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Morning Bell 20 June

Grady Wulff
June 20, 2023

The local market started the new trading week 0.6% higher, carrying the ASX rally into a 6th straight session driven by a rally for healthcare stocks, namely, CSL as investors took last week’s update-driven sell-off as an opportunity to buy into Australia’s largest biotech company on Monday.

Locally, PointsBet (ASX:PBH) jumped 19% during the session after updating the market on its non-binding indicative proposal from DraftKings to acquire PointsBet’s US business for a headline purchase of US$195m on a debt-free and cash-free basis. Yesterday’s announcement saw the PointsBet board share that DraftKings offer could be ‘reasonably expected to lead to a Superior Proposal’, which would further boost the PBH share price, especially as Fanatics Betting is also in the race to acquire the online sports betting company’s North American business. The board continues to recommend that Shareholders vote in favour of the FBG Transaction at the Extraordinary General Meeting scheduled for Friday 30th June, while it considers the DraftKings Proposal.

On the mining front, Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) tanked 16% on Monday after releasing a two-phase development to targeted production of 50,000 tonnes per annum of battery grade lithium carbonate at its Kachi project in Argentina. The update outlines significantly higher capital costs, a 3-year delay to the expected production date commencement at the mine and a 50% reduction to the target amount of tonnes per annum of lithium from the project. The market responded negatively due to the higher cost incurred for the phased approach between $1.1bn-$1.5bn USD for phase 1, significantly higher than the Pre-feasibility study for 25,500 tonnes per annum with CAPEX of US$544m, and the new 50,000 target being half of the previous target of 100,000 tonnes per annum.|

Wall St was closed overnight for the Juneteenth National Independence day holiday, however all eyes will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony on Thursday night Australian time to determine what the rate hike movements look like for the coming months. The Nasdaq was the winning index last week, gaining 3.3% as investor appetite for technology stocks continues to grow amid the hype around AI and its ability to drive hyper operational efficiency across many industries.

Over in Europe, equities fell on Monday as investors’ concerns over weakened demand recovery from China weighed on resources companies in the region, and healthcare stocks took a hit on dampened corporate forecasts. The STOXX600 fell 1% on Monday with all sectors ending the session in negative territory, while Germany’s DAX lost almost 1%, the French CAC closed 1.01% lower and, in the UK, the FTSE100 fell 0.71%. Investors are also looking ahead in the region to the Bank of England’s rate hike decision out on Thursday alongside the Swiss National Bank.

What to watch today:

  • Ahead of the local trading session here in Australia, the SPI futures are expecting the ASX to open Tuesday’s session 0.15% higher, extending the local green run into a 7th straight session.
  • On the commodities front this morning, oil is trading 0.8% lower at US$71.21/barrel, coal is down 5.52% at US$128.45/tonne, gold is down 0.4% at US$1949.70/ounce and iron ore is up 0.43% at US$117/tonne.
  • Stocks trading ex-dividend today include Premier Investments (ASX:PMV). If you’ve been thinking about this stock it might be worth considering buying in today as stocks trading ex-dividend generally trade lower on the ex-dividend date.
  • AU$1.00 is buying US$0.68, 7.20 Japanese Yen, 53.75 British Pence, and NZ$1.10.

Trading Ideas:

  • Bell Potter has initiated coverage of Matrix Composites & Engineering (ASX:MCE) with a Hold rating and a price target of $0.35 noting the near-term earnings and free cash flow outlook is leveraged to increases in global offshore energy development activity, which Bell Potter estimates is currently at a 5-year high, resulting in an uplift in outstanding product orders to be delivered of 2H FY23 and FY24.
  • And Bell Potter has downgraded the price target on Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) from $4.10 to $4.00 and maintain a buy rating on the dairy company amid forecasts for movements in the cash rates, implied yield curves and impact of the strengthened Aussie dollar to USD on AUD commodity returns. Farmgate pricing has again been competitive and while we saw this as manageable at the open, the rapid appreciation in the AUD has created a headwind which would appear unrecoverable in the absence of higher USD commodity prices or further price increases in the branded portfolio.

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