The Dow Jones was down 28 at 16,303 — market started the day well and was up as much as 125 points at one stage before drifting lower in the afternoon. There was no major economic data released but index rebalancing and quadruple witching (where futures and options contracts on indices and stocks lapse) added volume and volatility. The market traded in a 165 point range.
St Louis Fed President James Bullard thought Fed chief Janet Yellen’s comments were in line with market expectations. “On the ‘considerable period’ being six months, the surveys that I had seen from the private sector had that kind of number pencilled in,” he said during a lunch with journalists. “That wasn’t very different from what we had heard from financial markets. So, I just think she’s just repeating that.”
Minneapolis Fed Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota, the lone dissenter to the Fed’s policy decision last week,said the central bank should have vowed to keep rates near zero until unemployment falls below 5.5%, so long as inflation and financial stability risks were contained.
Gold rose US$5.50 or 0.41% to $1336.00 an ounce.
The Australian dollar was up and is currently trading at US91.02c.
Chinese HSBC flash PMI out today.
Eurozone flash manufacturing index tonight.
MacquarieGroup (MQG) — Profit upgrade — Expects its annual profit to grow by 45% as market conditions continue to improve. It expects profit to be up by between 40% and 45% on its 2012/13 profit of $851 million. Its short-term outlook still remains subject to a range of challenges including: Market conditions, the cost of continued conservative approach to funding and capital and potential regulatory changes and tax uncertainties.
Kathmandu (KMD) — Full year profit was up 10.7% to $NZ11.4 million which was better than expected. Sales were up 10.5% lifted by 14.8% growth in sales in Australia. Australia made up 61.4% of its total sales, NZ made up 37.2% and UK 1.4%. Overall a solid set of numbers that will be sure to impress the market. KMD expects this year to outperform. Interim dividend of NZ3¢ and will be fully franked for Australian investors. The company said “NZ economic environment and consumer sentiment is currently generally positive, but there is more uncertainty in Australia’s prospects, and I anticipate it will continue to be the more challenging retail market during 2014.” KMD plans to open 15 new stores for the whole financial year.
G8 Education(GEM) — Has announced that it has entered into a number of contracts to acquire all of the issued capital in Sterling Early Education and 91 premium childcare and education centres from a number of different vendors. These 91 premium childcare and education centres include 76 long day centres and 15 centres for outside school hours care. The acquisition of these centres will increase G8 Education’s Australian licensed places by 6203 places to 27,995 places. The purchase price is $228 million and payable on a range of completion dates. The 91 centres will contribute $39.4 million of EBIT for financial year 2015. The purchase will be funded by cash reserves and debt arrangements. GEM goes ex-dividend today as well. Trading will commence on Wednesday 26.