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Morning Bell 27 September

Bell Direct
September 27, 2023

Over on in the US, Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday as the release of home sales and consumer confidence data in the region sparked investor concerns over the state of the US economy.  The Dow Jones fell 1.14% in its worst session since March, the Nasdaq retreated 1.57% and the S&P500 lost 1.47% at the closing bell on Tuesday.

August new home sales data missed expectations with homes under contract totalling 675,000 for the month, down 8.7% on July and below economists’ expectations of 695,000 which would have represented a lesser decline from July. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 103 points in September, down from 108.7 in August and also below economists’ expectations of 105.5 points. Both of these readings falling short of economists’ expectations and being greater declines than expected indicate the greater impact interest rate hikes are having on the US economy to date.

Over in Europe, markets closed lower for a fourth straight session as negative investor sentiment impacted global stocks. The STOXX600 fell 0.6% on Tuesday weighed down by technology and automaking stocks falling 2% and 1.2% respectively, while Germany’s DAX lost just shy of 1%, the French CAC fell 0.7% and, in the UK, the FTSE100 closed flat. The muted day in the UK follows signs that the Bank of England and European Central Bank will hold rates steady while the Federal Reserve in the US may have another hike in store. Rising bond yields in the region are also weighing on European markets as investors opt for safer returns alternatives to equities in the current market environment.

The ASX fell 0.54% yesterday as interest-rate sensitive sectors weighed on the key index with the REIT and Tech sectors shedding 1.35% and 1.93% respectively as the market prepares for interest rates to remain higher for longer across not only locally, but among international economies too. Rising bond yields are also weighing on the ASX as investors turn to bonds over the higher-risk equities in the current environment.

Pro Medicus popped 9% on Tuesday after the leading health imaging company announced its wholly owned US subsidiary, Visage Imaging, has signed a $140m, 10-year contract with the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas, Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH). The contract will see the company’s cloud-engineered Visage 8 Enterprise Imaging Platform (Visage 7) implemented throughout BSWH to provide a unified diagnostic imaging platform, with multi-phased go-lives targeted to begin in Q1 CY24.

Qantas shares dipped a further 1.3% yesterday after CLSA became the first large broker to downgrade the national airline to a Sell Rating this year amid recent challenges including the most recent fuel cost blowout announcement.

What to watch today:

  • Ahead of the local trading session here in Australia the SPI futures are expecting the ASX to open 0.34% lower following the slide in global investor sentiment overnight.
  • On the commodities front, oil is trading 1.07% higher at US$90.64/barrel, gold is down 0.83% at US$1899/ounce and iron ore is down 3.64% at US$119/tonne.
  • AU$1.00 is buying US$0.64, 95.29 Japanese Yen, 52.73 British Pence and NZ$1.08.

Trading Ideas:

  • Bell Potter has raised the price target on Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) from $70/share to $75/share and maintain a hold rating on the leading health imaging IT provider after the company announced the signing of its largest ever deal in the US through a 10-year contract with Baylor Scott & White Health. With a shortage of radiologists and ongoing cuts to Medicare re-imbursement for radiology, companies like Pro Medicus are also expected to continue working with AI providers and researchers to facilitate the provision of AI tools in radiology, however the company is not developing its own applications as understood by Bell Potter.
  • And Trading Central has identified a bearish signal on Charter Hall Long WALE REIT (ASX:CLW) following the formation of a pattern over a period of 40-days which is roughly the same amount of time the share price may fall from the close of $3.28 to the range of $2.50 to $2.65 according to standard principles of technical analysis.

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