The market is up 42. Dow Jones was up 99. SFE Futures were up 20 this morning. Retail trade figures for December are out today — they fell by 0.2% against forecasts of a +0.3% gain. The retail stocks seem unaffected. The A$ is down as the chances of another rate cut just went up a notch.

The Dow was up 134 at best and briefly traded above the 14,000 level last night on stronger economic data out from the eurozone and some better than expected company earnings. The US ISM non-manufacturing reading was down from 55.7 to 55.2 in January. Seven of the top ten S&P500 sectors registered gains of around 1.0%. IT stocks led the way with Apple up 3.51% and ARM Holdings closed up 4.2% after beating revenue forecasts. Dell finished up 1.13% after the world’s number 3 computer maker agreed to be taken private.

Best sectors — Technology (+1.4%), Financials (+1.2%) and Health Care (+1.2%).

European markets up — UK FTSE up 0.58%, German Dax up 0.35%, France up 0.95%, Spain up 2.20%, Italy up 1.05%. Euro zone MonM retail sales were -0.8%, which was below the forecast of -0.5% and the previous reading of -0.1%.

Metals mixed — Copper down 0.42%, Nickel down 0.14%, Lead up 0.37%, Zinc down 0.51%. Spot iron ore unchanged at $154.20. Gold down $2.90 to $1672.40. Oil up 56c to $96.73.

  • Rates may have peaked — Some press commentary gaining momentum is that we have seen the last official Australian interest rate cut for some time. If this is the low in official interest rates it makes the decision to lock in term deposit rates that much harder and the rotation back into equities that much more likely.
  • Atlas Iron (AGO) up again on the 21% reserves upgrade yesterday — they are up from a recent low of 143.5c to 162c.
  • Cochlear (COH) — Share price was down 9.32% yesterday on their 1H report and down another 4% first thing. There are five Sell/Underperform recommendations this morning.
  • JB Hi-Fi (JBH) up 4% first thing on the back of broker upgrades.
  • Telstra results tomorrow.
  •  NAB — Q1 Trading update on Thursday.
  • Macquarie Group (MQG) — Share price down 4.05% yesterday on an operational briefing, brokers have two Buy recommendations and 4 Neutral recommendations this morning. Unchanged today.
  • Primary Health Care (PRY) — Net profit of $59.5 million up 50% and 3% ahead of consensus. Earnings and profit margins continued to grow in the six months to December despite patient numbers remaining weak with a backdrop of cautious economic conditions. PRY is up 2.45% to 460c.
  • ADM (US company bidding for Graincorp — GNC) was up 3.31% on results — they have not increased the GNC bid as expected. GNC is up 0.41% to 1214c.
  • Goodman Fielder (GFF) up 5% on no news.
  • The ASX200 has gone up +20% over FY2013 but UBS warns that this month’s reporting season is unlikely to surprise on the upside although Monadelphous, Pacific Brands and Myer could.

Peter Fray

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