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Morning Bell 12 December

Bell Direct
December 12, 2023

Wall St traded mostly flat on Monday before rallying in afternoon trade to close higher across the key indices as investors remain optimistic in the final trading weeks of 2023. Investors are looking ahead this week to the all-important Fed policy meeting and inflation data in the region which could see markets respond accordingly later in the week. The S&P500 closed 0.4% higher, the Nasdaq added 0.2% and the Dow Jones advanced 0.43%. Macy’s shares rallied over 20% on Monday after the retailer received a takeover offer worth US$5.8bn while tech stocks pulled back to close the session lower.

Over in Europe, markets in the region closed mostly higher on Monday as investors look ahead to the upcoming US FOMC meeting this week to determine the rate outlook for the world’s largest economy heading into 2024. Miners in the region weighed on the market while the European Blue-Chip index or the STOXX600 rose 0.4%. Germany’s DAX rose 0.21% on Monday, and the French CAC added 0.33%, but in the UK, the FTSE100 fell 0.13% at the session’s end.

Locally yesterday, the ASX200 rose just 0.06% as strong gains among energy stocks offset losses for materials, utilities and technology stocks. The gold miners took a hit yesterday amid the price of the precious commodity dipping below US$2000 during the trading session, with analysts blaming the strong jobs data out of the US last week as the catalyst for the decline in the price of gold. Iron ore miners on the other hand enjoyed a rally on Monday as the price of the commodity rose, attributed to China’s restocking demand for steel mills in the region.

Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) was the story of the day yesterday after the company agreed to a ‘transformational merger’ with Chemist Warehouse to bring the leading retail pharmacy brand to the ASX through the creation of an $8.8bn retail giant. Shares in Sigma Healthcare remain in a trading halt but last traded at 76.25cps. Concerns over Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) ’s ability to operate its Sydney-based casino sparked a further sell-off in the stock yesterday with shares closing the day down 8.7%, while Costa Group lost almost 4% yesterday after announcing earnings in CY23 would come in below that of 2022.

What to watch today:

  • Ahead of the local trading session here in Australia, the SPI futures are anticipating the ASX to open Tuesday’s session up 0.18% taking lead from Wall Street’s rally overnight.
  • On the economic calendar today, Australia’s consumer and business confidence data will be released for December and November respectively with the expectation of a slight lift in both amid improving outlook for business conditions.
  • On the commodities front this morning, oil is trading just 0.08% higher at US$71.29/barrel, gold is down 1.09% at US$1981.46/ounce and iron ore is up 1.1% at US$137.50/tonne.
  • 1 Aussie dollar is buying US$.066, 96 Japanese Yen, 52.29 British Pence and NZ$1.07.

Trading Ideas:

  • Bell Potter has maintained a sell rating on Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) and a price target of 84cps following the company’s announcement of appointing Jeff Peters as its new CEO. The appointment of Mr Peters may signal a new dawn for the company, however, there remains challenges with declining funds under management and revenues, in addition to an increasing cost base.
  • And Bell Potter has increased the 12-month price target on Alligator Energy (ASX:AGE) from 8cps to 10cps and maintain a speculative buy rating on the uranium miner following the release of an updated Mineral Resource Estimate for the Blackbush Deposit including an increase of 21%.


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