The market is down 54 points.

ASX Futures down 25.

Iron ore price steadies, up 20c overnight to $104.90. There are concerns about bond defaults in China and talk that Chinese authorities might cut funding to inefficient steel makers in order to force them to close further highlighting the weaker demand for iron ore this year. Steel production is now expected to grow at 3%, down from 7.5%.

Gold up $5.

Copper at a three year low. There are concerns of Chinese dumping of copper out of Shanghai warehouses. Copper is used as collateral for other financing deals which may require liquidation. There are also Chinese growth concerns generally of course. The chart over 20 years suggests we are still in a “boom” that is unwinding. The copper price on the LME closed down 2.6% to $US6475 a tonne after touching a low of $US6469.75, its weakest since July 2010.

Aussie dollar under 90c again at 89.77c.

There are concerns for the PNG Government finances after they borrowed $1.2 billion to buy a stake in OSH.

In US economic data, wholesale inventories rose 0.6% in January, more than expected but wholesale sales fell the most in five years. Not much attention was being paid to those numbers. The main US economic focus is on retail sales on Thursday, followed by the weekly jobless claims and then the CPI and FOMC meeting next week.

German trade data surges — Both imports and exports were up the most in two years although the trade surplus narrowed to €17.2 billion from €18.3 billion in December.

Greek GDP fell 3.9% in 2013 in revised data.


  • Consumer Confidence falls below 100 to 99.5.
  • Australian Economic data today — Westpac/Melb Institute consumer sentiment, housing finance numbers.
  • Going ex-div today — AHE (8.5c), BRG (14c), IFL (22.5c)
  • RBA Deputy Governor Philip Lowe presents to the ASIC Annual Forum in Sydney
  • US economic data tonight — Mortgage applications, EIA oil and gasoline inventories, $21 billion 10-year Treasury auction, federal budget
  • US companies reporting tonight — Express, Williams-Sonoma, Krispy Kreme, Vail Resorts
  • OrotonGroup (ORL) — Shares fell 5.29% yesterday after the luxury retailer posted disappointing profit results. Profit fell 66%, following a downgrade last month. They blamed the weak result on increased discounting. Earnings from operations fell 24% to $8 million, which was in line with guidance. The company flagged plans to open more Oroton stores in Asia, roll out a new store concept in Australia, open more than a dozen Brooks Brothers stores this year and build the GAP brand. But the new plans failed to offset higher costs and the loss of earnings from Ralph Lauren, which continues to detract. The interim dividend was cut from 22¢ to 8¢. Full Year guidance was unchanged at EBIT $13 million — $15 million.
  • David Jones (DJS) — Closed down 0.89% yesterday after the new Chairman, after one day in the job, confirmed that Paul Zahra will continue in his current role as CEO & MD and the search for an external candidate will discontinue. Zahra had announced in October 2013 that he would step down once the company found someone to replace him. But shareholders had urged him to stay. The news should be a positive for the stock — bringing an end to the turbulence and uncertainty. The next question is who will lead if the proposed merger with Myer goes ahead, Bernie Brookes or Paul Zahra.

Peter Fray

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