Markets Live: Just another 'good day'

And so concludes another edition of Markets Live. Thanks for reading and comment, we hope to see you again tomorrow at 8.30am.

Click here for a full wrap of today's session.

Coming to the end of our markets blog for today, here's what you need to know this evening:


  • The ASX200 had another strong day, rising 0.75%
  • The dollar is slightly lower, buying $US1.0279, 96.8 yen and 77.87 euro cents
  • Japan's Nikkei is rallying, up 2.25%; Shanghai has gained 0.55%
  • Spot gold is up 0.3% at $US1586, WTI crude oil flat at $US93
  • Wall Street futures are minimally higher, FTSE100 futures are up 0.25%



  • RBA assistant governor (financial markets) Guy Debelle to address Breakfast at the University of Adelaide Business School
  • Computershare chief executive Stuart Crosby to address American Chamber of Commerce lunch


  • Flight Centre; exp net profit: $103.2 million
  • Atlas Iron: $24.5 million
  • Jetset Travelworld: $12.70 million
  • Slater & Gordon: $20.50 million
  • QBE Insurance: $110.72 million (second half)
  • Ramsay Health Care: $140.33 million
  • Seven Group Holdings: $145.80 million
  • Virgin Australia: $65.47 million
  • Transfield Services: $12.30 million

All profit expectations are consensus estimates, courtesy of S&P Capital IQ.


It's been a good start to the week despite the miners struggling, Suncorp financial markets analyst Darryl Conroy says:

  • It was certainly a good start to the week given how flat the materials sector has been for the last few trading days, so given the second largest sector is down, not a bad start at all.
  • Consumer staples are potentially a bit of a safe haven with dollar spend fairly locked in.

Looks like Westpac is experiencing some major issues with its banking systems, with customers complaining they can't access their accounts, both online and in branches:

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says a coalition government would compensate businesses affected by the abolition of the carbon tax on a case-by-case basis.

Many Australian businesses involved in clean energy and other sectors are benefiting from the price on carbon dioxide emissions, which will move to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.

However, Mr Hockey told reporters in Launceston today the cost of the carbon tax on households and business was ‘‘far greater than any money that is coming out of Canberra to compensate individual businesses’’.

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And the winners and losers among the top 200:

  • NRW Holding: +7.8%
  • Senex Energy: +7.5%
  • Ten Network: +6.8%
  • Macquarie Atlas: -5.2%
  • Medusa Mining: -4%
  • Buru Energy: -3.9%

Here's how some of the blue chips fared today:

  • BHP: +0.1%
  • Rio: -0.9%
  • ANZ: +1.1%
  • CBA: +0.3%
  • NAB: +1.5%
  • Westpac: +1.7%
  • Woolies: +1.3%
  • Wesfarmers: +2.1%  - highest since June 2007
  • Telstra: +1.1%

Earnings of EnergyAustralia, which incorporates the TruEnergy business, slumped by 42.1 per cent to $HK1685 million in 2012, amid a slowdown in demand across the board.

The fall in profits was led by a 10 per cent slump in Victoria and weak wholesale electricity prices.

China Light and Power, which owns the EnergyAustralia, told investors earlier today it does not expect to boost substantially investment in Australia in the present climate.

Formerly known in Australia as TruEnergy the company last year shelved plans to list shares in Australia due to the poor market condition.

"I do not envisage substantial investment in new assets or projects in Australia, with the exception of a limited amount of wind generating capacity and possible participation in the planned privatisation by the NSW Government of its remaining interests in State-owned power generation assets," the group's chief executive, Andrew Brandler, said.

Consumer discretionary and consumer staples led the gains, rising 1.7 and 1.6 per cent respectively. Financials and energy both added 0.9 per cent, while materials slipped 0.2 per cent.

Liquidator Ian Struthers has agreed to a three-year ban after the corporate watchdog found he failed to properly account for expenses, lodge paperwork and keep track of meetings for 45 liquidations.

In an enforceable undertaking the Sydney-based liquidator admitted he ‘‘failed to carry out or perform adequately and properly the duties of a liquidator.’’

Meanwhile the registration of Melbourne-based liquidator Paul Anthony Pattison was cancelled following last year’s declaration he was bankrupt.

Investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission also led to a ban on Mr Pattison managing corporations for four years, because he was the sole director of three companies owing $4.7 million.

Mr Pattison ran Pattison Consulting and Pattisons Business Recovery & Insolvency Specialists.

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The sharemarket has closed higher. The S&P/ASX200 jumped 37.7 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 5055.8, taking the benchmark index within 40 points of Wednesday's close, before the sell-off on Thursday. The broader All Ords rose 36 points, or 0.7 per cnt, to 5072.7.

News Ltd has reacted to speculation it's keen on buying Ten Network:

“Much of today’s reporting and commentary is conspiratorial, highly fanciful and wrong. News Limited has no plans to acquire Channel Ten.

“News is opposed to the imposition of additional tests for media ownership, not least because massive increases in media diversity, and the extensive pro-competition and pro-diversity powers held by the ACCC and ACMA render them entirely unnecessary.

“Furthermore, as has been demonstrated overseas, such tests are subjective, vague and imprecise, difficult to interpret and wide open to political interference.”

Have you been following the Oscars? There've been lots of words written about the frocks of the ladies - but this year it looks like the guys have stepped up their game.

Executive Style has looked at how the blokes fared on the red carpet, with a bit of commentary on the hits and misses.

Paul Krugman has warned in his latest op-ed that Italy's election - where PM Mario Monti is lagging in the polls behind disgraced former PM Silvio Berlusconi - could provide "a foretaste of dangerous radicalisation in Europe."

"Italy isn’t unique," Krugman writes, "disreputable politicians are on the rise all across Southern Europe. And the reason this is happening is that respectable Europeans won’t admit that the policies they have imposed on debtors are a disastrous failure."


It went from looking like a great day to just a good day on the Australian sharemarket after the underwhelming Chinese manufacturing data dissipated some of the earlier buying momentum, CMC Markets trader Tim Waterer says:

  • Undoubtedly the materials sector suffered a setback today on the release of the Chinese data and with some of the big miners reversing course the broader market slipped from the session highs.
  • However, materials weakness was more than offset by strength in other segments of the market with the banking and retail stocks enjoying a positive outing today courtesy of strong offshore leads.
  • Risk assets from around the globe will take their cues from the Fed chairman's testimony before Congress this week, with a key point of interest being whether his testimony is singularly supportive of continuing asset purchases or whether his tone reflects the assortment of opinion contained in the most recent Fed Minutes.
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After recently cutting jobs to save costs, accounting firm WHK Group is considering a $320 million merger proposal from wealth management firm SFG Australia.

As it posted a 22 per cent fall in first half profit, WHK received an indicative offer from SFG that could create a merged entity with more than $17 billion in funds under management.

SFG, an advisor to the wealthy, has been in talks with WHK, an accountant for small businesses and high worth individuals, since October 2012.

The suitor has proposed a share-based merger that would leave WHK shareholders with a 42 per cent interest in a newly merged business.SFG’s offer implies a value of almost $1.21 for each WHK share, above their previous closing price of $1.06.

With just under an hour of trade left in the day, here's the best and worst performers amongst the ASX's top 50 companies:

asian markets

Asian stocks are buoyed by speculation the next Bank of Japan governor will deploy aggressive monetary easing, traders say.

‘‘Reports on the BoJ are clearly signalling the central bank is ready to ease aggressively,’’ says Kazuyuki Terao, chief investment officer of Allianz Global Investors Japan. ‘‘Things are positive for Japanese stocks, but you want to bear in mind that you may see overseas uncertainty increase depending on the outcome of the Italian election.’’

The Nikkei is up nearly 2 per cent.

Japanese shares are rallying.
Japanese shares are rallying. Photo: Reuters
eco news

Motorists have been hit with rising fuel prices over the past few months, said CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian.

  • In fact in the past week the national average petrol price breeched $1.50 and is now holding at the highest levels April 2012. The global economy is healing; investors believe that means more demand for oil; and as a result oil prices have recorded significant gains over the past couple of months.
  • It is not just that motorists have been hit with higher fuel prices but the extent of the rise is the key concern. The national average price has risen by a staggering 13 cents a litre in just the past seven weeks – marking the biggest lift in fuel prices in over 4 years.
  • Retailers need to watch petrol price trends closely. Petrol is the single biggest purchase for most households, and even those without a car will feel the pain through higher delivery costs, higher transport fares and increases in prices of goods with a high transport component such as fruit & vegetables, meat and seafood. The average household monthly fuel bill has risen by $16 to $183 since early January. A further lift in fuel prices could cause consumers to become more fearful and cautious about spending, especially on discretionary or non-essential items.
asian markets

Here's a quick snapshot of markets around the region:

  • Nikkei(Japan): +2%
  • Shanghai: +0.6%
  • Taiwan: flat
  • South Korea: flat
  • Singapore: +0.1%
  • New Zealand: +0.3%
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