tonnes on the back of severe wet weather in the Pilbara.

The Perth-based miner is also managing to keep a lid on costs, and is on track to meet financial year guidance range of $49 to $52 per tonne.

Altas told the exchange that it was on track to come in at the upper half of its full-year guidance of between 10.2 million tonnes and 10.7 million tonnes of iron ore shipped. Shipments for the nine months to March sit at 7.84 million tonnes.

The group was aiming for 3 million tonnes in the March quarter but fell short with 2.73 million tonnes after being hurt by a severe wet season, and disruptions caused by Cyclone Christine.

The shipments were still record volumes, representing a slight increase on the 2.7 million tonnes achieved in the December quarter.

It was achieved on an average headline price of about $US100 per tonne for standard fines product and $US75 a tonne for value fines.

Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said the high percentage of the more lucrative standard fines product mined for the March quarter was “particularly pleasing”.

The 2.7 million tonnes of March product included 2.5 million tonnes of standard fines.

Atlas Iron's stock is up 4.2 per cent to 99.5 cents.

 

Childcare centre operator G8 Education has announced a planned 29 per cent increase in its annual dividend, from 14 cents per share to 18 cents.

The company pays dividends on a quarterly basis, meaning the payments will increase from 3.5 cents per share to 4.5 cents.

The news has sent the company’s share price up 3.1 per cent to $4.70.

The stock has suffered somewhat of a reversal in recent weeks; from a high of $5.07 on March 31 to stock had dropped to $4.35 two weeks later.

Managing Director Chris Scott said in the ASX announcement: “This increase reflects the strong performance of our operations”.

Medical devices group Resmed has just missed analyst expectations for its March quarter earnings, with chief executive Mick Farrell describing conditions in the key US market as particularly challenging.

The company, which makes products to help patients with sleep breathing disorders such as sleep apnea, posted revenue of $US397.8 million for the three months to March 31. This was just below analysts’ consensus expectations of $US401 million in revenue, but up from $US383.6 million in the previous period.

Diluted earnings per share rose from $US0.58 to $US0.63, just missing analyst expectations of $US0.64.

The company’s shares are up 3.4 per cent in early trading to $5.28.

Mr Farrell said the company was “pleased with our third quarter results in the face of challenging market conditions, particularly in the US.

“Our Americas business showed encouraging trends and we continue to benefit from our globally diversified business, with constant currency revenue growth of 6 per cent in combined Europe and Asia-Pacific businesses for the quarter.

“In particular, our European results were strong across the board, with most countries showing solid growth.”

Revenue from the group’s American business was flat at $US216.1 million (compared with $US215.2 in the prior year) while revenue from he rest of the world grew by 8 per cent (or 6 per cent in constant currency terms) to $181.6 million.

Mr Farrell has big ambitions for Resmed. In a speech he gave in Melbourne last month he said ResMed wanted to work with “appropriate consumer partners and well-known brand names” in the consumer space to make personal products that can monitor consumers’ health signs, such as heart and respiratory rates and how well they are sleeping.

A number of wearable technology groups including Jawbone and Fitbit have products that monitor sleep cycles.

Shares have built on their freshly achieved post-GFC highs, defying a weak lead from Wall St.

In early trading the ASX 200 is 0.3 per cent higher, or 16 points, to 5533.5, while the All Ords has increased by a similar amount to 5518.5.

BHP is the biggest single contributor to the gains, up 0.5 per cent, with the banks providing the biggest sectoral support. Fortescue is 1.4 per cent higher.

Among bluechip winners, Brambles is 1.2 per cent higher, QBE 1.1 per cent and Computershare 1.4 per cent.

Woolworths and CSL are the largest drags, both 0.5 per cent lower.

In a financial win for Queensland Investment Corporation, the state's 70km tollroad system has been sold for more than twice the pricetag it settled for in 2011.

The fronting running consortium comprising Transurban, subsidary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tawreed Investments Limited, and Australian Super pulled off the Queensland Motorways sale with a $7.057 billion bid.

The sale well exceeded expectations of market watchers who expected the sale to fetch between $6 billion and $6.5 billion.

That more than doubled what the QIC paid when the Labor government transferred the asset in May 2011 to QIC's investment arm. It then carried a $2.9 billion debt.

When QIC took over management, QML included just the Gateway and Logan motorways. It now manages a 70 km toll network, which includes the Gateway, Gateway Extension and Logan Motorways, the Go-Between Bridge, CLEM7 tunnel and the Legacy Way, which is due to open next year.

It confirmed it was looking to sell the business in November last year.

QIC Chief Executive Officer Damien Frawley, who last month said the demand for these sorts of assets outstripped supply world wide, said the sale price demonstrated “the high quality of the Queensland Motorways assets and its people”.

“QIC’s Global Infrastrucutre group made substantial progress in commercialising the business since taking over three years ago, installing a highly experienced board and management team,” he said in a statement.

Read more.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised its official cash rate for the second time in two months, lifting rates to 3 per cent as it forges ahead with a policy-tightening cycle to ward off an inflation threat.

The RBNZ confirmed on Thursday it would increase interest rates to 3 per cent from 2.75 per cent amid a period of strong economic growth, in line with economists' expectations. The New Zealand economy grew by 3.5 per cent over the year to March, Governor Graeme Wheeler said, suggesting a slight upgrade from the previous estimate of 3.3 per cent. Last month, the New Zealand central bank became the first in the developed world to raise interest rates in this cycle.

The New Zealand dollar, or kiwi, jumped on the announcement, climbing to US86.24¢ from US85.78¢ defying the RBNZ's claim that the value of the currency is unsustainable. The kiwi rose almost 8 per cent from late January to its 52-week high of US87.16¢ on April 9.

The RBNZ's policy direction also provides valuable clues for the Reserve Bank of Australia which is equally concerned with a high Australian dollar and keeping house prices in check.

Read more.

More on Apple, as mentioned below well-known investor and big shareholder Carl Icahn signalled his approval of Apple's results and plans to return more capital, tweeting:

 

He then tweeted:

 

Apple has approved another $US30 billion ($US32 billion) in share buybacks till the end of 2015 and authorized a rarely seen seven-for-one stock split, addressing calls to share more of its cash hoard while broadening the stock's appeal to individual investors.

The company also approved a roughly 8 per cent increase in its quarterly dividend to $US3.29 per share.

Activist investor Carl Icahn, who had famously called on the iPhone maker to boost its buyback program, tweeted his approval of the move on Wednesday.

Shares of the company, which have remain mired around the $US500 to $US550 range since the start of the year, jumped 7 per cent to $US561.51 in after-hours trade.

Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing the roughly 38 million that Wall Street had predicted. That drove a 4.6 per cent rise in revenue to $US45.6 billion - a record for any non-holiday quarter - and beating Wall Street's projections for about $US43.5 billion.

But whether Apple can again produce a revolutionary new product remains the central question in investors' and Silicon Valley executives' minds. The smartphone market is maturing and rivals like Samsung and Google are taking chunks out of its mobile-device market share.

Read more.

The iPhone is Apple's cash cow. Source: Jackdaw Research.

The iPhone is Apple's cash cow. Source: Jackdaw Research.

The housing recovery in the US is running out of steam as buyers balk at record prices and higher mortgage rates that are making properties less affordable.

Sales dropped a surprising 14.5 per cent to a 384,000 annualized pace, lower than any forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the weakest since July, Commerce Department data showed today in Washington. Three of the four regions saw setbacks, with demand in the West slumping to the lowest level in more than two years.

More expensive properties, borrowing costs that have jumped almost a percentage point from last year and lenders unwilling to go out on a limb are challenging an industry still emerging from its worst slump since the Great Depression.

In time, the slowly mending job market will help revive demand at builders such as NVR.

“It’s the reduction in affordability, the lack of inventory, also weak growth in median household income – all these are contributing to the sluggish recovery in housing,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, who forecast sales would drop in March. “It’s going to raise concerns about the strength of the housing recovery, but it’s too early to be too worried.”

More higher-priced properties are selling while first-time buyers and lower-income Americans struggle to get into the market. The decrease in sales was concentrated in houses priced less than $300,000, while more expensive dwellings showed gains, today’s report showed.

“The first-time homebuyer is not participating, nor are other buyers of modest means,” said David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Homebuilders in Washington. “We’ve lost a segment of our homebuyers because of tight credit.”

The average rate on a 30-year, fixed mortgage was 4.27 percent in the week ended April 17. A year ago, the rate averaged 3.41 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Prices are rising, mortgage rates are higher, and that makes it considerably more expensive to buy than it was a year ago,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, a San Francisco-based real estate information service. “Affordability is definitely a concern.”

Facebook said chief financial officer David Ebersman is leaving as sales and profit blew past analysts' estimates.

Ebersman is stepping down later this year, to be succeeded by David Wehner, who joined from Zynga in 2012, the California-based company said today in a statement.

Revenue rose 72 per cent to $US2.5 billion ($2.69 billion), beating the average analyst estimate of $US2.36 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mobile promotions accounted for 59 per cent of ad sales, up from 53 per cent in the prior period.

Having increased mobile advertising to a majority of its business from almost nothing at the time of its 2012 initial public offering, Facebook is seeking ways to make even more money on smartphones and tablets.

That includes testing a mobile ad network and agreeing to buy text messaging service WhatsApp for $US19 billion, a deal that's yet to close.

"The core of this business is very strong, and their biggest challenge will be sustaining their growth rate in this range," Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst at Rosenblatt Securities in New York. "We don't know how big these new areas can be."

Net income almost tripled to $US642 million, or 25 cents per share, from $US219 million, or 9 cents, a year earlier, Facebook said. Profit excluding some items was 34 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 24 cents.

Facebook has 1.28 billion monthly active users, or almost half the world's internet population, up from 1.23 billion last quarter. WhatsApp will bring 500 million consumers of its texting app, though the company generates minimal revenue.

Read more.

"They clearly have the product, they have the traffic and now they have the advertising solution": Analysts have praised Facebook's ability to generate revenue.

"They clearly have the product, they have the traffic and now they have the advertising solution": Analysts have praised Facebook's ability to generate revenue. Photo: AFP

Local stocks are poised to open higher despite a weak lead from Wall Street where strong earnings reports from the likes of Apple and Facebook failed to offset a bigger than expected fall in US home sales.

Here’s what you need2know:

  • SPI futures up 20 points to 5529 at 8am AEST
  • AUD at 92.85 US cents, 95.16 Japanese yen, 67.21 Euro cents and 55.34 British pence at 6am AEST
  • On Wall St, S&P500 -0.2%, Dow Jones -0.1%, Nasdaq -0.8%
  • In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%, FTSE100 -0.1%, CAC -0.7%, DAX -0.6%
  • Spot gold up 0.1% to $US1284.77 an ounce
  • Brent oil slips 0.1% to $US109.14 per barrel
  • Iron ore falls 0.3% to $US109.14 per metric tonne
  • LME copper adds 0.3% to $US6670 a tonne

 

What's on today:

  • No local economics releases
  • US: durable goods orders, unemployment claims at 10:30pm AEST
  • Europe: ECB President Draghi speaks at 7pm AEST

 

Stocks to watch:

  • Atlas Iron reports Q3 production
  • Asciano raised to buy vs neutral at BofA/ML
  • Aurizon cut to neutral vs buy at BofA/ML
  • Bank of Queensland trades ex-dividend
  • Horizon Oil is in talks with a potential buyer and could make an announcement this week, reports the AFR
  • Resmed Q3 revenue misses estimates
  • 21st Century Fox will be removed from the ASX 200 index at close of trade on May 1 and replaced with Sundance Energy
  • Toll Holdings raised to buy vs hold at BofA/ML reports the AFR
  • Consortium led by Transurban buys Motorways for $7.1 billion, seeks trading halt before market open today
  • Cashed-up Wesfarmers has joined the growing list of potential bidders in the running for private hospital owner Healthscope, reports AFR
  • Deutsche Bank has a “buy” recommendation on Oil Search after it reported March quarter production that was 5 per cent ahead of DB expectations. Its 12-month price target is $11 a share

 

Read more.

 

Good morning and welcome to the Markets Live blog for Thursday.

Your editor today is Patrick Commins.

This blog is not intended as investment advice.

BusinessDay with wires.

 

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  • Never bought a stock on the day it floats but have taken a nibble on Burson Group(BAP) $2.05... will avg into it over the next few weeks/months.

    Commenter
    GS
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    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 4:18PM
  • Good thing the bears are in control
    he he

    Commenter
    Gee Up
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    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 4:12PM
    • touche

      Commenter
      allan
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      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 4:15PM
  • Actually looking forward to budget night. This one has the anticipation of yesteryear when we would sit on the edge of our seats and pray to the lord that the price of beer wasn/t going up.

    The last 6 budgets were basically non events, particularly the last one which was a bit if a swan song for wayne!

    Remember the virtual surplus!

    Commenter
    Captor
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 3:37PM
    • The 1 billion suplus that in a matter of weeks was a 30 billion deficit? I think i recall something about that

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:55PM
    • over to you @ Mitch

      Commenter
      Political observer
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 4:18PM
  • CRH once again pounding out the returns, are tehse guys due for a takeover or what?!

    Commenter
    Concerned Citizen
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 3:13PM
    • The is a possible takeover offer for CRH announced some time ago. http://imagesignal.commsec.com.au/docserver/01502582.pdf?fileid=01502582&datedir=20140320&edt=MjAxNC0wNC0yNCsxNTozNTo0NisxMjArMCtjb21zZWMrcmVkaXJlY3QrL2ltYWdlc2lnbmFsL2Vycm9ycGFnZXMvUERGVGltZW91dC5odG1sKy9pbWFnZXNpZ25hbC9lcnJvcnBhZ2VzL3BkZmRlbGF5ZWQuanNw

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:37PM
    • wow, I never saw that - has there been any update since?

      Commenter
      concerned citizen
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 4:09PM
  • BDR. Investors/traders have been nervous re the Q3 report. Always going to be a quiet quarter but looks OK to me. Market seems to agree.

    Commenter
    Yin or yang
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 2:52PM
    • All good in the long term mate! I am just waiting to ensure the gold price holds at these levels. If it does it is a no brainer!

      Commenter
      The Accountant
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:07PM
    • Charts say sell BDR.... be careful.

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:11PM
    • oh yes don't forget the charts and the crystal balls, my tea leaves say BDR is a buy lol

      Commenter
      BDR Spruiker
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:24PM
  • We have an exploding population because of our immigration policies, which means exploding demand for schools, hospitals but Joe & Co wants to wind back future commitments to those very things. Right, what the left hand does (immigration) the right hand contradicts (services). Lets face the future with an under educated and unhealthy population, is that the plan? WELL DONE JOE!

    Commenter
    Jim
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 2:38PM
    • Spending on health is currently growing at levels which are much higher than GDP and higher than population growth. This is not sustainable.

      Commenter
      Chumlee
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:09PM
    • I've always wondered why it's only Western countries that have embarked on an almost frantic exercise of mass-immigration. You don't see South Korea, Nigeria, etc. attempting similar ventures. The Gulf states allow some temporary workers, but to change the make-up of their citizenry is not part of the game.

      It is almost as if Western leaders and decision-makers were working according to some grand, crazy master-plan. And when asked about it they get suspiciously defensive about it and find it difficult to keep the debate within the rational sphere. It makes you wonder doesn't it.

      Commenter
      Dr No
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:16PM
    • So are you saying that we should have a sick population with people unable to get treatment for illnesses because they can't afford it. Sounds like the US model to me. That's the great thing about the Australian health system. Proper treatment is available, whatever your means. Get cured and get back into the workforce to lead a productive life. If no longer able to work then no need to suffer needlessly.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:33PM
    • The US spends 18 % of its GDP on health and gets a worse overall result for its massive layout. We spend only 9 % of GDP on health (govt + private) and we get pretty good results overall. You can hardly call Australia spendthrift

      If you've got an exploding population because of your immigration policy, then you have to spend more in health and education accordingly, unless you're happy to let standards slide. The alternative, restict the population Ponzi. But the banks don't want that do they?

      Commenter
      Jim
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:55PM
  • someone please explain to me how REA is worth $50?

    Commenter
    no banks .. no party!
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 2:06PM
    • the market has valued REA @ 6.6 billion.

      Commenter
      no banks .. no party!
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:17PM
    • ...and the buyers and sellers say it is worth $47.64. There is no mystery here!

      Commenter
      Captor
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:10PM
    • is it not overvalued at current price?
      is the company worth 6.6 billion?

      Commenter
      no banks .. no party!
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:29PM
  • TLS hit the resistance level again...wow up 2.08% since november 2013 what a performer.

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:53PM
    • But what a dividend! Especially for those of us who bought sub-$3. I keep thinking of getting out because it has topped out but the dividend keeps me hanging around. Basically >10% at my buy price.

      Commenter
      jezza
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:12PM
    • too bad the market is going to crash and burn into a million fiery pieces! you have all been warned since the begining of 2009!

      Commenter
      crazy ASX
      Location
      lady
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:14PM
    • yes, the family law court have a lot to answer for, they thought my energetic ex wife deserved my TLS shares more than me. lol

      Commenter
      Sanyo
      Location
      thats life, but gee LIG
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:37PM
    • The internet of "things" will not be wired. The company with the strongest mobile network - Telstra - will dominate as 4G becomes 5G and the NBN makes wholesale broadband a low margin commodity. Google and friends can't bridge Telstra's moat as Australia is too large to setup a mobile network overnight. If technology made it cheap, then Telstra's existing network gives them a backhaul advantage. Win, win, win.

      Commenter
      FANATICAL
      Location
      Bull Island
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:53PM
    • @jezza, I would be using the return on market value to compare yield on TLS with yields on other stocks, not the cost price You may be better served by selling some or all of your TLS and using that cash to buy a better yielder based on market value. There are plenty of them.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:16PM
  • Bought PNA for $1.61, probably a bit risky but is seems to be holding up nicely at these levels.

    Commenter
    "P" Plater
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:53PM
  • 2 x trading halts on at present AZV and HZN will be quite a tense time but with the broken up trading days things wont really kick on till next week.....both worded as a transaction to come.

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:45PM
    • @BSB but will there be any cash involved or just an equity transaction. A cash transaction is the only thing that matters.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:28PM
    • @mitch yep thats the $$$ question just be good to see a $$$ answer to it.
      i'm intrigued by the instant 23% and 10% SP hikes days prior to announce,but guessing the usual.....those encompassed by the cylinder.

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:40PM
  • Anyone else out there follow gold on a daily basis, I am thinking it is trying very hard to hold at $US1280 which is a critical support level. Any thoughts?

    Commenter
    Gold Balls
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:43PM
    • I would think the floor under gold will be maintained because the average cost/ounce is fairly high ($1180 globally???). If mines start shutting down because price makes them sub-economical then it reduces the supply which in turn supports the price. Of course I have no idea whether than floor is at $1180 or at $1280.

      Commenter
      jezza
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:14PM
    • Posted earlier
      "Europe: ECB President Draghi speaks at 7pm AEST

      Probably an important invent (see gold price @ support, DXY, EUR/USD charts)."

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:37PM
    • IMO, anyone who is confident of gold price directions is deluded or lying.

      Commenter
      Yin or yang
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:49PM
    • Not confident at all @ Yin, just asking a genuine question. $1280 seems to be holding and we have had a double bottom at $1180. Wish I knew because I would join you and have a decent go at BDR.

      Commenter
      Gold Balls
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:15PM
    • Sorry - I wasn't having a go at you. You were expressing sensible uncertainty.

      Commenter
      Yin or yang
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 4:09PM
  • Sold out of SPN and SKI 8% and 18% up piled into SGP happy with the swap and the extra earned.
    Etrade gunna love me today.

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:39PM
  • I have asked this question before but to no avail. Why do financial journalists write that companies miss analysts expectations such as "RESMED Diluted earnings per share rose from $US0.58 to $US0.63, just missing analyst expectations of $US0.64", when the facts are very clear that the analysts got it wrong. This is becoming a very annoying pattern of blaming companies for "missing consensus forecasts" or individual analyst forecasts. Would not be so bad if those same forecasts did not directly influence share price behaviour.

    Commenter
    Please Explain
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:22PM
    • What you should really wonder is why the market trumpets companies 'beating expectations' when they have lowered them in all the preceding quarters and then nip the lowered forecast.

      Commenter
      jezza
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:16PM
    • You've just answered your own question so why did you need to ask it? Analysts expectations are highly influential in setting share prices so if a company comes in above or below of course the market will react to the actually of the event in place of the prior expectations. What's the problem?

      Commenter
      pass the red
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:26PM
  • Utility companies, DUE, EVN, SPN & SKI doing well lately. Your higher energy costs at work.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:11PM
    • EVN is a gold miner, not a utility company.... And they're not doing "well" look at their stock price over a 5 year period.

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:39PM
  • So instead of allowing bracket creep to increase tax collections from income tax payers, Joe Hockey is going to collect those extra taxes required from everyone, income tax payers and non income tax payers alike, ie the unemployed, age pensioners, single parents, the disabled, by extra costs for doctors' visits and prescriptions. I'm sure that Labor won't miss every opportunity possible to pummel the Libs over their "great big new doctor tax". The inexcusable part is that the same amount of revenue as the "doctor tax" could be collected quietly and cheaply by an increase to the Medicare Levy. Instead the "doctor tax" will make life harder for the less well-off & sick and impose admin costs on the medical profession. Now there's equity for you.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 1:08PM
    • Where will these leave negative gearing?

      Commenter
      dunno
      Location
      just askin'
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:25PM
    • Yes mitch your answer as always is to tax me more...there's good equity when you are never paying mitch

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:33PM
    • Is Hockey changes income tax brackets Mitch? Your comment with the use of 'instead of' as opposed to using 'as well as' is very misleading. Labor won't make a song and dance about the 'doctor tax' because it is quite a reasonable measure to stop people from seeing their GP every time they have a sniffle.

      Commenter
      Sticks
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:47PM
    • Quite right Mitch. But imagine how bad it would be if Rudd and Labor was still in charge. Sending shivers down my spine just thinking of that horror.

      Commenter
      ALIttleToTheRight
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:58PM
    • @ Mitch you are akin to the voice of one crying in the wilderness

      Commenter
      Captor
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:02PM
    • While I do not think the Liberal policy will achieve what it is setting out to do - something needs to be done about the massive over-usage of the health care system. The system as it stands is not sustainable. They should charge people for presenting to emergency departments with ridiculous complaints ...

      Commenter
      jezza
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:05PM
    • @Wwwish, I, and hundreds of thousands of other self-funded retirees pay no tax due to the extravagance with your money of those great economic managers, Howard & Costello. Are you saying that your Liberal heroes got it wrong. They certainly sowed a revenue time-bomb for future govt's.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:38PM
    • @jezza, shouldn't the Triage Nurse be weeding those people out. I can't really imagine that people would be travelling to an E&A room by car, bus or taxi to sit and wait for hours and hours in amongst seriously ill people if they only had a minor complaint.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:04PM
  • Anyone got any thoughts or comments on the PM Captial Asian Opportunities Fund IPO. Had a quick read through the prospectus seems pretty interesting for $1 per share minimum 2500 subscription (comes with a $1 option aswell). Especially with our current high AUD$ might be a good hedge if our currency was to decrease in value, and ofcourse gives easy access to investments opportunites in Asia

    Commenter
    DJBB
    Location
    The Shire
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 12:54PM
  • 9:23am "...strong earnings reports from the likes of Apple and Facebook failed to offset a bigger than expected fall in US home sales."

    Didn't both of these companies announce their earnings after US markets closed?

    Could put an end to the "mini tech wreck" Let's wait and see what impact these announcement have on the US markets when they open tomorrow.

    Commenter
    Unusual Suspect
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 12:52PM
  • QAN sp is coming along nicely. Good long term position over the last month.

    Commenter
    Alan
    Location
    Joyce
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 12:37PM
    • Have you not suffered enough?

      Commenter
      wiseman
      Location
      Dud
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:50PM
    • Been good to me over the month. Caught a few shorters out.One of many traps getting around lately for the bears he he

      Commenter
      Alan
      Location
      Joyce
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:17PM
  • Europe: ECB President Draghi speaks at 7pm AEST

    Probably an important invent (see gold price @ support, DXY, EUR/USD charts).

    Commenter
    Bye Bye Fiat Money
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 12:08PM
  • If a companies IPO is today what time would they be able to be purchased (trading commences) ?

    Commenter
    tim_r
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 11:55AM
  • It is not surprising that Australian Analysts believe that housing prices will continue to be supported by population growth.. I heard one analyst on 774 ABC radio state this and he is either stupid or he is just telling people what they want to hear.

    ah ah ah, it is fuelled by cheap and easy access to credit which is increasing the bubble. Not everyone who migrates to Australia can afford to purchase an of brick and mortal, only a rich Chinaman who can pull out stacks of $100 notes from his jacket pocket.

    The Chinese house bubble is slowly bursting and it is only going to be matter of time before we see a significant correction in Aussie house prices because when they get too high people will have enough common sense not to take out a sizable mortgage which then results in a oversupply.

    Commenter
    The Market Speculator
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 11:44AM
    • I like the call of analysts that oil wouldn't go higher than $30 USD a barrel. Whoops....

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:06PM
    • Got to read the book Australia: Boom to Bust. It shows how we are all living in one very big delusion here in Australia and it cuts through the pundits crap.

      Commenter
      Toby
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:14PM
    • There's a reason why FHO are lowest since WW2.

      The trickle up effect can only be maintained with cashed up foreigners and you're correct, if that stops the party will be over.

      Anyone who thinks immigration will keep property bubbling along can't answer the question if those immigrants will be bringing their own jobs with them.

      Commenter
      nolongerconfused
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:21PM
  • Need the AUD to go up so I can start buying US stocks. I'm too bored here right now. Need something to happen! Anything!

    Should at least get a contagion effect when the banks go ex div and bring the rest of the market down with it. I guess I can wait 2 weeks for it to start! *sigh*

    Commenter
    GS
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 11:40AM
    • hmmm just reminded by Mitch's post below that the budget will be May 13, smack bang in the middle of the banks going ex-div. Should exacerbate the falls too! :)

      Commenter
      GS
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:56AM
    • Go on dive into biotechs its definitely not boring.....but be prepared for a ride.

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:17PM
    • I've had Pharmaxis on my watchlist for months & am too traumatised by the chart to ever dip into those kinds of stocks lol

      Commenter
      GS
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:37PM
    • Got 2 for you,i'm among others hoping for big things...have a look while ya bored.
      UBI and TIS
      holding 20000 of each buying range 37c and 27c respectively,not a tip but there is potential for some growth this year.again its a cautious approach but researching them you might see the upside...which i think is there,

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:02PM
    • Pharmaxis PXS is an awkward one. Cash burn awkward. Just pushed out their main trial awkwardly out an extra 12 months so USA FDA best approval is possibly March 2016 now instead of the initially advised March 2015. Long time to wait when other sales/regions already approved aren't really flying high. Lots of highly paid people there involved in that cash burn, though they have made some targeted reductions.

      Commenter
      ALittleToTheRight
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:40PM
    • @alittletotheright
      Pharmaxis, for all its non-significant results and regulator rebuffs, has both Aridol and
      Bronchitol on sale.

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 4:11PM
  • Those feverishly bidding up GEM because of the 20% lift in its quarterly dividend had better hope that Joe Hockey leaves childcare subsidies alone in the Budget. They must be a very tempting target. I own or follow several stocks trading at less than half the price of GEM that give better quarterly yields, eg TIX, CAMPA, CUP, ALR and are nowhere near as exposed to a Treasurer wielding the axe.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 11:35AM
    • starting to think AFJ looks better value now, but i dumped them because of dilution from the SPP, yet to prove themselves but 1 to keep an eye on again destiny in the hands of rebates is a knife act.

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:10PM
  • Some reflection on investment decisions brought too light today.
    I decided to get out of RMD last month for a slight loss 4.95/4.87 buy/sell.I have dumped all my GEM shares now be it for a decent profit though, avg 2.77/sell 4.50's + divds.
    From the news just this morning both these "growth" companies doing well and as a buy and hold investor i would be fairly happy with their performances, as a trader I did hold longer than anticipated but came out with a loss/win so guess quality stocks will satisfy the needs of all....eventually.

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 11:06AM
  • So the 9% increase in electricity prices from the carbon tax will end up being replaced with a 20% hike in gas prices. If the 9% hike in electricity prices from the carbon tax drove thousands of businesses to the wall and is a real drag on business activity (as we are continually told by Abbott & co) how many businesses will fail or flee o/seas as a result of the increase in gas prices. I can think of quite a few that would face difficulties, eg brick makers and plasterboard manufacturers with their gas-fired kilns, processed food manufacturers with their gas-fired ovens, any business that relies on substantial volumes of hot water for cleaning etc. So to satisfy the greed of a few corporates to grab profits from exporting LNG, households and businesses on the whole east coast have to wear a big increase in costs. Then of course there's the flow-on effect to electricity prices for electricity that is generated using gas. That will push up inflation and give the RBA cause to increase interest rates and that will further choke off activity. So a gov't that is so keen to get rid of the carbon tax because of its alleged harmful effects on households & businesses must show that it is serious about creating jobs and reducing the cost of living by acting to prevent or mitigate the effects of gas parity pricing.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:56AM
    • Good comment Mitch.
      I said much the same recently,,,the high energy prices that we pay in Australia are handicapping the entire economy. We need to follow USA's lead and ensure the citizens of our country pay the lowest energy prices possible,not world market prices.

      Commenter
      Chumlee
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:04PM
    • It's more to do with government spending/printing of money (and private sector credit creation) finding it's way into different areas of the economy. Those areas of the economy respond to the newly created money and prices rise faster/before other prices (e.g. housing and the increasing creation of credit money pushing up prices of homes) hence why power prices have gone up (because all the new houses need electricity/gas/water but the infrastructure is not there to support today's prices). Obviously the carbon tax has not helped, but it is not the sole factor. You can thank both sides mitch. In recent memory, however, thank the stimulus bomb dropped post 2007-2008 to prop up the economy because deflation is bad (for leveraged debtors, i.e. households/banks), and remember the labor government gave a big parcel of cash to the coal power generating miners as "compensation" for the carbon tax. That money over the last two years is showing up in rising prices for energy and other goods.

      Simply saying the private sector is looking for profit (which they are) and attempted is stipulate this is bad (which it isn't) is so disingenuous. Last I saw businesses had to turn a profit to pay it's employees, unlike reckless governments that monetizes it's debts while the private sector bears the burden with decreased purchasing power per unit of currency, rising prices, and increased uncertainty as to what different price signals are conveying in the market, making business decisions and forecasting much harder than it needs to be.

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:04PM
    • @Bye bye, a part of the private sector looking for profit at the expense of the rest of us is bad, full stop.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:17PM
    • No it's not. The higher prices demanded will bring other business online, similarly people may just "stop" using gas and revert to electric cook tops, or other non-gas using appliances. If only you deluded statists would stop screwing with every part of the economy, not just ordinary companies, but also the lifeblood of the economy, it's currency, the economy might actually work.

      You know mitch you should go into business, and try run it, without profit, then see how you go. I'm sure your employees will be so thankful when you cannot pay them for their time. Maybe you could do what others do, ask for a handout from the gubbermint right? That way we could have more unproductive capital put to use in the economy because the idiots in various levels of government keep propping up the inefficient areas of the economy via subsidies and handouts. But this doesn't make me poorer right? The government just conjures the money out of thin air, and no-one pays for it?

      Seriously mitch your grasp on economics is laughable.

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:38PM
    • "Please make sure to secure your own mask before assisting others."

      How about some massive export duties or hike the royalties on exported LNG?

      The domestic market would be more attractive even at lower prices and Australian tax payers (owners) of the resource would be compensated.

      Commenter
      Unusual Suspect
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:45PM
    • Bye bye must have shares in LNG companies and feels that his investment would be under threat if those companies were not allowed to rip us off. As for my grasp of economics, I'll pit my experience in working with govt's of both colours in developing and implementing economic policy against yours any day. And no, I was not working in gov't when Labor was in power their last time around. The private sector was making use of my skills and paying me top $.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:26PM
    • I sold my shares in LNG a few weeks back, apart from that I have no shares in gas producers.

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:08PM
    • You wont have to put your "skills" in central planning against mine mitch, I don't believe in that garbage. It's a competition you win by default.

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 3:16PM
  • Sold ANZ 37.36, Sold WOW 34.63

    Commenter
    Wwwish Lion
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:47AM
    • Opps sorry, got the prices around the wrong way

      Sold WOW 37.36, Sold ANZ 34.63

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:00AM
    • Don't worry, no one cares anyhow....

      Commenter
      Duke Alistair, Lord & Earl of Sydney
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:18PM
    • I do mate. Someone is a little cranky lately. Well done good positive trading, going against alot of white noise.

      Commenter
      ASX
      Location
      Historian
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 1:30PM
    • onya @ Wwwish Lion, can't go broke making a profit!

      Commenter
      Captor
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:40PM
  • Could we be seeing some COH short covering at last? Been pretty volatile of late, but up 1.8% today! Overall my portfolio has jumped just over 1% today so far!! WTF???

    Commenter
    Dave
    Location
    Brisvegas
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:43AM
  • Can someone PLEASE explain how the VIX works? How is the VIX graph on the ASX site generated? Where do they get the info from? Thanks!

    Commenter
    Gumly
    Location
    Mackay
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:38AM
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%26P/ASX_200_VIX

      Commenter
      TP
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:01AM
    • Lower VIX = less volatility (usually in upward trending markets), higher VIX = more volatility.
      It's traded as a future.
      See here: http://search.asx.com.au/search/click.cgi?rank=5&collection=asx-meta&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asx.com.au%2Fdocuments%2Fmedia%2FASX_VIX_Futures_-_21_October_2013.pdf&index_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asx.com.au%2Fdocuments%2Fmedia%2FASX_VIX_Futures_-_21_October_2013.pdf&auth=ZyJkkJU6ZtZS59p5G5aghQ&query=vix%20index&profile=web

      Commenter
      Bye Bye Fiat Money
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:35AM
    • Google VIX and click on Wikipedia

      Commenter
      Augustus
      Location
      Drummoyne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:36AM
    • Thanks Gents!

      Commenter
      Gumly
      Location
      Mackay
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:53PM
  • Got into the market on 29/02/2008 during the day at 5528 and now we're back there. It's been a long 6 years 1 month 26 days 3 hours 17 minutes and 35.29 secs !!!

    Commenter
    Vrom Vrom
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:33AM
    • Yet ANZ, for example are up about $11 from feb 08....perhaps you just pick the wrong shares

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 10:40AM
    • and if you had continued to pound cost average on the dip cycle with dividend stocks look where you'd be now thx to the FED.

      Commenter
      greeny
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 10:53AM
    • Much better result than continually shorting the market from 4000!!!!!!

      Commenter
      Life Is Good
      Location
      The Real World
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:04AM
    • That terribly unfortunate. My condolences. I myself got in May 22nd 2009, Im up 46.61% because I brought into an ASX index fund.

      Commenter
      ASX
      Location
      Historian
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:08AM
    • LION. I hope your not trying to bag my Babcock and Brown Shares !

      Commenter
      Vrom Vrom
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:18AM
  • surely not up again?

    Commenter
    no banks .. no party!
    Location
    im over it.
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:32AM
  • MXI oversold to the max another 1200 @ 97.5c, i'll take the yield.

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:31AM
    • What yield? Their earnings update suggests that profits wil be well down so the yield won't be there even with a lower share price. It sounds like one to stay clear of for a while to me.

      Commenter
      Grinch
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 10:59AM
    • Be the same as BKN gross overreaction when really the half yearly report highlighted earnings/profit down but divds will stay around the 6.0 -6.5% i'll take it,proven well in the past for me.Est to june of 16.5-17.5 million profit instead of 20 million still means a profit is all..

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:02PM
  • After watching CPS retrace quite a substantial proportion of its gains, glad to see it is powering back up again the last couple of days.

    Commenter
    Dave
    Location
    Brisvegas
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:27AM
  • Put a sell on ORG @ 15.00 even soooo close.
    Last 250 ANZ in for 34.69

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:25AM
    • pulled ANZ i'm thinking there's still some fuel in the tank.......maybe

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:35AM
    • Sometime soon it has to ease back.

      Commenter
      Yin or yang
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:48PM
  • does our Mkt close at 2 pm or 4 pm??

    Commenter
    wil
    Location
    melb
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:22AM
    • http://www.asx.com.au/about/trading-hours.htm

      Commenter
      TP
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 10:56AM
  • Sold WOW at $37.92,,,,looking a bit high to me,,,due for a pullback to low $30s,,,,,I hope,then I will get in again.

    Commenter
    Chumlee
    Location
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:18AM
  • RMD missed the Q3 estimates but no one seems to mind,up 3.5% straight of the blocks.....sheesh.

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:11AM
    • I sold my RMD for a small loss at $4.81. Replaced with MSB. I decided that as a one product company competition was going to continue to put pressure on their earnings. Naturally SP has climbed since. In a climbing market it does seem very easy to sell too early.

      Commenter
      Yin or yang
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 2:46PM
  • Gaps. Beware chart gaps up on ANZ, CBA and WBC charts. Gaps usually get covered on large caps, apart from BHP. Caution.

    Commenter
    It's All About Making Money
    Location
    Lennox Head
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:09AM
    • Ta for that! ANZ a definite short - in (or out?) at 34.65. Think CBA and WBC may still flare higher but ANZ toppy with big RSI reversal.

      Commenter
      jezza
      Location
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 11:07AM
  • In more speculation as to dodgy market manipulation i notice AZV went into a trading halt yesterday regarding some news to come, but with increased volumes traded and a 24% boost to the share price 3 days prior to the halt, another example of people getting the nod before others and sorting their positions before the halt. Nothing wrong with that at all....is there?

    Commenter
    BearshapedBull
    Location
    Mugpunters Lounge
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 10:00AM
    • What happened to AQP yest down 40% ??

      Commenter
      Halle
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 10:36AM
    • @Halle not sure why u posted here?
      but XR from the company news 23rd april would do it.

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 10:47AM
  • So. Here we are above 5400.

    Commenter
    ASX
    Location
    Historian
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 9:45AM
  • Horizon Oil is in talks with a potential buyer and could make an announcement this week, reports the AFR.

    Loving the sound of this, i bet BSB does aswell.

    Commenter
    DJBB
    Location
    The Shire
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 9:35AM
    • Timing couldn't have been better on that one,even with the 10% lift yesterday i'm feeling pretty chipper about the prospects.

      Commenter
      BearshapedBull
      Location
      Mugpunters Lounge
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 9:57AM
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