Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Monday, May 02, 2005

OzRant: Monday is Always Fun-Day...

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

The weekend before last, there was some pre-weekend chatter about the prospect of North Korea possibly testing a nuke; when a big house got wind that the speculation (which was preposterous on the face of it) was bollocks, they helped generate a fairly mighty short-squeeze in the last couple of hours. And this past weekend, a North Korean short-range missile was tested by flying it into the Sea of Japan.

Anyone with an interest in missiles, understands that you don't test a long range missile by letting it off; you test a long range missile's components by sticky-taping them into a short-range missile and letting that off. That way, you don't waste the more-expensive long-range 'fuselage' and avionics/guidance system, and you also don't use as much fuel... plus, it usually looks to outside observers like a fizzer.

As I understand it, the North Koreans were testing a new guidance mechanism for the TaePoDong II long range missile - that's their long-range baby that can hit the West Coast of the continental US. The test facility used for the firing (at Hwa-Dae in the northern Hamkyung province) is also where Tae Po Dongs are constructed... I leave it to you to join the dots as to which group of scientists are overseeing the testing program.

So while the US media gets fed Pentagon releases about the apparently comical failure of a North Korean short range test, the North Koreans probably got some useful data; US intel will know what they were actually up to - they employ loads of folks almost as smart as me - so I'm not pretending that the Pentagon is being misled. Put simply, it's easier to let the news services give the couch potatoes something to laugh at, instead of something to be concerned about.

Funny thing about the Tae Po Dong II: it can carry a nuclear payload. Furthermore, it will certainly be able to carry a nukular one, since nukular is Bush-speak for 'non-existent'... as in "The Iraqis have a nukular weapons program"...

That brings us to the philosophical question of the day: if a madman lets off a non-existent warhead in a forest, do innocent civilians scream and die like they do when Bush lets off cluster bombs and 'new napalm'? Just asking.

Major Market Indices

It was Monday, and with nothing to anchor the senses, plus the drumbeat of journalistic pabulumn following the US advance on Friday, investors' mental palimpsests retained almost nothing. As a result, caution went to the wind (again)... hope springs eternal.

The broad market - the ASX All Ordinaries - rose by 26.10 points (0.66%), finishing at 3969.20 points. The index hit an intraday high of 3973.10 about twenty minutes into the session, and its low was 3943.1 (again, the artifact of the prior-weeks close).

Total volume traded on the ASX was an absolutely feeble 620 million shares, a whopping 36.7% below its 10-day average. Of the 483 stocks in the index, 188 fell while 180 managed a gain. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 1.9:1, with 189.63 million shares traded in gainers while 97.65 million shares traded in the day's losers.

The Index that forms the cash basis for the SFE's Share Price Index Futures - the S&P/ASX 200 - rose by 28.10 points (0.71%), finishing at 4011.30 points.

The "heavy hitters" of the Australian market - the ASX 20 Leaders - rose by 20.90 points (0.97%), finishing at 2173.90 points. Within the index members, there were 16 that rose, and 4 losers - of the four losers, three fell by a single cent (AMP, CBA and WBC). Total volume in rising issues within the ASX20 amounted to 58.49 million shares while volume in the losers totalled 15.01 million units.

The major winners in the "big guns" were -

  • BHP Billiton (BHP), +$0.41 (2.56%) to $16.45 on volume of 17.37m shares;
  • Rio Tinto (RIO), +$1.00 (2.42%) to $42.40 on volume of 2.56m shares;
  • News Corporation (NWS), +$0.37 (1.84%) to $20.49 on volume of 2.76m shares;
  • Foster's Group (FGL), +$0.09 (1.76%) to $5.21 on volume of 2.8m shares; and
  • News Corporation (NWSLV), +$0.31 (1.6%) to $19.67 on volume of 2.24m shares.

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

  • Amcor (AMC), -$0.06 (0.93%) to $6.40 on volume of 4.54m shares;
  • AMP Limited (AMP), -$0.01 (0.15%) to $6.71 on volume of 6.31m shares;
  • Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC), -$0.01 (0.05%) to $19.44 on volume of 2.67m shares;
  • and
  • Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (CBA), -$0.01 (0.03%) to $36.33 on volume of 1.5m shares.

At the smaller end of the market's capitalisation scale, the ASX Small Ordinaries Index fell by 5.80 points (-0.27%), finishing at 2176.80 points. The major winners in the "pop-guns" were -

  • Lynas Corporation (LYC), +$0.02 (10.81%) to $0.21 on volume of 382,000 shares;
  • Virotec International (VTI), +$0.05 (7.69%) to $0.63 on volume of 141,000 shares;
  • Sunland Group (SDG), +$0.11 (6.15%) to $1.90 on volume of 274,000 shares;
  • Perseverance Corporation (PSV), +$0.02 (5.26%) to $0.30 on volume of 1.05m shares; and
  • Silex Systems (SLX), +$0.04 (4.67%) to $0.79 on volume of 63,000 shares.

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

  • Wattyl (WYL), -$0.30 (12.77%) to $2.05 on volume of 1.77m shares;
  • Schaffer Corporation (SFC), -$0.79 (11.13%) to $6.31 on volume of 20,000 shares; and
  • Cellestis (CST), -$0.28 (10.37%) to $2.42 on volume of 387,000 shares;
  • Miller's Retail (MRL), -$0.08 (9.76%) to $0.74 on volume of 741,000 shares; and
  • Dragon Mining (DRA), -$0.02 (8.57%) to $0.16 on volume of 872,000 shares.
Index Changes
XAOAll Ordinaries3969.226.10.66%2133.047
XTLS&P/ASX 202173.920.90.97%73.5m
XFLS&P/ASX 503973.231.70.8%0
XTOS&P/ASX 1003269.225.10.77%0
XJOS&P/ASX 2004011.328.10.71%321.03m
XKOS&P/ASX 3004006.326.90.68%0
XMDS&P/ASX Mid-Cap 503866.522.80.59%0
XSOS&P/ASX Small Ordinaries2176.8-5.8-0.27%110.96m

All Ordinaries Market Internals

Market Breadth
Advancing Volume189.63m178.32m26.51m58.49274.23
Declining Volume97.65m69.35m32.68m15.01218.27

S&P/ASX200 GICS Sector Indices

The top sector for the day was Information Technology which gained 1.16% to 348.90 points. The sector contains 7 stocks, of which 4 rose while 2 fell (ERG was unchanged). Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 3.6:1, with 1.73million shares traded in gainers while 0.48million shares traded in losers .
The sector was helped by

  • Computershare. (CPU), +$0.10 (1.98%) to $5.14 on volume of 1.13m shares;
  • Infomedia Ltd (IFM), +$0.01 (0.95%) to $0.53 on volume of 455,000 shares;
  • IRESS Market Technology (IRE), +$0.02 (0.51%) to $3.96 on volume of 34,000 shares; and
  • Baycorp Advantage (BCA), +$0.01 (0.35%) to $2.87 on volume of 109,000 shares.

Second in the sector leadership stakes was Materials which gained 1.14% to 6622.30 points. This is one of the more heavily-populated sectors, with 37 member stocks. Of those, 23 rose today and 12 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 2.1:1, with 55.26 million shares traded in gainers compared with 25.77 million shares traded in losers. The biggest percentage gainers in the sector were -

  • OneSteel (OST), +$0.10 (4.59%) to $2.28 on volume of 2.25m shares;
  • Kimberley Diamond Company. (KIM), +$0.03 (2.74%) to $1.13 on volume of 767,000 shares;
  • Zinifex (ZFX), +$0.08 (2.68%) to $3.06 on volume of 1.97m shares;
  • BHP Billiton (BHP), +$0.41 (2.56%) to $16.45 on volume of 17.37m shares; and
  • Minara Resources (MRE), +$0.05 (2.49%) to $1.86 on volume of 840,000 shares.

The bronze today went to Consumer Staples which gained 1.08% to 5375.10 points. Of the 15 stocks in the sector, 6 rose and 4 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 4.1:1, with 10.71 million shares traded in gainers while just 2.62 million shares traded in losers. The sector was led today by

  • Foster's Group (FGL), +$0.09 (1.76%) to $5.21 on volume of 2.8m shares;
  • Foodland Associated (FOA), +$0.34 (1.38%) to $24.94 on volume of 219,000 shares;
  • Woolworths (WOW), +$0.20 (1.31%) to $15.49 on volume of 1.29m shares;
  • Coles Myer (CML), +$0.11 (1.29%) to $8.67 on volume of 3.98m shares; and
  • Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL), +$0.08 (0.97%) to $8.36 on volume of 1.56m shares.

The worst-performed sector today was Healthcare which lost just 0.07% to 4656.50 points. It seems hardly fair to even call that a loss, but that's what it was... Of the 15 stocks in the sector, 7 fell while 7 managed a gain, and Cochlear (COH) was unchanged. Volume was tilted in favour of the losers by a margin of 1.1:1, with 2.51 million shares traded in losers while 2.35million shares traded in gainers. The sector was dragged lower by

  • Invocare (IVC), -$0.12 (2.88%) to $4.05 on volume of 156,000 shares;
  • Ventracor (VCR), -$0.02 (2.5%) to $0.78 on volume of 356,000 shares; and
  • Novogen (NRT), -$0.10 (2.17%) to $4.50 on volume of 47,000 shares;
  • DCA Group (DVC), -$0.07 (2.14%) to $3.20 on volume of 1.39m shares; and
  • Healthscope (HSP), -$0.09 (2%) to $4.40 on volume of 93,000 shares.

Just in front of last place on the sector table was Energy - but it actually gained 0.02% to 7952.40 points. Hardly worth calling that a gain, but it was. So the sector is disqualified from having its members named & shamed in the Defeat Register...

Sector Indices
CodeGICS SectorClose+/-%Volume
XIJInformation Technology348.941.16%3.29m
XSJConsumer Staples5375.157.61.08%27.76m
XDJConsumer Discretionary207518.50.9%22.65m
XPJProperty Trusts1763.210.70.61%63.35m
XXJASX200 Financials ex Property Trusts4958.326.60.54%48.23m

All Ordinaries Major Movers

All Ords Volume Leaders
BHPBHP Billiton16.450.412.56%17.37m
TLSTelstra Corporation.4.860.020.41%12.07m
CUECue Energy Resources0.240.014.35%11.27m
WMRWMC Resources7.950.030.38%7.52m
MAPMacquarie Airports3.440.092.69%7.48m

All Ords Percentage Gainers
LYCLynas Corporation0.210.0210.81%381500
VTIVirotec International0.630.057.69%141476
GFDGreen's Foods0.620.046.9%129409
PMEPro Medicus10.066.38%135900
SDGSunland Group1.90.116.15%273528

All Ords Percentage Decliners
SFCSchaffer Corporation6.31-0.79-11.13%20200
AGIAinsworth Game Technology0.54-0.06-10%362645
MRLMiller's Retail0.74-0.08-9.76%741075

Elsewhere in the Region...

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 6.79 points (-0.06%) to close at 11002.11 points. The index opened pretty weak, testing 10900 before a half-hour had past in the session - the session low of 10913.97 was set at almost exactly 9:30 a.m. Tokyo time. From there, it was pretty much an uninterrupted rally (well, it was uninterrupted by lunch...) until the 5-minutes-to-go mark, when the index abruptly dropped from its intraday high of 11035.95 to its closing level, in a matter of two minutes. Remember, Japan is now closed for the next three days for Golden Week.

The Kiwi Market advanced 16.59 points (0.56%) to 2999.236. The index opened at its low (2982.646 points) and within ten minutes was knocking on the door of 3000. From there it was mind-numbingly boring, with the NZSE50 trading in an 8 point range for the rest of the session, sticking its head above 3000 twice and setting a high of 3002.932 with ten minutes to go.

A total of 31 stocks within the NZSE50 rose, with volume in advancers totalling 13million units. Decliners numbered 8, and total volume traded in losers was 0.8million shares. Individual stocks that helped the advance included...

  • Tourism Holdings (THL), +NZ$0.08 (5%) to NZ$1.68 on volume of 58,000 shares;
  • Skellmax Industries (SKX), +NZ$0.05 (4.72%) to NZ$1.11 on volume of 156,000 shares;
  • Independent Newspaper Group (INL), +NZ$0.20 (3.33%) to NZ$6.20 on volume of 80,000 shares;
  • Cavalier Corporation (CAV), +NZ$0.10 (2.94%) to NZ$3.50 on volume of 18,000 shares;
  • Feltex Carpets (FTX), +NZ$0.02 (2.9%) to NZ$0.71 on volume of 261,000 shares; and
  • Nuplex Industries (NPX), +NZ$0.10 (2.82%) to NZ$3.65 on volume of 657,000 shares.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed.

Regional Indices
New ZealandNZSE502999.23616.590.56%14.88m
JapanNikkei 22511002.11-6.79-0.06%59550
SingaporeStraits Times2125.2500%0
Hong KongHang Seng13908.97-0.450%309.02m
MalaysiaKLSE Comp878.965.110.58%0