Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

OzRant: Everybody Loves Beta...

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

It's that time of year again - Reporting Time. It's still a trickle at this stage, but it will start to increase a little over the next little while. I don't propose to devote vast tracts of cyberspace to waffling about every earnings report, but from time to time I will babble about one or two of them.

The first thing that must be said, though, is that the ASX is absolutely derelict in the way it allows listed companies to present the most shit-awful marketing dross and call it a Report. The bigger the company, the more likely you are to get 100 pages of self-congratulatory bullshit (written by the marketing department) before you even get to see the P&L, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement and so forth.

When you actually get to the reports themselves, they appear to be compiled to preclude as far as possible, intra-sector comparability. No commonality of line items except at the grossest levels of aggregation. I should say - that's true for the Balance Sheet and P&L Statements, but the Cash Flow Statements are usually reasonably'conformable' across stocks in the same sector. (That's because management reckon that no bastard looks at Cash Flow Statements anyway).

And why is everything in PDF? If the NYSE and Nasdaq (and the NZSE) can require firms to provide their 10Ks in a form that doesn't require a third-party reader, and in an SEC-mandated format that permits almost-instant comparability across firms.

Why then, does the ASX encourage PDF distribution rather than flat text? You can not tell me that flat text is 'too hard' or 'too costly'. What it is, though, is permission for lazy firms to distribute their financials in whatever form they bloody well please. It is an outrage, and we ought to go back to good old Signal-G text-based distribution. The current 'free-form' setup is like a performance by Isidora Duncan - messy, stupid, pointless and a pain in the arse. We get 100 pages of complete shite in order to get 6 pages of Financials: the excessive file sizes take up memory and bandwidth, and PDF readers keep hold of great chunks of RAM after they are supposed to bugger off.

Yet another reason why people should try and trip Richard Humphry if they see him in the street; the ASX under his stewardship has become more, not less, the ticket-clippers' bitch.

Major Market Indices

The broad market - the ASX All Ordinaries - rose by 28.80 points (0.74%), finishing at 3940.50 points. The index hit an intraday high of 3951.00 just before midday, after opening at its session low (3911.7).

Total volume traded on the ASX was an unimpressive 720 million units, 10.1% below its 10-day average. Of the 483 stocks in the index, 234 rose while 116 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 2.9:1, with 328.14million shares traded in gainers while 111.67million shares traded in the losers.

The Index that forms the cash basis for the SFE's Share Price Index Futures - the S&P/ASX 200 - rose by 33.00 points (0.83%), finishing at 3987.50 points.

The "heavy hitters" of the Australian market - the ASX 20 Leaders - rose by 18.10 points (0.84%), finishing at 2169.80 points. Within the index members, there were 17 that rose, and 3 losers. Total volume in rising issues within the ASX20 amounted to 80.58 while volume in the losers totalled 24.28m units.

The major winners in the "big guns" were -

  • QBE Insurance Group (QBE), +$0.31 (2.18%) to $14.55 on volume of 2.31m shares;
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL), +$0.47 (2.05%) to $23.35 on volume of 1.83m shares;
  • Australia And New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), +$0.41 (1.91%) to $21.83 on volume of 7.94m shares;
  • Coles Myer Ltd. (CML), +$0.15 (1.72%) to $8.87 on volume of 4.48m shares; and
  • BHP Billiton (BHP), +$0.22 (1.4%) to $15.93 on volume of 18.64m shares.

The following stocks made up the biggest percentage losers in the big-guns:

  • Telstra Corporation. (TLS), -$0.02 (0.42%) to $4.79 on volume of 20.36m shares;
  • News Corporation (NWS), -$0.08 (0.38%) to $20.82 on volume of 2.54m shares; and
  • News Corporation (NWSLV), -$0.04 (0.2%) to $19.98 on volume of 1.38m shares.

At the smaller end of the market's capitalisation scale, the ASX Small Ordinaries Index rose by 26.20 points (1.23%), finishing at 2153.80 points. Of the 194 stocks in the index, 106 rose and 47 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 1.1:1, with 59.80 million shares traded in gainers compared to 55.00 million shares traded in losers. The major winners in the "pop-guns" were -

  • Housewares International (HWI), +$0.22 (15.38%) to $1.65 on volume of 348,000 shares;
  • Sally Malay Mining (SMY), +$0.06 (7.5%) to $0.86 on volume of 272,000 shares;
  • Baycorp Advantage (BCA), +$0.17 (6.46%) to $2.80 on volume of 281,000 shares;
  • Aquarius Platinum (AQP), +$0.37 (6.21%) to $6.33 on volume of 78,000 shares; and
  • Tower (TWR), +$0.11 (5.87%) to $1.90 on volume of 2.12m shares.

Interestingly I couldn't find any news about HWI, which is odd. You don't get a 15% pop in a stock without an ASX announcement of some kind - and yet I notice that they've released nothing since the 8th of April.

The losingest-little-guys for the session were (in order of decline):

  • Emperor Mines (EMP), -$0.11 (35.48%) to $0.20 on volume of 183,000 shares - perhaps affected by yesterday's announcement regarding the resignation of Martin Jacobsen (which the market already knew about anyhow... what's the big deal???);
  • Multiplex Group (MXG), -$0.45 (12.47%) to $3.16 on volume of 19.22m shares; and
  • Progen Industries. (PGL), -$0.40 (12.2%) to $2.88 on volume of 281,000 shares;
  • Ventracor (VCR), -$0.08 (6.85%) to $1.02 on volume of 3.89m shares; and
  • Agenix (AGX), -$0.03 (6.76%) to $0.35 on volume of 220,000 shares.
Index Changes
XAOAll Ordinaries3940.528.80.74%536.61m
XTLS&P/ASX 202169.818.10.84%104.86m
XFLS&P/ASX 50395232.50.83%0
XTOS&P/ASX 1003248.825.10.78%0
XJOS&P/ASX 2003987.5330.83%445.37m
XKOS&P/ASX 3003979.632.20.82%0
XMDS&P/ASX Mid-Cap 503821.317.90.47%0
XSOS&P/ASX Small Ordinaries2153.826.21.23%161.97m

All Ordinaries Market Internals

Market Breadth
Advancing Volume328.14m312.17m59.8m80.58427.71
Declining Volume111.67m89.25m55m24.28201.13

S&P/ASX200 GICS Sector Indices

The top sector for the day was Information Technology which gained 4.14% to 357.40 points. Yes, that's right - 4.14% for teh session. It's 1999/2000 all over again. "News free" advances of more than 5% in CPU and BCA... interesting stuff. (Remember what I said above about the ASX still being the ticket-clippers' bitch? Where is ASIC when shit like this happens?). Still and all, the recent strength of US techs is probably providing some catalyst anyhow - but I wonder which of those two stocks will release information later in the week which wil lhelp explain today's bump. Maybe everyone's just got a beta-Jones again. The sector was helped by

  • Baycorp Advantage (BCA), +$0.17 (6.46%) to $2.80 on volume of 281,000 shares;
  • Computershare (CPU), +$0.27 (5.15%) to $5.51 on volume of 1.65m shares;
  • Vision Systems (VSL), +$0.03 (2.6%) to $0.99 on volume of 655,000 shares;
  • MYOB (MYO), +$0.02 (1.98%) to $1.03 on volume of 1.07m shares; and
  • IRESS Market Technology (IRE), -$0.00 (0%) to $3.94 on volume of 269,000 shares.

Second in the sector leadership stakes was Healthcare which gained 1.70% to 4679.10 points, with the Biotech bits of the sector doing better than the non-biotechs. UniLife (UNI) also went on a 15% rampage (it's not in the index) thanks to an announcement of completion of an assembly line for its UniTract safe syringe: maybe that got the beta-juices flowing... having said that, all was not rosy for biotech - Progen (PGL), which is also not in the index, got smacked for 12%, apparently on little more than an Appendix 3B issuing a teensy amount of new stock! (Truth is, there was a follow-on decline today after yesterday's not-so-good report on the results of its Phase II trial of a melanoma treatment)...

The sector leaders were -

  • Novogen (NRT), +$0.23 (4.6%) to $5.23 on volume of 39,000 shares;
  • Peptech (PTD), +$0.05 (3.72%) to $1.26 on volume of 325,000 shares;
  • Healthscope (HSP), +$0.16 (3.54%) to $4.68 on volume of 331,000 shares;
  • Sonic Healthcare (SHL), +$0.34 (3.04%) to $11.54 on volume of 605,000 shares; and
  • Cochlear (COH), +$0.91 (3.02%) to $31.00 on volume of 217,000 shares.

The bronze today went to Energy which gained 1.14% to 7940.70 points. Yes, oil bounced. The sector was led by

  • Oil Search (OSH), +$0.05 (2.21%) to $2.31 on volume of 4.65m shares;
  • Tap Oil (TAP), +$0.04 (2.12%) to $1.93 on volume of 199,000 shares;
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL), +$0.47 (2.05%) to $23.35 on volume of 1.83m shares;
  • Roc Oil Company (ROC), +$0.03 (1.86%) to $1.64 on volume of 371,000 shares; and
  • Hardman Resources (HDR), +$0.03 (1.83%) to $1.67 on volume of 3m shares.

The worst-performed sector today was Utilities which lost 0.29% to 4765.30 points. The sector was dragged lower by 24

  • Australian Gas Light Company (AGL), -$0.15 (1.1%) to $13.48 on volume of 1.57m shares;
  • Australian Pipeline Trust (APA), -$0.03 (0.82%) to $3.62 on volume of 168,000 shares;
  • Pacific Hydro (PHY), -$0.00 (0%) to $5.16 on volume of 283,000 shares;
  • Gasnet Australia Group (GAS), -$0.00 (0%) to $2.43 on volume of 155,000 shares; and
  • Alinta (ALN), +$0.03 (0.32%) to $9.50 on volume of 1.78m shares.

Just in front of last place on the sector table was Telecommunications which lost 0.29% to 1713.60 points. In other words, Telstra dropped a tad.

  • Telstra Corporation (TLS), -$0.02 (0.42%) to $4.79 on volume of 20.36m shares; and
  • Telecom Corporation Of New Zealand (TEL), +$0.02 (0.36%) to $5.55 on volume of 1.79m shares.
Sector Indices
CodeGICS SectorClose+/-%Volume
XIJInformation Technology357.414.24.14%5.2m
XSJConsumer Staples5302.553.51.02%44.2m
XXJASX200 Financials ex Property Trusts4982.147.20.96%56.34m
XPJProperty Trusts1725.112.80.75%115.86m
XDJConsumer Discretionary2087.611.40.55%37.34m

All Ordinaries Major Movers

All Ords Volume Leaders
TLSTelstra Corporation.4.79-0.02-0.42%20.36m
MXGMultiplex Group3.16-0.45-12.47%19.22m
BHPBHP Billiton15.930.221.4%18.64m
IPGInvesta Property Group1.940.052.37%13.99m
MAPMacquarie Airports3.50.020.57%13.34m
CPACommonwealth Property Office Fund1.250.021.21%9.32m

All Ords Percentage Gainers
HWIHousewares International1.650.2215.38%348003
UNIUnilife Medical Solutions0.680.0915.25%967702
SMYSally Malay Mining0.860.067.5%272494
BCABaycorp Advantage2.80.176.46%280610
AQPAquarius Platinum6.330.376.21%78352

All Ords Percentage Decliners
PGL Progen Industries 2.88 -0.40 -12.2%281348

Elsewhere in the Region...

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 10.02 points (0.09%) to close at 10835.41 points. The index hit a high of 10891.69 during the session, and fell to 10821.41points during the session.

The Kiwi Market declined 3.49 points (-0.12%). The index hit a high of 2979.109 during the session, and fell to 2960.163points during the session.

A total of 25 stocks within the NZSE50 rose, with volume in advancers totalling 11.1million units. Decliners numbered 13, and total volume traded in losers was 6.8million shares. Individual stocks that were a but suck included...

  • Independent Newspapers (INL), -NZ$0.22 (3.51%) to NZ$6.05 on volume of 81,000 shares;
  • Tenon Limited (TEN), -NZ$0.10 (2.9%) to NZ$3.35 on volume of 77,000 shares;
  • Auckland International Airport(AIA), -NZ$0.05 (2.37%) to NZ$2.06 on volume of 2.02m shares;
  • Fisher & Paykel A (FPA), -NZ$0.05 (1.79%) to NZ$2.75 on volume of 352,000 shares; and
  • Fletcher Building (FBU), -NZ$0.11 (1.76%) to NZ$6.13 on volume of 386,000 shares.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined 27.70 points (-0.20%). The index hit a high of 13668.43 during the session, and fell to 13615.9points during the session.

Within the Hang Seng, 14 index components rose, while 13 stocks fell. Volume in the gainers in Hong Kong's big-cap index totalled 54million units, and total volume traded in losers was 32.7million shares. Individual stocks that contributed to the decline included...

  • Henderson Investments (0097), -HK$0.30 (2.73%) to HK$10.70 on volume of 1.04m shares;
  • CKI Holdings (1038), -HK$0.35 (1.47%) to HK$23.50 on volume of 210,000 shares;
  • Wheelock (0020), -HK$0.15 (1.31%) to HK$11.30 on volume of 1.78m shares;
  • Citic Pacific (0267), -HK$0.20 (0.9%) to HK$21.95 on volume of 963,000 shares;
  • China Unicom (0762), -HK$0.05 (0.83%) to HK$6.00 on volume of 8.91m shares; and
  • Cheung Kong (0001), -HK$0.50 (0.7%) to HK$70.50 on volume of 3.16m shares.
Regional Indices
New ZealandNZSE502963.378-3.49-0.12%22.59m
JapanNikkei 22510835.4110.020.09%77332
SingaporeStraits Times2157.753.380.16%0
Hong KongHang Seng13639.33-27.7-0.2%119.2m
MalaysiaKLSE Comp886.87-4.52-0.51%0