The Dow Jones was down 267 at 16,170 — The market fell at the start of trading due to negative sentiment about Chinese data and the selling momentum increased during the day, reinforced by technical indicators. The market traded in a 300 point range and volume was a bit above average.
China reported a surprise trade surplus of $7.71 billion. Imports fell -11.3% versus an expected 2.4% increase and exports fell -6.6% versus expectations of a 4.0% increase. The data renewed concerns about the strength of the Chinese economy.
High-flying technology and biotech shares were heavily sold. Momentum stocks including internet and biotechnology companies were among the worst hit. Some key falls included Tesla Motors -5.87%, Facebook -5.21%, Google -4.11%, Priceline Group -4.64%, Amazon.com -4.43%, Pacific Biosciences of California -6.46%, Zogenix -8.90% and ChemoCentryx -11.21%.
US Economic Data was good — weeklyjobless claims dropped to the lowest level in nearly seven years, with initial claims dropping 32,000 to 300,000, below expectations and the lowest since May 2007.
The VIX volatility index, a gauge of investor uncertainty, rose nearly 15% to 15.89.
The Aussie dollar is stronger and is currently trading at US94.12c.
Gold gained U$14.60, or 1.12%, to US$1320.10 an ounce.
Base metals were generally stronger — nickel rose 2.29%, aluminium rose 1.71% and zinc was 1.08% higher.
The Bank of England kept rates unchanged at 0.5% and asset purchases remained at a total of £375 billion.
Fed Speak — Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo said the central bank shouldn’t raise interest rates “preemptively”. He said: “We should remain attentive to evidence that labor markets have actually tightened to the point that there is demonstrable inflationary pressure.”
Coca-Cola Amatil(CCL) — Has issued a profit warning and expects earnings to fall in the first half due to weakness in the Australian and Indonesian beverage markets. It has flagged a 15% fall in EBIT. It also expects challenging trading conditions to continue. The company’s new Group MD Alison Watkins said: “It is however clear that CCA is facing a number of immediate challenges, particularly in the Australian beverage and Indonesian markets. At the full year result in February, we highlighted that we were concerned by the generally weak consumer confidence and spending environment in Australia and that we faced challenges in Indonesia with substantial cost inflation.”
Bank of Queensland (BOQ) — First half profit results — NPAT down 34% to $134.7 million. Cash earnings were up 17% to $140.2 million which was in line with a broker forecast of $141 million. Interim dividend of 32c also in line. Underlying profit before tax was up 8% to $249.2 million as a result of the Bank maintaining its disciplined approach to growth and costs. BOQ’s total shareholder return over the half was 28% compared to 8% for the ASX200 Accumulation Index. Outlook — BOQ says it remains focused on successfully executing against their four strategic priorities of multi-channel optimisation, risk/return balance, operational excellence and talent, capability and culture. They also remain well placed to benefit from improvement to the Queensland economy.
Echo Entertainment (EGP) — Has appointed a new MD and CEO and given a trading update. Matt Bekier will assume the role of MD and CEO effective today. Trading update — In the March quarter gross revenue across the group grew by 5.7%. For the domestic business, excluding the VIP Rebate business, revenue grew 6.4% on the prior comparable period, with gaming revenues in both Sydney and Queensland showing growth. EGP expects to deliver operating expenditure below $880m for financial year 2014 which is in line with the guidance provided at the first half 2014 results.
Ten Network (TEN) — Closed up 3.85% yesterday after posting an $8 million first half loss, a vast improvement on the $243 million loss recorded 12 months ago. Revenue was $331.56 million up 7.8% which beat analyst expectations. No dividend. TEN says “difficult trading conditions in the advertising market” continue to persist.
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