The market is up 46 points. DOW up 228.
Ukraine tension eases — European stocks closed higher on Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin reassured markets and citizens that any use of force in Ukraine would only be a last resort. At a press conference he said there was “no need yet” to exercise authority in Ukraine and he was not considering annexing Crimea. Putin was said to be pushed into abandoning action by the damage in Russian financial and currency markets.
Stocks weighted to Russia were the best performers in Europe and Kiev’s UAX Index was up 9%.
The flight to safety seen yesterday was partially reversed but volatility in safe-haven assets is likely to continue in the near term. Gold fell 1.1%, oil fell 1.5% and the Treasury market was weaker with yields up nine basis points.
The VIX index — a common measurement of “fear” in equity markets, fell 11.30% to 14.19.
Going ex-div today — The key ones for us today are CCP (20c — we hold it in the MT Portfolio), RIO (120.14c — we hold as a trade), CSL (58.88c), CRZ (14.7c), FOX (11.92c), NWH (4c), SHV (11c), VRL (13c).
Australian second quarter GDP figures are due out today — Expecting +0.7% for the quarter or +2.5% over the year with risk on the downside after the capex numbers last week and a big fall in business spending intentions.
Other Australian economic data — AIG Performance of Services Index
US economic data tonight — ADP employment, Services PMI, ISM non-manufacturing, Beige Book
US companies reporting tonight — Brown-Forman, Hovnanian, PetSmart, Canadian Solar, Envision Healthcare, Semtech, WuXi Pharma
Other international economic data tonight — European GDP, retail sales and services PMI. UK services PMI.
- iCar Asia (ICQ) — Carsales.com (CRZ) have announced that they will acquire another 3% of the company taking their total holding in iCar Asia from 19.9% to 22.9%. The acquisition represents Carsales’ maximum permitted “creep” provision. They bought 7.179 million shares at a price of 100c. iCar Asia owns and operates the leading network of online automotive sites in ASEAN with operations in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia reaching more than 4.5 million unique visitors every month.
- 21st Century Fox (FOX) — A report in The Age talks about FOX’s push to de-list from the ASX. The article says Proxy Advisory Services ISS is urging shareholders to reject the move at the shareholder vote in New York on March 21st. They argue that the company is yet to prove that the de-listing is in shareholders best interests and shareholders may be worse off without ‘certain corporate governance safeguards’ provided by the ASX. FOX announced de-listing plans just a few months after they listed. If approved, the company will de-list on May 8.