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ASX to sink, US stocks mixed as banking sector fears extend - 16/03/23

Market Wrap



Fallout from a global banking storm whipsawed stocks as investors fled to the relative safety of the U.S. Treasury market.
The S&P 500 ended the day down 0.7% and Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.9% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite Index reversed its losses, ending up less than 0.1%.
Concerns about Credit Suisse led a rout in European banking shares and U.S. stocks before speculation that Swiss regulators might shore up the bank stoked a rebound.
Separately, U.S. supplier prices fell in February from a month earlier, a possible sign of a recent easing in inflationary pressures. The producer-price index, which generally reflects supply conditions across the economy, fell 0.1% in February from the prior month, compared with a downwardly revised 0.3% increase in January, the Labor Department said.
Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average ended flat as investors continued to digest the latest U.S. and China economic data amid contagion concerns that arose from the recent failure of Silicon Valley Bank.
Chinese shares ended mixed as investors sifted through more economic activity data following Beijing's repeal of its zero-Covid policy. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.55%, the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.3%, and the ChiNext Price Index fell 0.2%.
Elsewhere, New Zealand's NZX-50 closed 0.2% higher amid a rebound in financial stocks. Locally listed securities in Australian banks ANZ and Westpac jumped 2.6% and 3.1%, respectively, amid easing fears that the Silicon Valley Bank collapse could lead to contagion across lenders.
And Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.9% higher, snapping a three-day losing streak and moving back into positive territory for 2023.

Movers & ShakersBroker Upgrades & Downgrades

(APE) Eagers Automotive Price Target Raised 2.5% to A$15.30/Share by Ord Minnett
(CAR) Carsales.com Target Price Raised 1.9% to A$27.00/Share by Morgan Stanley
(EVN) Evolution Mining Target Price Cut 1.85% to A$2.65/Share by UBS
(IFM) Infomedia Target Price Raised 7.4% to A$1.45/Share by Bell Potter
(NEC) Nine Entertainment Target Price Cut 14% to A$2.75/Share by Morgan Stanley
(SFR) Sandfire Resources Started With A$6.90/Share Target Price by Ord Minnett


Oil futures extended a slump, with the U.S. benchmark closing below $70 a barrel for the first time since December 2021 as the fallout from a banking crisis stoked recession fears.
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery fell 5.2% to close at $67.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the first close below $70 a barrel for a front-month contract since Dec. 20, 2021, according to Dow Jones Market data. May Brent crude, the global benchmark, dropped 4.9% to settle at $73.69 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
"Oil is getting destroyed, with big macro looking straight into the U.S. recession vortex and energy traders drawing straight-line parallels to prior bank sector-driven recessions, especially the 2008 financial crisis, which has similar overtones to the current financial tumult and when oil tanked," said Stephen Innes, managing director of SPI Asset Management, in a note.
Gold prices advanced to settle at a fresh six-week high as banking-sector worries resurfaced with shares of Credit Suisse plunging, reigniting fears about the U.S. banking sector and pushing investors to anticipate a policy pivot from the Federal Reserve.
April gold prices gained 1.1% to settle at $1,931.30 per ounce on Comex. That was the highest settlement for the yellow metal since Feb. 1.

Today's Announcements

  • The New Zealand fourth quarter GDP will be on watch today, with a consensus calling for a 0.2% drop sequentially.
  • Australian employment change for February will be on investors’ radar today. The January unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 3.7% from 3.5% in the prior month. Another weakened labour market will most likely promote the RBA to turn dovish against the bleeding market backdrop globally. 
  • The ECB policy meeting will be on close watch today. The central bank was expected to raise the interest rate by another 50 basis points this week. However, the ongoing banking sector’s rout may alter its stance on the aggressive tightening steps.

ASX and NZX Announcements/News

  • Fonterra Shareholders Fund lifts guidance, posting a net profit up 50% to $NZ546 million for the second half. It will pay an interim dividend of NZ$10 cents on earnings of NZ33 cents per share.
  • BHP Group announced to defend the UK high court proceedings amid compensation for the miner’s alleged failures in the Samarco dam collapse in Brazil.
  • Infinity Lithium announced a loss of $$2.3 million after tax for the second half vs. $4.2 million in loss from a year ago. The company’s per-share loss is A$0.56 vs A$1.02 during the same period last year.


(All news & data sourced from Aspect Huntley / AFR / The Australian / Bloomberg / Reuters / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Morningstar / OPTO / Trading Economics)


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