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Morning Bell 18 March

Sophia Mavridis
March 18, 2024

Well, all three major US benchmarks closed lower last week, the second straight week of losses. This was off the back of inflation concerns which saw technology stocks come under pressure, ahead of the Fed’s next two-day policy meeting starting on Tuesday. The Dow Jones closed 0.5% lower, the S&P500 down 0.6% and the Nasdaq down 0.96%.

European markets were also in the red, with investors treading carefully ahead of rate decisions this week by both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.

And last week the Australian share market declined 2.25% Monday to Friday, with all sectors in the red, apart from Utilities and Real Estate. The materials and financials industry sectors declined the most.

What to watch today:

  • Our local market is set to start the week lower this morning, with the SPI futures suggesting a 0.17% fall at the open.
  • In commodities,
    • Oil has softened, trading at US$81 per barrel, so keep watch of energy stock today, such as Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) or Santos (ASX:STO). The price of oil still saw a weekly gain of more than 3.5%, amid strong US demand as well as an optimistic outlook for global oil consumption.
    • Gold is trading lower, recording its first weekly decline in a month, ahead of the Fed’s policy decision this week.
    • Iron ore has also declined, trading at US$105.50 per ton, the lowest in nearly seven months following dampened demand in China.
    • And copper prices are influencing the Australian dollar greater than iron ore currently, advancing last week to its highest level in 11 months, after the top Chinese smelting facilities announced they’d reduce production at unprofitable facilities due to raw material shortages.
  • And two companies go ex-dividend today, that is, HUB 24 (ASX:HUB) and Chorus (ASX:CNU).

Trading Ideas:

  • Bell Potter maintains a Buy rating on global financial services firm Perpetual (ASX:PPT). They have lowered their price target from $27.33 to $27.15 and at PPT’s current share price of $24.39, this implies 11.3% share price growth in a year.
  • And Bell Potter also have a Buy rating on Technology One (ASX:TNE), ahead of the company’s H1 FY24 results with a focus on the Net Revenue Retention. Bell Potter have increased their price target from $17.25 to $18.50, and at TNE’s current share price $16.30, this implies 13.5% share price growth in a year.

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