And I've travelled 'round the world from year to year ... and each one found me aimless, one more year the worse for wear. An' I've been back to South-East Asia, y'know the answer sure ain't there, so I'm driftin' north to check things out again...
So 2008 gets marked down in the scorebook. As far as the stock market is concerned, it was largely one-way traffic: the little blip upward from late November was nothing to write home about in the context of the carnage.
The All Ordinaries only goes back to 1980; prior to that there was a range of other stock indices, about which more later in the new year.
At 43% this year's fall was the worst calendar-year decline on record for the All Ordinaries.
In terms of the gap from intraday high to intraday low, the 53% fall between November 2007 and November 2008 was worse than the 50% fall between September and October 1987... although the 1987 fall took place over a much shorter timeframe. It also took place in a the context of a largely unreformed semi-closed economy with relatively low rates of share ownership and relatively low rates of private debt. The fallout from the wealth effect of this debacle will be much worse.
Prior bad years in the last generation have included 1990 (22%); 1994 (11%); 2002 (11%); and 1987 (10%). The number in the brackets is the percentage decline for the calendar year.
To put it in some sort of perspective, the close for December 2008 is lower than the close for September 2004.
The opening lines are - you will not doubt realise - from Cold Chisel's "Khe San". It's not my favourite Chisel song (that honour is shared - jointly between "Four Walls", "Ita" and "Flame Trees"). The lyric in question captures the heartsick wanderlust that makes the song so much a favourite with young soldiers (Australian ones, at least).
The last remaining shoe to drop will be the loss of faith in the US government - for some absurd reason US Treasuries are still seen as 'safe haven' assets, despite the obvious tendency of all governments everywhere to vaporise their currencies when debt becomes unsustainable.
This weekend, I plan to write a nice long "Forward Focus" for 2009 - just like in the old Green Site days. I'm going to dragoon Mav and the GingerNinja into furnishing some content. More on that later.
Major Market Indices
The broad market - the All Ordinaries (XAO) - rose strongly, registering a gain of 67.9 points (1.89%), finishing at 3659.3 points. The index hit an intraday high of 3665.9 at 1:31 pm, while the low for the day was 3614.2 - set at 10:55 am Sydney time.
Total volume traded on the ASX was 595.2m units, 37.5% below its 10-day average of 952.2m shares. It was a shortened session, with trade stopping at 2 p.m.
The ASX's daily listing of all stocks included 878 different 3-letter FPO's which traded (i.e., had non-zero trade volume). Of these, 519 issues rose, with volume in rising issues totalling 387.5m units; there were 186 declining stocks, which traded aggregate declining volume of 97.6m shares.
Of the 488 All Ordinaries components, 296 rose while 81 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 4.5:1, with 318.81m shares traded in gainers while 70.2m shares traded in the day's losers.
The Index that forms the cash basis for the SPI Futures - the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) - managed a solid gain, adding 68.1 points (1.86%), closing out the session at 3722.3 points.
|All Ordinaries||3659.30||67.90 (1.9%)|
|ASX 20||2222.50||34.50 (1.6%)|
|ASX 50||3755.80||61.90 (1.7%)|
|ASX 100||3067.90||52.60 (1.7%)|
|ASX 200||3722.30||68.10 (1.9%)|
|ASX 300||3704.10||67.70 (1.9%)|
|ASX Mid-Cap 50||3413.70||75.20 (2.3%)|
|ASX Small Ordinaries||1728.60||56.00 (3.3%)|
The "heavy hitters" of the Australian market - the ASX 20 Leaders (XTL) - performed solidly, in moving up 34.5 points (1.58%), closing out the session at 2222.5 points.
Among the 20 big guns, 18 index components finished to the upside, and 3 lost ground. The stocks which make up the index traded a total of 52.97m units; 17 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 45.95m shares, while the 3 decliners had volume traded totalling 7.02m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were
- Telstra Corporation. (TLS), +$0.10 (2.68%) to $3.83 on volume of 14.8 million shares;
- BHP Billiton (BHP), +$0.79 (2.66%) to $30.44 on volume of 6.7 million shares;
- RIO Tinto (RIO), +$0.95 (2.56%) to $38.00 on volume of 1.1 million shares;
- Newcrest Mining (NCM), +$0.80 (2.42%) to $33.89 on volume of 1.1 million shares; and
- Woodside Petroleum (WPL), +$0.77 (2.14%) to $36.70 on volume of 722 thousand shares.
On the less salubrious side of the big-cap fence, the following stocks were the losers within the index:
- Westfield Group (WDC), -$0.10 (0.77%) to $12.95 on volume of 2.8 million shares;
- Stockland (SGP), -$0.02 (0.49%) to $4.04 on volume of 2.7 million shares; and
- Brambles (BXB), -$0.01 (0.13%) to $7.42 on volume of 1.6 million shares.
The ASX Small Ordinaries (XSO) had a bit of a moonshot, stacking on 56 points (3.35%), closing out the session at 1728.6 points.
Among the stocks that make up the Small Caps index, 149 index components finished to the upside, and of the rest, 27 closed lower for the session.The 210 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 182.15m units: volume in the 149 gainers totalling 129.01m shares, with trade totalling 19.14m units in the index's 27 declining components. The major percentage gainers within the index were
- Moly Mines (MOL), +$0.12 (47.06%) to $0.38 on volume of 536.1 thousand shares;
- Macquarie DDR Trust (MDT), +$0.02 (34.04%) to $0.06 on volume of 3.9 million shares;
- Abacus Property Group (ABP), +$0.04 (19.44%) to $0.22 on volume of 1.9 million shares;
- Valad Property Group (VPG), +$0.01 (17.78%) to $0.05 on volume of 6.1 million shares; and
- Babcock & Brown Power (BBP), +$0.02 (17.02%) to $0.11 on volume of 14.8 million shares.
In the red-zone of the little-stock index, the following list represents the biggest downers (in terms of percentage decline):
- Rubicon Japan Trust (RJT), -$0 (20%) to $0.01 on volume of 250 thousand shares;
- Bannerman Resources (BMN), -$0.09 (9.52%) to $0.86 on volume of 1 million shares;
- Eastern Star Gas (ESG), -$0.06 (9.45%) to $0.58 on volume of 2.6 million shares;
- Skilled Group (SKE), -$0.12 (7.74%) to $1.43 on volume of 21.2 thousand shares; and
- Perilya (PEM), -$0.01 (5.56%) to $0.17 on volume of 594.4 thousand shares.
|XMD||ASX Mid-Cap 50||3413.7||75.2||2.25||122.3m|
|XSO||ASX Small Ordinaries||1728.6||56||3.35||174.6m|
GICS Industry Indices
Among the 11 industry indices, it was green across the board, as every sector managed to keep its head above water.
The best performing index was Energy (XEJ), which added 338 points (2.74%) to 12686 points. The 20 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 22.73m units; 19 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 19.99m shares, none of the stocks in the index lost ground. The major percentage gainers within the index were
- Gloucester Coal (GCL), +$0.51 (15.13%) to $3.88 on volume of 436.5 thousand shares;
- Centennial Coal Company (CEY), +$0.35 (11.78%) to $3.32 on volume of 1.9 million shares;
- Felix Resources (FLX), +$0.80 (10%) to $8.80 on volume of 356.8 thousand shares;
- Riversdale Mining (RIV), +$0.17 (7.59%) to $2.41 on volume of 295.8 thousand shares; and
- Linc Energy Ltd (LNC), +$0.13 (6.68%) to $2.00 on volume of 1.3 million shares.
Second in the index leadership stakes was Information Technology (XIJ), which gained 11.6 points (2.69%) to 443 points. This index only contains 2 stocks; they traded a total of 0.68m units today, and neither of the stocks in the index lost ground. The stocks performed as follows -
- Computershare (CPU), +$0.21 (2.77%) to $7.80 on volume of 469.8 thousand shares; and
- Iress Market Technology (IRE), +$0.11 (2.18%) to $5.15 on volume of 214.2 thousand shares.
The bronze medal for today goes to Materials (XMJ), which climbed 212.6 points (2.51%) to 8698.7 points. The 46 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 82.18m units; 33 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 44.56m shares, while the 6 decliners had volume traded totalling 15.97m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were
- Platinum Australia (PLA), +$0.07 (12.75%) to $0.58 on volume of 653.7 thousand shares;
- Atlas Iron (AGO), +$0.08 (10.32%) to $0.86 on volume of 1.7 million shares;
- OM Holdings (OMH), +$0.10 (9%) to $1.15 on volume of 493.7 thousand shares;
- Macarthur Coal (MCC), +$0.25 (8.99%) to $3.03 on volume of 1.7 million shares; and
- Alumina (AWC), +$0.11 (8.59%) to $1.39 on volume of 2.9 million shares.
As mentioned above, there were no declining sectors today - so we can move on down to the Asian market stuff now.
|XXJ||Financials ex Property Trusts||3944||52.1||1.34||30m|
All Ordinaries Major Movers
All Ords Volume Leaders
|BBI||Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group||0.11||0.01||12.24||37.8m|
|BBP||Babcock & Brown Power||0.11||0.02||17.02||14.8m|
|MOF||Macquarie Office Trust||0.24||-0.03||-9.43||11.1m|
|DXS||Dexus Property Group||0.82||0.08||10.07||10.6m|
All Ords Percentage Gainers
|EBB||Everest Babcock & Brown||0.07||0.02||46||394.3k|
|MDT||Macquarie DDR Trust||0.06||0.02||34.04||3.9m|
|ABP||Abacus Property Group||0.22||0.04||19.44||1.9m|
All Ords Percentage Losers
|RJT||Rubicon Japan Trust||0.01||0.00||-20||250k|
|KMN||Kings Minerals NL||0.10||-0.02||-13.04||756.8k|
|MUE||Multiplex European Property Fund||0.17||-0.02||-10.53||50k|
|MAFCA||Multiplex Prime Property Fund||0.07||-0.01||-10||190k|