Good morning traders. Thanks @ttward, @Ravgnome & the...

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    Good morning traders. Thanks @ttward, @Ravgnome & the aftermarket loungers. Welcome to the first of 2 shortened weeks, with Friday Apr 19 (Good Friday) off this week, and a rather awkward one next week with Monday Apr 22 (Easter Monday) & Thursday Apr 25 (Anzac Day) off. Is anyone even going to be around on that Friday? what.png

    ASX Market Report

    Australian shares have closed higher with most sectors gaining amid a broad rally.

    The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 52.6 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 6,251.3 points at 1615 AEST on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 52.9 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 6,347. For the week the market closed 1.13 per cent up.

    "It's been a pretty solid day," said Kyle Rodda, market analyst for IG Australia, although he noted that trading volumes were light. "You wouldn't say this is an exuberant expression of bullishness, but again, it's a solid day." There was no obvious reason for the rally, he said.

    The big banks provided most of the boost, with Commonwealth Bank up 1.95 per cent to $71.63, ANZ up two per cent to $26.02, Westpac up 1.37 per cent to $25.92 and NAB up 1.02 per cent to $24.69. QBE Insurance Group gained 2.34 per cent to $12.70, a nearly two-year high, while Macquarie Group gained 1.12 per cent to $132.

    Woolworths was up 1.84 per cent to $31 and Wesfarmers gained 1.28 per cent to $34.73.

    The only sectors to fall were the miners, which down 0.22 per cent, and health care stocks, down 0.41 per cent.

    Pharma giant CSL dropped 0.57 per cent to $197.86 while Cochlear dropped 2.23 per cent to $165.10.

    Mining giant BHP dropped 0.15 per cent to $39.58 and South32 fell 1.12 per cent to $3.54, while Rio Tinto was flat at $100.5.

    Shares in price comparison platform iSelect bounced back after being down earlier in the day, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged the website had been favouring some partner energy retailers. ISelect stock closed at 63 cents, up 2.44 per cent.

    Intellectual property law firm holding group IPH gained 2.16 per cent to $7.10 after the Xenith board of directors unanimously recommended that shareholders spurn a merger with QANTM for IPH's takeover bid of $2.25 a share.

    Xenith stock rose 0.95 per cent to $2.12, while QANTM shares rose 2.65 per cent to $135.5. If shareholders approve the IPH-Xenith merger in July the combined company will consist of many of Australia's leading intellectual property law firms.

    The local currency moved sharply lower after the release of the RBA's Financial Stability Review before regaining some ground. The Aussie dollar is buying 71.27 US cents, from 71.61 US cents on Thursday.


    * The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 52.6 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 6,251.3 points at 1630 AEST on Friday.

    * The All Ordinaries was down 52.9 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 6,347.

    * At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up 51 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 6,236.


    One Australian dollar buys:

    * 71.61 US cents, from 71.61 US on Thursday

    * 79.70 Japanese yen, from 79.44 yen

    * 63.15 euro cents, from 63.41 euro cents

    * 54.56 British pence, from 54.68 pence

    * 105.88 NZ cents, from 105.85 cents

    Global Markets Report

    Global stocks rose on Friday after JP Morgan’s results kicked off the U.S. corporate earnings season in style, while signs of stabilization in China’s economy also helped riskier assets amid talk that the growth outlook worldwide is better than thought.

    Chinese data showed exports rebounded in March, lifting U.S. and euro zone bond yields to three-week highs and helping offset weaker imports and reports of another cut to German growth forecasts. Investors are looking for signs of a Chinese economic recovery to temper global growth worries, especially after the International Monetary Fund this week downgraded its 2019 world economic outlook for the third time.

    China’s trade results, as well as credit data, have helped boost risk appetite and reinforce the stabilization thesis, which should have spill-over effects for the global economy, said Candice Bangsund, a portfolio manager with the global asset allocation team at Fiera Capital in Montreal. “The whole China situation really appears to be gaining some ground,” Bangsund said. “We saw a very impressive rebound in exports; this of course is helping alleviate fears of a hard landing.”

    MSCI’s gauge of equity market performance in 47 countries gained 0.37%, while the EURO STOXX 50 index rose 0.31%. Regional lenders in Europe, including StanChart, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse also rallied on JPM’s results, taking the European bank index up 1.9 percent to a five-month high.

    The euro gained despite the German growth concerns. Dealers were gearing up for demand from Japan as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial closed in on its multi-billion-euro acquisition of DZ Bank’s aviation-finance business. The dollar index fell 0.24%, with the euro up 0.42% to $1.1297. The Japanese yen weakened 0.32% versus the greenback at 112.05 per dollar.

    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 223.46 points, or 0.85%, to 26,366.51. The S&P 500 gained 15.24 points, or 0.53%, to 2,903.56 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.90 points, or 0.38%, to 7,977.26. JPMorgan ‘s earnings easily beat analyst estimates, easing fears that slowing economic growth could weigh on its results. Its shares rose 4.2% and led a broad rally in bank stocks, with the KBW banking index gaining 1.76%.

    Euro zone and U.S. government debt yields rose after the rebound in Chinese exports. Yields on Germany’s 10-year government bond crossed into positive territory, to 0.058%. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell 15/32 in price to push up their yield to 2.5579%.


    Oil provided the big milestones. Brent was at $71.40 a barrel, having broken back through the $70 threshold this week, and U.S. WTI was heading for a sixth straight week of gains for the first time since early 2016. Involuntary supply cuts in Venezuela, Libya and Iran have supported perceptions of a tightening market, already constrained by production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.

    Brent crude oil futures settled up 72 cents at $71.55 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures , the U.S. benchmark, rose 31 cents to settle at $63.89.

    Commodities have had the best first-quarter start ever, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said, calling the annualized returns they are tracking the strongest in the past 100 years. Taking advantage of strong prices and subdued valuations for oil producers, Chevron said it will buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp for $33 billion in cash and stock.

    Gold steadied en route to its first weekly gain in three weeks as the dollar weakened, although the metal’s advances were capped by stronger equities. Gold crept higher after falling more than 1% on Thursday to break below $1,300 following solid U.S. data. Spot gold traded at $1,292.41 per ounce.

    Take Five

    (Via Reuters)


    The focus is on the hotly anticipated U.S. results: First-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to fall 2.5 percent on the year in what would be the first quarterly decline since 2016. But revenue is expected to rise 4.8 percent.

    Those earnings will be crucial to see if the bull market can keep running. Some have argued the Federal Reserve’s patience on rate increases this year as well as stock buybacks will add fuel to the S&P’s rally. Also boosting the S&P 500 Index are the recent performance of the banks and financials, which had suffered more than the broader market in the fourth quarter, when recession fears scared investors away.

    First out of the blocks was JPMorgan, which reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as higher interest income and gains in its advisory and debt underwriting business offset weakness in trading.

    Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are all scheduled to release their results in days to come. Large banks have indicated that muted capital market activity at the start of the year caused by sluggish trading volumes will be a drag on overall results. Financials are expected to deliver 1.8 percent earnings growth, according to I/B/E/S Refinitiv.


    April manufacturing activity data will give a glimpse of the economic health of the United States and the euro zone. Chinese GDP data will provide an update on the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

    Dismal March PMIs for the United States and euro zone sent shivers through markets. They were taken as ominous signs for the global economy as international trade tensions hurt factory output.

    But robust factory data from Beijing offered hope that efforts to shore up China’s economy are kicking in, which injected further fuel to the global equity rally.

    The IHS Markit flash Purchasing Managers’ Index due on April 18 should indicate if that optimism was justified — and if stocks have further upward momentum. China’s first-quarter GDP data is out on April 17.

    Many investors say low expectations for first-quarter earnings, dovish central bank policies and hopes for Chinese stimulus and a trade truce between Washington and Beijing are largely priced into equity markets. With all that baked in and investors still scrambling for consensus on what happens over the rest of 2019, there’s a lot riding on that data.


    For all the relief in emerging markets that the Federal Reserve doesn’t expect to raise interest rates anytime soon and that commodity prices are hot again, there are still the troublesome twosome: The Turkish lira and Argentine peso.

    The peso has slumped to fresh lows in the past 10 days, although the International Monetary Fund’s unlocking a $10.8 billion tranche of funds helped the battered currency to regain some of its footing.

    Meanwhile, nine weeks of losses in the last 10 have the lira sliding back toward six to the dollar, the level that set alarm bells ringing last year.

    Ankara’s economic reform plans — announced on Wednesday — failed to impress markets and investor meetings with Finance Minister Berat Albayrak at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings did little to change that. Ankara’s row with Washington over plans to buy a Russian missile defense system and declines in its FX reserves have only added to the concern of investors still smarting from last month’s pre-election move to temporarily freeze the London lira market.


    The world’s largest and third-largest democracies are going to the polls. Indonesia holds parliamentary and presidential elections on April 17. India’s elections are spread over seven phases and 39 days.

    Both countries face similar issues around anti-incumbency and flailing economic growth. Betting on continuity, investors have pumped money into their markets, driving up bonds and stocks.

    Polls in Indonesia suggest President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, who faces his opponent from 2014 once again, will not only win re-election but will also emerge with a stronger coalition. Indonesian markets have also always scored well in election years.

    So it’s India that investors should be sweating over. Even if the February tensions with neighbor Pakistan have given Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his coalition an edge, the risks are that he will lose his majority and may cobble together a new partnership that could slow down reforms.


    It’s the start truncated trading - the first of four consecutive shortened trading weeks, as a series of public holidays in Europe begins with Easter. Japanese markets will also be closed for a string of holidays in late April.

    The truncated weeks come just as volatility in financial markets has slumped. In equities, the VIX, known as the “fear index”, is close to its lowest levels since October. Foreign exchange price swings have fallen to their lowest for several years, according to the Deutsche Bank Currency Volatility Index.

    Even the British pound, long the vent for Brexit-related angst, has turned increasingly calm — and traders are not expecting many big moves for sterling in the months ahead after this week’s six-month Brexit delay.

    Caught between mixed economic data releases of recent weeks, a postponement to figuring out how Britain will extricate itself from the European Union until as late as October and elusive progress in the Sino-U.S. trade war have left markets treading water.

    But with fewer traders at their desks on fewer days, the rest of April will see heightened risks of a spike in volatility, or even flash crashes, should a surprise hit markets just as calmness descends.

    Earnings Reports Due (U.S)

    Economic Data Apr 15-19

    Please include the STOCK CODE in your post out of respect for your fellow traders, or use the OT (off topic) tag for non-stock related content.

    Here’s some brekkie’s you can share with the kids now that schools holidays are here (maybe not the coffee).

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