The market is down 54 — Banks down again. Our Futures were down 20 this morning. The Dow Jones finished down 80. The Dow was up 155 at best and down 122 at worst.
The afternoon brought the release of the May 1 FOMC minutes, which indicated that some members expressed their willingness to slow asset purchases as early as June, provided economic conditions warrant the change.
US existing home sales change was up to +0.6% for the latest month which compared to -0.2% for the previous month but missed the forecast of +1.2%.
Best sectors — consumer staples, financials, healthcare. Worst sectors — energy.
European markets mixed — UK FFTSE up 0.85%, Germany up 0.82%, France up 0.42%, Spain down 0.02%, Italy up 0.68%.
Metals up — copper up 1.44%, nickel up 0.68%, zinc up 1.595, aluminium up 1.26%. Spot iron ore was down 40c to $123.20. Gold was down $9.30 to $1368.30. Oil was down $2.09 to $94.09.
- HSBC Chinese Flash PMI came in at 49.6, which missed the consensus forecast of 50.4. Australian dollar has fallen on the back of this to a fresh low of $US0.9628.
- Ford — Has decided to quit manufacturing in Australia in October 2016 after unveiling a $141 million loss for 2012-13. After losses of $600 million over the last five years, the company had come to the conclusion that it was no longer viable to produce vehicles in Australia. A massive blow for the local car industry.
- James Hardie (JHX) — Fourth-quarter operating profit edged back 2% to $US140.8 million, just missing a Goldman Sachs forecast of $US141.9 million and beating a Citigroup forecast of $US136.9 million. The company declared a special dividend and gave an upbeat assessment of the US housing sector’s prospects despite the continuing compensation payments to asbestos victims that continue to impact earnings. Boss Louis Gries said operating earnings from James Hardie’s US and Europe operations were steady when compared to the previous year. Sales were higher amid improved conditions in the US housing market. The company plans to buy back up to 5% of their listed shares. JHX is down 1.44% to 1030c.
- Fischer & Paykel Healthcare (FPH) — Financial year profit up 20% to $NZ77.1 million. Full year operating revenue was a record $NZ556.3 million up 8%. FPH is up 6.4% to 266c.
- QBE Insurance Group (QBE) — S&P affirms the insurers financial strength ratings at “A+” and raises the outlook from Negative to Stable. QBE is up 5.78% to 1611c.
- iiNet (IIN) — IIN is down 7.01% in early trade. The stock has been removed from the high conviction list at Goldman Saachs. Late yesterday afternoon the company released an announcement that they had reached an agreement with NBN Co for the sale of TransAct fiber network for ACT — for $9 million. IIN is down 14.18% to 575c.