Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

OzRant: Farce Posing as Threat...

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Could it seriously be that the Australian market is out of the woods? After all, it seems to be taking all of JOhn Howard's bullshit about terrorism in its stride - it hardly missed a beat when Howard gave us a line of drivel about an imminent threat (remember when Iraq was an imminent threat?). Then get the government's armed goons to grab some bearded Middle Easterners so that the New Idea crowd will feel comfortable that there were bad guys out there (and the little bald git wasn't lying through his teeth), and all of a sudden the more gullible among us thinks that Howard has had a truth transplant.

Now I'm not saying that a couple of the aforementioned Middle Easterners aren't nasty guys - and sure, they have nasty friends. So do I (but I'm not nasty... I'm a top bloke). But there is a gulf between being a thug and a genuine terrorist: most of these guys are thugs, but only until confronted with someone who kows how to take out a man's knee. Last I checked, we weren't involved in a War on Thuggery.

But back to the question posed at the start of this post: Is the Australian Market Out of the Woods?

Answer: No. Definitively, and unquestionably. 

Slightly longer answer: nobody believes it yet, so the shorting opportunities are going to be for the nimble  and eventually one will develop into something more interesting. For now, both sides of the fence are worth exploring (although today neither side got a look in).

 And now back to the 'terrrrrrists': this beat-up over a few street hoodlums who happen to be Muslim, is to be taken with a grain of salt. They were 'planning to acquire stockpiles of chemicals which could be used in explosives'? 

Here's a heads-up for those of you who have no fucking idea about explosives manufacture (which includes most journalists - or as they ought to be called nowadays, "press release re-typers") ; you are beign conned, big time. 

The chemicals being talked about (Acetone and a stong alkali) are the primary ingredients for.... Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate ('GHB'). So maybe these chumps were involved in clandestine manuyfacture of drugs, but again, there is a gulf between drug manufacture and terrrrism.  

If you wanted to make an explosive out of the chemicals being talked about, you would have a long row to hoe - and you would lose alimb before you got anything workable. Far easier to manufacture a decent home-made explsove from urea, superphosphate and deisel, or even chlorine and brake fluid (even napthalene flakes can be used to make home-made plastique). Try to make anything with acetone and a strong alkali and you will end up with a highly flammable and volatile compound, but it wil be absolutely useless.

So it's bullshit, designed for the New Idea and Herald Sun readers - folks with too much time on their hands who can be covinced that 

  • Osama bin Laden will meet with any white halfwit who turns up on his doorstep; and
  • the risk to personal safety from terrrrism is not fantastically, vanishingly small (lower than the risk of being hit by a car or killed by Celebrex...).

Major Market Indices

The broad market - the ASX All Ordinaries (XAO) - rose by 16.00 points (0.36%), finishing at 4492.30 points. The index hit an intraday high of 4493.40 and its low was 4470.2.

Total volume traded on the ASX was 0.97 billion units, 0.7% above its 10-day average. Of the 488 stocks in the All Ords, 168 rose while 127 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 1.8:1, with 258.75million shares traded in gainers while 139.91million 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 (XJO) - rose by 17.60 points (0.39%), finishing at 4543.70 points.

The "heavy hitters" of the Australian market - the ASX 20 Leaders (XTL) - rose by 3.10 points (0.13%), finishing at 2447.40 points. Within the index members, there were 13 that rose, and 7 losers. Total volume in rising issues within the ASX20 amounted to 75.59 while volume in the losers totalled 41.78m units.

The major winners in the "big guns" were -

  • Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC), +$0.430 (1.99%) to $22.050 on volume of 11m shares;
  • Alumina (AWC), +$0.100 (1.64%) to $6.180 on volume of 4.13m shares;
  • Macquarie Bank (MBL), +$0.850 (1.26%) to $68.330 on volume of 549,000 shares;
  • Telstra Corporation (TLS), +$0.050 (1.2%) to $4.230 on volume of 15.91m shares; and
  • Wesfarmers (WES), +$0.360 (1%) to $36.250 on volume of 2.02m shares.

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

  • National Australia Bank (NAB), -$0.660 (1.99%) to $32.520 on volume of 14.36m shares;
  • Coles Myer Ltd (CML), -$0.15 (1.5%) to $9.83 on volume of 4.62m shares;
  • QBE Insurance Group (QBE), -$0.16 (0.86%) to $18.54 on volume of 4.53m shares;
  • Woolworths (WOW), -$0.14 (0.83%) to $16.72 on volume of 4.03m shares;
  • Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (CBA), -$0.18 (0.44%) to $40.35 on volume of 3.28m shares.

At the smaller end of the market's capitalisation scale, the ASX Small Ordinaries Index (XSO) - the only place where underexploited value exists with any regularity - rose by 2.30 points (0.09%), finishing at 2535.40 points. The major winners in the "pop-guns" were -

  • Orbital Corporation (OEC), +$0.010 (9.52%) to $0.115 on volume of 865,000 shares;
  • Ventracor (VCR), +$0.095 (8.6%) to $1.200 on volume of 2.2m shares; and
  • Peptech (PTD), +$0.075 (5.6%) to $1.415 on volume of 1.38m shares; and
  • Pacifica Group (PBB), +$0.075 (4.1%) to $1.905 on volume of 1.03m shares; and
  • Downer EDI (DOW), +$0.250 (3.85%) to $6.750 on volume of 864,000 shares.

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

  • Volante Group (VGL), -$0.100 (7.69%) to $1.200 on volume of 2.71m shares;
  • ERG (ERG), -$0.010 (7.41%) to $0.125 on volume of 2.82m shares; and
  • Sai Global (SAI), -$0.170 (6.07%) to $2.630 on volume of 60,000 shares; and
  • Collection House (CLH), -$0.070 (4.67%) to $1.430 on volume of 71,000 shares; and
  • Metabolic Pharmaceuticals (MBP), -$0.025 (4.55%) to $0.525 on volume of 696,000 shares.
Index Changes
XAOAll Ordinaries4492.3160.36%523.89m
XTLS&P/ASX 202447.43.10.13%0
XFLS&P/ASX 504454.313.50.3%224.57m
XTOS&P/ASX 1003690.814.80.4%361.11m
XJOS&P/ASX 2004543.717.60.39%454.22m
XKOS&P/ASX 3004535.516.90.37%0
XMDS&P/ASX Mid-Cap 504542.844.30.98%0
XSOS&P/ASX Small Ordinaries2535.42.30.09%140.19m

All Ordinaries Market Internals

Market Breadth
Advancing Volume75.59m201.86m229.08m258.75m37.13m497.15m
Declining Volume41.78m80.16m122.84m139.91m50.01m282.34m

S&P/ASX200 GICS Sector Indices

The top sector for the day was XNJ Industrials which gained 1.38% to 5152.00 points. The sector was helped by

  • Downer EDI (DOW), +$0.250 (3.85%) to $6.750 on volume of 864,000 shares;
  • Patrick Corporation (PRK), +$0.210 (3.03%) to $7.150 on volume of 4.44m shares;
  • Macquarie Infrastructure Group (MIG), +$0.090 (2.57%) to $3.590 on volume of 12.98m shares; and
  • Australian Infrastructure Fund (AIX), +$0.050 (2.07%) to $2.460 on volume of 445,000 shares.

Second in the sector leadership stakes was XHJ Healthcare which gained 1.15% to 6078.20 points. The sector leaders were -

  • Ventracor (VCR), +$0.095 (8.6%) to $1.200 on volume of 2.2m shares;
  • Peptech (PTD), +$0.075 (5.6%) to $1.415 on volume of 1.38m shares;
  • Mayne Group (MAY), +$0.200 (3.68%) to $5.640 on volume of 5.06m shares;
  • Resmed Inc (RMD), +$0.110 (2.07%) to $5.420 on volume of 600,000 shares; and
  • Sigma Company (SIG), +$0.160 (1.22%) to $13.260 on volume of 268,000 shares.

The bronze today went toXTJ Telecommunications which gained 0.99% to 1537.00 points. The sector was led by

  • Telstra Corporation (TLS), +$0.050 (1.2%) to $4.230 on volume of 15.91m shares; and
  • Telecom Corporation Of New Zealand (TEL), -$0.000 (0%) to $5.390 on volume of 6.92m shares.

The worst-performed sector today - the only sector that fell - was XSJ Consumer Staples which lost 0.28% to 5858.50 points. The sector was dragged lower by

  • Lion Nathan (LNN), -$0.100 (1.31%) to $7.550 on volume of 1.2m shares;
  • Burns, Philp & Company (BPC), -$0.010 (0.87%) to $1.135 on volume of 11.1m shares;
  • Woolworths (WOW), -$0.140 (0.83%) to $16.720 on volume of 4.03m shares;
  • AWB (AWB), -$0.030 (0.56%) to $5.350 on volume of 613,000 shares; and
  • Mcguigan Simeon Wines (MGW), -$0.010 (0.28%) to $3.510 on volume of 410,000 shares.
Sector Indices
CodeGICS SectorClose+/-%Volume
XIJInformation Technology4453.40.77%5.59m
XDJConsumer Discretionary2209.98.80.4%22.55m
XPJProperty Trusts1844.54.30.23%107.53m
XXJASX200 Financials ex Property Trusts5578.75.60.1%63.94m
XSJConsumer Staples5858.5-16.7-0.28%35.24m

All Ordinaries Major Movers

All Ords Volume Leaders
DRTDB Rreef Trust1.3500%30.39m
BHPBHP Billiton21.110.080.38%18.07m
TLSTelstra Corporation4.230.051.2%15.91m
LHGLihir Gold1.960.094.55%14.56m
NABNational Australia Bank32.52-0.66-1.99%14.36m
MIGMacquarie Infrastructure Group3.590.092.57%12.98m
All Ords Percentage Gainers
OECOrbital Corporation0.120.019.52%864726
PBTPrana Biotechnology0.270.026%508515
CBHCBH Resources0.190.015.71%2.24m
All Ords Percentage Decliners
AAUAdcorp Australia0.65-0.08-10.96%232906
VGLVolante Group1.2-0.1-7.69%2.71m
SAISai Global2.63-0.17-6.07%60227
DOMDominion Mining0.61-0.03-4.69%110906

Elsewhere in the Region...

Regional Indices
New ZealandNZSE503281.565-20.43-0.62%25.12m
JapanNikkei 22514002.89-69.31-0.49%0
SingaporeStraits Times2251.76-18.57-0.82%0
Hong KongHang Seng14579.97-17.58-0.12%156.07m
MalaysiaKLSE Comp901.19-5.36-0.59%0