Market Wraps

Morning Wrap: ASX 200 to slip, S&P 500 retreats from record highs, Iron ore hits four-month low

Tue 27 Feb 24, 8:37am (AEST)

ASX 200 futures are trading 4 points lower, down -0.05% as of 8:30 am AEDT.

The S&P 500 eased overnight as investors await key inflation data in the coming days, iron ore prices hit a four-month low on weak China steel demand and rising port inventories, Bitcoin hits a two-year high and now only 20% off all-time highs, two ASX retail stocks surged on Monday after declaring higher-than-expected dividends and some the key nuggets from Lynas' earnings call.

Let's dive in.

Overnight Summary

Tue 27 Feb 24, 8:32am (AEST)

Name Value % Chg
Major Indices
S&P 500 5,070 -0.38%
Dow Jones 39,069 -0.16%
NASDAQ Comp 15,976 -0.13%
Russell 2000 2,032 +0.74%
Country Indices
Canada 21,324 -0.41%
China 2,977 -0.93%
Germany 17,423 +0.02%
Hong Kong 16,635 -0.54%
India 72,790 -0.48%
Japan 39,234 +0.35%
United Kingdom 7,684 -0.29%
Name Value % Chg
Commodities (USD)
Gold 2,043.1 -0.31%
Iron Ore 126.85 -
Copper 3.8185 -1.59%
WTI Oil 77.71 +1.59%
Currency
AUD/USD 0.6541 -0.34%
Cryptocurrency
Bitcoin (AUD) 83,148 +5.17%
Ethereum (AUD) 4,860 +2.64%
Miscellaneous
US 10 Yr T-bond 4.299 +0.92%
VIX 13.7 -0.36%

US Sectors

Tue 27 Feb 24, 8:32am (AEST)

SECTOR % CHG
Energy +0.32%
Consumer Discretionary +0.23%
Information Technology +0.03%
Industrials -0.11%
Consumer Staples -0.29%
Financials -0.46%
SECTOR % CHG
Health Care -0.51%
Materials -0.59%
Real Estate -1.14%
Communication Services -2.09%
Utilities -2.10%

S&P 500 SESSION CHART

S&P 500 intraday
S&P 500 grinds lower in a relatively uneventful session (Source: TradingView)

ASX TODAY

  • Companies reporting today include City Chic Collective, Coles, G8 Education, Southern Cross Electrical, Capricorn Metals, Healius, Johns Lyng Group, Woodside Energy, Chorus and more

  • Alcoa makes $2.2bn bid for Alumina to consolidate upstream assets (Bloomberg)

  • China Cida selling $200m stake in Yancoal (AFR)

  • Adairs upgraded to Add from Hold at Morgans, target increased to $2.40 from $1.70

  • Kogan upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Jarden, target increased to $7.50 from $4.90

  • Lynas Rare Earths downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, target cut to $6.90 from $7.40

  • Michael Hill International upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citi, target increased to $0.92 from $0.86 

  • Mayne Pharma upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord, target increased to $6.69 from $3.80

  • Nanosonics upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan but target decreased to $2.80 from $3.40 

  • TPG Telecom downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie, target cut to $5.10 from $5.40

MARKETS

  • S&P 500 finished lower and near worst levels amid a relatively uneventful session

  • Market's path of least resistance remains higher on megacap tech earnings, resilient US macro backdrop, a largely intact disinflation narrative and fund inflows

  • Relative outperformance of S&P 500 over the small-cap Russell 2000 index is at its widest point in decades – Eventual rate cuts are generally seen as bullish due to small caps’ higher reliance on flating-rate debt

  • Funds increase short yen bets in test to BoJ's intervention resolve (Reuters)

  • Iron ore falls to four-month low on weak China steel demand (Bloomberg)

  • Oil prices gain 1% on Russian sanctions and possibly shipping disruptions (Reuters)

  • Jefferies notes that of the 90 S&P 500 companies that provided Q1 EPS guidance adjustments this earnings season, just 14 or 16% of them have been positive

  • FactSet says bottom-up estimate for Q1 S&P EPS has fallen by approximately 2% over the first two months of 2024

  • Bitcoin hits its highest level in more than two years (Bloomberg)

STOCKS

  • Google to relaunch Gemini image-generation tool (CNBC)

  • Microsoft strikes deal with French AI startup Mistral (FT)

  • Traders bet big on Nvidia, Super Micro Computer options (WSJ)

CENTRAL BANKS

  • ECB's Makhlouf in no rush to cut rates as vigilance on wages needed (Bloomberg)

  • RBNZ shadow board says cash rate should remain at 5.50% citing easing in labour market, inflation and GDP growth (NZIER)

GEOPOLITICS

  • Israeli media reports progress on reaching a temporary truce in Gaza and a hostage-prisoner exchange (Independent)

  • US hopeful for 'firm and final agreement' on temporary Gaza ceasefire (FT)

  • Netanyahu says a cease-fire deal would only delay 'somewhat' an Israeli military offensive in Rafah (AP)

  • G7 leaders vow support for Ukraine on 2nd anniversary of Russian invasion (Nippon)

  • Libya protests halt Wafa oil exports, gas pipeline to Italy (Bloomberg)

ECONOMY

  • German IFO survey shows export sentiment improved slightly in February (Reuters)

  • Global house prices rebound as economists predict turning point (FT)

Industry ETFs

Tue 27 Feb 24, 8:22am (AEST)

Name Value % Chg
Commodities
Uranium 27.54 +2.08%
Lithium & Battery Tech 43.54 +1.19%
Strategic Metals 48.88 +1.12%
Steel 70.4862 -0.29%
Copper Miners 35.98 -1.26%
Gold Miners 26.23 -1.61%
Silver 20.615 -1.79%
Industrials
Agriculture 22.385 +1.02%
Construction 67.33 +0.34%
Global Jets 20.13 -0.05%
Aerospace & Defense 126.22 -0.16%
Healthcare
Cannabis 5.15 +0.78%
Biotechnology 139.16 +0.70%
Name Value % Chg
Cryptocurrency
Bitcoin 25.8 +6.83%
Renewables
CleanTech 8.83 +1.26%
Solar 41.96 -0.07%
Hydrogen 5.22 -0.76%
Technology
FinTech 26.16 +2.19%
Cybersecurity 30.04 +1.42%
Semiconductor 642.75 +0.99%
Robotics & AI 31.01 +0.91%
E-commerce 22.3492 +0.49%
Electric Vehicles 23.63 +0.25%
Cloud Computing 21.56 +0.09%
Video Games/eSports 61.55 +0.07%
Sports Betting/Gaming 17.6324 -0.04%

Two Big Dividend Beats

Adairs (ASX: ADH) and Kogan (ASX: KGN) were two stocks that reported a dividend surprise on Monday – And as we all know, the market loves a higher than expected dividend.

At face value, the first half was relatively weak for Adairs, with net profit down 23% year-on-year to $17.6 million. Previously, Adairs surprised the market in August by cancelling its final dividend and outlined plans to resume payouts at the 1H24 result.

Adairs surprised the market with a interim dividend of 5 cents per share, a 20% beat against Morgans expectations of 4 cents per share. The net profit figure was also 35% ahead of UBS expectations. The stock briefly opened -1.9% lower and finished the session up 15%.

Kogan's results had a similar showing, weak at face value but packed with surprises. Adjusted net profit for the first half was $10.2 million vs. UBS expectations of just $5.1 million. Interestingly, Kogan decided to embed its maiden dividend announcement on the fourth (and very last page) of its results announcement. A 7.5 cents per share interim dividend was declared vs. market expectations of 0. The stock opened 5.2% higher and finished up 23.7%.


Iron Ore Pains

Singapore iron ore futures have slumped 16% in the past month as hopes for a rebound in Chinese steel demand following the Lunar New Year holidays failed to live up to expectations.

Bloomberg flagged this as a worrying sign as March and April typically represent the busy months for construction in China. A China-based commodity trading firm noted that steel production remains weak and has not fully recovered after the New Year break.

From an inventory perspective, inventories at major Chinese steel mills jumped 25.7% in mid-February compared to early in the month.

All-in-all, it's a triple whammy of poor steel demand, high Chinese port inventories as well as easing supply concerns (cycling threatening WA ports moving out).

FEF2! 2024-02-27 08-26-41
Iron ore (blue) vs. Fortescue (red) share price (Source: TradingView)

Lynas Earnings Call Highlights

Lynas (ASX: LYC) reported a 74% drop in net profit after tax for the first-half of FY24 on Monday. Although most of its numbers were in-line with market expectations. The stock finished the session up 1.0%. Numbers aside, here are the key nuggets from its earnings call.

  • Management is assessing all opportunities for M&A, including early-stage rare earth exploration projects and companies currently producing rare earth concentrate or carbonate

  • Despite weak pricing, the company remains a low-cost producer and can be successful in a market where prices are weaker than they are today

  • The company expects to see the market move back into balance with an increase in demand from EVs and industrial recovery, along with modest increases in Chinese production quotas

  • Lynas has more inquiries than it can serve today and can sell everything that it produces. The company seeks high-value contracts where they can provide guarantees on supply for a three to five-year period

  • Lynas will break ground on its US facility later this year. The timeline depends on finalizing one particular piece of technology that will be introduced as a new mechanism in the plant

Key Events

ASX corporate actions occurring today:

  • Trading ex-div: IPH (IPH) – $0.16, Bega Cheese (BGA) – $0.04, Evolution Mining (EVN) – $0.02, Tabcorp (TAH) – $0.01, Amcor (AMC) – $0.19, BSP Financial (BFL) – $0.364, Peter Warren Automotive (PWR) – $0.085, MA Financial (MAF) – $0.14 

  • Dividends paid: GQG Partners (GQG) – $0.028

  • Listing: None

Economic calendar (AEDT):

  • 10:30 am: Japan Inflation (Jan)

  • 6:00 pm: Germany Consumer Confidence (Feb) 

  • 12:30 am: US Durable Goods Orders (Jan)

Written By

Kerry Sun

Content Strategist

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University. He is an avid swing trader, focused on technical set ups and breakouts. Outside of writing and trading, Kerry is a big UFC fan, loves poker and training Muay Thai. Connect via LinkedIn or email.

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