The market is up 23 as the banks bounce from the open on a Macquarie upgrade to sector earnings and on a Cypriot attempt to get around the bailout issue with new bills that will overhaul the bank sector while avoiding a deposit levy. Our Futures were down 35 this morning after the Dow Jones closed down 90 on the lowest volume recorded so far this week. The Dow was down 129 at worst.
Eurozone worries continue to weigh. Two issues overnight — the ECB has told Cyprus to meet and accept bailout terms by Monday or lose funding to its banks. There were also some weak German PMI number, which is now below 50 (contraction).
There was a good Chinese Flash PMI number yesterday — 51.7 versus expectations of 50.8, but not enough to reverse the recent resources sector plunge.
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Best sectors — consumer staples (+0.3%) and utilities (-0.5%). Worst sectors — materials (-1.6%), technology (-1.3%), financials (-1.1%), and industrials (-0.9%).
European markets down — UK FTSE down 0.69, German DAX down 0.87%, France down 1.43%, Spain down 0.77%, Italy down 0.50%.
Metals mixed — copper down 0.48%, nickel up 0.47%, zinc up 0.33%, aluminium down 0.39%. Spot iron ore up 10c to $134.20.
- Whitehaven Coal (WHC) — Is cutting 40 workers to help cut costs due to lower coal prices and the high Australian dollar. WHC is down 2.22% to 220c.
- Optus, the subsidiary of Singapore Telecoms (SGT) has cut 300 jobs, with the majority coming from the company’s head office in Sydney. SGT is down 0.55% to 273.5c.
- Leighton Holdings (LEI) — Three board members have stood down after a breakdown in relations with Hochtief the company’s major shareholder. LEI is down 5.85% to 2043c.
- Billabong (BBG) — Shares fell as much as 22% yesterday before they were forced into a trading halt to confirm whether their two takeover bidders doing due diligence were still interested. The share price crash suggests both parties have walked away although the company said last night that it was still in talks with both. BBG is up 7.19% to 74.5c.
- Sundance Resources (SDL) — Chairman George Jones says he will wait until after an emergency board meeting today before making a decision on whether or not to end negotiations over Hanlong’s $1.4bn takeover offer. Shares remain in suspension.
- Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB) has entered a supply agreement with Kraft Foods Australia allowing it to increase cheese production. WCB is up 4.67% to 381c.
- Lynas Corp (LYC 59c) — Goldman Sachs has a buy with a target price of 149c. The broker lifted their rare earths price forecast to $15kg from $12kg although the target price is down 16c. The share price has been in a downtrend for almost 12 months and is nearing its 52-week low of 52c. LYC is up 0.85% to 59c.