A strong day on the markets, buoyed by encouraging sales results from David Jones.
The market is up 25 points.The Dow Jones was up 18 points at 16,531 — the market opened weaker due to escalating violence in Ukraine and concerns about the Chinese economy. Stocks recovered after a strong report on the services sector and maintained strength throughout the day. Volume was well below average in a 170 point range.
Ukraine — violence escalated and the Ukrainian government reported that four paramilitary police had been killed and a helicopter shot down. This comes after clashes broke out in six cities over the weekend and 46 people died on Friday.
US economic data was strong — the ISM Services PMI was a better than expected at 55.2 from 53.1 previously, the fastest growth rate in 8 months.
European share markets were generally weaker — the German DAX fell 0.28% but the French CAC rose 0.10%. The UK market was closed for May Bank Holiday.
The Aussie dollar was weaker and is currently trading at US92.75c.
Gold rose US$6.60, or 0.51% to US$1309.50 an ounce.
Iron ore fell US$0.10 toUS$105.90 a tonne.
US economic data — ISM Services: Actual 55.2, consensus 54.0, prior 53.1
Global Economic data — The European PPI index fell 0.2% as expected in March, and 1.6% yoy compared to expectations of a 1.7% fall.
USEarnings — Pfizer — down 2.57%.
Fed Speak — Fed Governor Jeremy Stein will speak tonight. Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday and before the Senate Committee on Thursday. Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo and St Louis Fed President James Bullard are speaking Thursday and Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota speaks Friday.
RBA meeting today — No change in interest rates is expected.
Australian economic data today — International trade data and business expectations.
DavidJones (DJS) — Third quarter sales report — total sales revenue came in at $407.2 million, up 4.1% on last year’s figures ($391.1 million). Like-for-like sales were up 2.4%. Online sales were up 190% in the quarter. CEO Paul Zahra said “We are pleased to report that we continued to see sales growth momentum. We experienced our third consecutive quarter of Total Sales growth and our second consecutive quarter of LFL Sales growth this financial year.”
Seek (SEK) — Has announced that it is moving ahead with the IPO of its Chinese subsidiary Zhaopin on the NYSE. A listing registration statement for Zhaopin has been filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The value hasn’t been disclosed. SEK paid US$132.8 million to up its stake in Zhaopin to 78.2% from 55.5%. Zhaopin is expected to become the world’s largest online jobs market as more Chinese citizens use the Internet to search for jobs.
Suncorp (SUN 1303c) — Merrill Lynch have a Buy recommendation with a target price of 1400c. They point to the company’s attractive yield of 7%-8%. Regulatory risk is rising for all banks but this isn’t so much the case for the regionals.