Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Monday, December 13, 2004

OzRant: MBP Geyser Fizzles...

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

Remember when Mad magazine used to have those fake "Department" gags? Well today a load of idiots had forgotten to register at the Don't Buy Good News at the Open Department, and went straight for the "How to Look Like an Absolute Amateur Idiot Without Even Trying" department.

Early buyers of Metabolic Pharmaceuticals (MBP +4.08%) got the "bad acid trip" feeling in the pit of the guts by mid-morning, and it got worse from there. As with all stocks that come out of trading halt on a Monday with apparently good news, the thing was the subject of massive "at market" buy orders in the pre-open. And guess where the high of the day was set?

That's right, campers... at the open. That's the precise reason why you should never buy the open - particularly on a Monday... let the nuffnuffs do their idiot act, then pick up whatever you're after 15 minutes later at lower prices.

Anyhow, MBP's news was pretty good - its anti-obesity drug works "better than the current alternatives, with fewer side effects".

Now as a perennial fat-lad, I know a few things about anti-obesity drugs... (Joe Gutnick used to send me faxes from his anti-fattie crowd).

One of the best things going - bar none- is the so-called "ECA" stack (Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin, in the appropriate ratios... 20mg E, 100mg C and 5mg A for those playing at home).

The sole problem is that Ephedrine is also used in making speed (and crystal meth, too). From the pharma companies' perspective there's a bigger problem... nobody owns a patent on Ephedrine, and there's no money in generics.

But the really sick thing about it all, is that Ephedrine is not banned here because of its use an an input into speed; it's banned because truckies and other long-haul operators used to use it to stay awake. Every now and then one of them would forget his dose and would fall asleep at the wheel, and once or twice that resulted in third-party fatalities (like crashing into a bus full of pensioners or whatever... genuinely bad and sad stuff).

So the government response was to (pick an answer)...

(a) enforce driver-logging to prevent excessive hours (already a legal requirement, but ignored); or

(b) ban ephedrine.

If you picked (a), you're an idiot. As if the government was going to take on the TWU, and the likes of LinFox and Brambles and the other mobs that employ drivers in the full knowledge that the poor schlub has to drive 19 hours a day just to make the payments on his rig. Governments don't have balls like that... not on their best day

So the fatties of Australia will be forced to pay monopolistic prices for a patent medicine for their fattyness, instead of a very cheap generic fix via ECA. (Sure, you could just tell them to sit on an exercise bike instead of eating a whole packet of Tim Tams while watching Stargate... but I like Tim Tams and plus I can't hear the dialogue when I'm puffing so hard)...

Before you start trying to tell me about the side effects of ECA, do a Google search on the name "Astrup", who has done first-rate research since 1992 and shown it's completely safe.

I'm digressing again. Check out the chart of MBP... opened at its high tick, and closed at its low tick. An absolute case study in "Dumb Money at Work".

MBP Intraday Chart

Oxiana (OXR, +4.35%) and Ashanti signed a new JV to go exploring for gold in Laos.

Futuris (FCL +2.91%) - which led volume stats last Friday after AWB got rid of about 98m units - moved higher on no noticable news (could be that the charty types have bought last Friday on the basis of an apparent "reversal day" with an accompanying volume spike).

FCL Intraday Chart

Newcrest (NCM +2.76%) announced that the commissioning of its Telfer operations in Western Australia was proceeding according to plan. In fact, throughput rates were slightly better than the plant's "nameplate" capacity, with the plant consistently processing 1300t/hr of ore as compared with its quoted capacity of 1100 t/hr.


Major Market Indices

The market is quite clearly addicted to this "spurt at the open" palaver that it's been doing for the past few weeks - it's obviously hellish good fun for the index arb guys, who would be making some predictable money. That means we should expect it to stop... check out the chart, you can almost hear the groan as the market does its cookies in the first five minutes...

XAO Intraday Chart

The "heavy hitters" of the Australian market - the ASX 20 Leaders - rose by 8.90 points (0.43%), finishing at 2080.90 points. The major winners in the "big guns" were a couple of the old faves -

  • News Corpse A (NWSLV), +$0.43 (1.86%) to $23.55 on volume of 6.85m shares;
  • News Corpse B (NWS), +$0.39 (1.66%) to $23.89 on volume of 5.43m shares;
  • Wesfarmers (WES), +$0.56 (1.54%) to $36.98 on volume of 542k shares;
  • QBE Insurance (QBE), +$0.20 (1.44%) to $14.10 on volume of 741k shares; and
  • BHP Billiton (BHP), +$0.18 (1.23%) to $14.86 on volume of 6.96m shares.

The following stocks formed the rearguard:

  • Westfield Group (WDC), -$0.24 (1.51%) to $15.61 on volume of 3.85m shares;
  • Amcor (AMC), -$0.07 (1%) to $6.90 on volume of 3.26m shares;
  • Coles Myer (CML), -$0.09 (0.94%) to $9.47 on volume of 2.53m shares;
  • Woolworths (WOW), -$0.10 (0.69%) to $14.45 on volume of 1.28m shares; and
  • Westpac (WBC), -$0.03 (0.16%) to $18.62 on volume of 3.21m shares.

Meanwhile, the smaller end of the market's capitalisation scale - the ASX Small Ordinaries - fell by -6.80 points (-0.30%), finishing at 2250.10 points. The major winners in the "pop-guns" were -

  • Circadian Tech (CIR), +$0.26 (11.98%) to $2.43 on volume of 712k shares;
  • SP Telemedia (SOT), +$0.17 (8.67%) to $2.13 on volume of 155k shares;
  • Antares Energy (AZZ), +$0.05 (7.35%) to $0.73 on volume of 1.09m shares;
  • Supa Cheap (SUL), +$0.17 (5.65%) to $3.18 on volume of 76k shares; and
  • Centennial Coal (CEY), +$0.20 (5.32%) to $3.96 on volume of 728k shares

Meanwhile the following stocks brought up the rear:

  • Austral Coal (AUO), -$0.11 (15.94%) to $0.58 on volume of 8.73m shares;
  • Minara Resources (MRE), -$0.15 (7.77%) to $1.78 on volume of 6.41m shares;
  • Arc Energy (ARQ), -$0.08 (5.97%) to $1.26 on volume of 297k shares;
  • Western Areas (WSA), -$0.08 (5.41%) to $1.40 on volume of 312k shares; and
  • IOOF Holdings (IFL), -$0.42 (5.22%) to $7.62 on volume of 110k shares.
XAOAll Ordinaries3919.58.10.21%440.36m
XTLS&P/ASX 202080.98.90.43%58.12m
XFLS&P/ASX 503837.412.10.32%115.45m
XTOS&P/ASX 1003175.48.80.28%256.39m
XJOS&P/ASX 2003907.38.80.23%336.21m
XKOS&P/ASX 30039148.80.23%398.81m
XMDS&P/ASX Mid-Cap 503885.51.20.03%140.94m
XSOS&P/ASX Small Ordinaries2250.1-6.8-0.3%142.42m

All Ordinaries Market Internals

Interesting. The money flow looks like it's going into the big end of the market, but under the hood - and further down the capitalisation spectrum - it looks like investors (and mug punters and their dumb cousins, the fund mis-managers) are ratcheting down their risk appetites. That's good (as a contrarian) because it means that the year-end rally becomes more likely.


Advancing Volume225.89m47.72m
Declining Volume137.03m53.06m

Broad Market Internals

Extending to the broader market, the breadth setup looks even more like a circling of the wagons... probably in advance of the Fed's expected rate hike, which is the most-telegraphed in history... if Greenspan and his pack of central Onanists don't hike every meeting until next March, the market will (rightly) perceive that as evidence of Fed expectations of a weakening US economy. That will put the central wankers in their expected place - two years behind what everybody else already knows.

Total Traded Value1790-1168-39.49
New 52 Week Highs25419.05
New 52 Week Lows20981.82
Equity Call Option Volume289345101.79
Equity Put Option Volume20245-1039-4.88

S&P/ASX200 GICS Sector Indices

The top sector for the day was Materials which gained 0.72% to 6398.30 points. The sector was helped by

  • Centennial Coal (CEY), +$0.20 (5.32%) to $3.96 on volume of 728k shares;
  • Timbercorp (TIM), +$0.09 (4.55%) to $2.07 on volume of 1.72m shares;
  • Oxiana (OXR), +$0.04 (4.35%) to $0.96 on volume of 6.68m shares;
  • Excel Coal (EXL), +$0.16 (3.5%) to $4.73 on volume of 650k shares; and
  • Newcrest Mining (NCM), +$0.44 (2.76%) to $16.40 on volume of 1.72m shares.

Second in the sector leadership stakes was Consumer Discretionary which gained 0.70% to 2376.10 points. The sector leaders were -

  • APN News & Media (APN), +$0.12 (2.39%) to $5.15 on volume of 304k shares;
  • News Corpse A (NWSLV), +$0.43 (1.86%) to $23.55 on volume of 6.85m shares;
  • Macquarie Comm Infra (MCG), +$0.10 (1.83%) to $5.55 on volume of 1.97m shares;
  • News Corpse B (NWS), +$0.39 (1.66%) to $23.89 on volume of 5.43m shares; and
  • JB Hi-Fi (JBH), +$0.05 (1.37%) to $3.70 on volume of 300k shares.

The bronze today went to Healthcare which gained 0.51% to 4505.20 points. The sector was led by

  • Peptech (PTD), +$0.09 (5%) to $1.89 on volume of 849k shares;
  • Invocare (IVC), +$0.10 (3.23%) to $3.20 on volume of 184k shares;
  • Ramsay Health Care (RHC), +$0.20 (2.9%) to $7.10 on volume of 148k shares;
  • DCA Group (DVC), +$0.09 (2.58%) to $3.58 on volume of 1.33m shares; and
  • Ansell (ANN), +$0.16 (1.75%) to $9.30 on volume of 992k shares.

The worst-performed sector today was Property Trusts which lost 0.80% to 1777.40 points. The sector was dragged lower by

  • Thakral Holdings (THG), -$0.02 (2.7%) to $0.72 on volume of 419k shares;
  • Investa Property Group (IPG), -$0.04 (1.88%) to $2.09 on volume of 1.92m shares;
  • Westfield Group (WDC), -$0.24 (1.51%) to $15.61 on volume of 3.85m shares;
  • Stockland (SGP), -$0.09 (1.5%) to $5.91 on volume of 2.35m shares; and
  • James Fielding (JFG), -$0.04 (1.14%) to $3.46 on volume of 235k shares.

Just in front of the last place on the sector table was Utilities which lost 0.59% to 4256.70 points. The sector was pulled down by

  • Gasnet Australia (GAS), -$0.09 (3.4%) to $2.56 on volume of 521k shares;
  • Aust Pipeline (APA), -$0.07 (2.21%) to $3.10 on volume of 139k shares;
  • Alinta (ALN), -$0.14 (1.84%) to $7.48 on volume of 2.29m shares;
  • Energy Devs (ENE), -$0.05 (1.54%) to $3.20 on volume of 235k shares; and
  • Aust Gas Light (AGL), -$0.03 (0.23%) to $12.85 on volume of 1.08m shares.
CodeGICS SectorClose+/-%Volume
XDJConsumer Discretionary2376.116.60.7%30.01m
XIJInformation Technology362.41.30.36%4.92m
XXJASX200 ex Property Trusts4650.29.50.2%80.85m
XSJConsumer Staples5382.3-21.1-0.39%25.89m
XPJProperty Trusts1777.4-14.3-0.8%59.85m

All Ordinaries Volume Leaders

JRVJervois Mining0.0240.0150%289.89m
HHG HHG Plc 1.370.021.48%54.73m
ADY Admiralty Resources 0.0410.0120.59%38.07m
VPE Victoria Petroleum 0.0405%23.43m
MBP Metabolic Pharma

All Ordinaries Top Gainers

CAGCape Range0.0470.0134.29%15.32m
OMIOccupational Med1.170.1514.71%100529
CIRCircadian Tech2.430.2611.98%712190
SOTSP Telemedia2.130.178.67%155024

All Ordinaries Top Losers

AUOAustral Coal0.58-0.11-15.94%8.73m
SSTSteamships Tradg2.9-0.3-9.38%1283
MRE Minara Resources 1.78-0.15-7.77%6.41m
ARA Ariadne Australia 0.38-0.03-7.32%46224
IHG Intellect Holdings 0.028 -0.002 -6.67%716431

Elsewhere in the Region...

New ZealandNZSE502986.1834.290.14%14.46m
JapanNikkei 22510791.9635.160.33%49826
SingaporeStraits Times2011.75-4.58-0.23%46.67m
Hong KongHang Seng13767.39-134.42-0.97%165.82m
MalaysiaKLSE Comp895.521.290.14%15.04m

Main SFE Futures Contracts

SPI04ZSPI200 Index SFE3907100.26%44165
IR04Z90-day Bank Bills SFE94.62-0.03-0.03%34330
YT04Z3-yr Bond SFE950.010.01%198188
XT04Z10-yr Bond SFE94.8-0.01-0.01%133668