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Morning Bell 30 March

Grady Wulff
March 30, 2023

Wall Street rebounded to rally on Wednesday as investor fears of a global banking crisis continue easing, boosting high growth stocks in the technology sector. Micron led the charge on the Nasdaq after the memory chip company forecast a drop in third quarter revenue in line with Wall Street expectations but gave a positive outlook for 2025 with artificial intelligence predicted to boost sales. The Dow Jones closed the midweek session 1% higher while the S&P500 also rose 1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 1.5%. While the banking system stresses are far from over, analysts at the Bank of America said ‘banking system stresses remain high but there are some signs of stabilisation’.

Over in Europe markets also rebounded to close higher across the board. Investor fears of large bank collapses in the region are easing, especially after UBS announced former Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti will return as Chief Executive to guide the takeover of Credit Suisse, coming in to replace Ralph Hamers. The return of Ermotti sent shares in UBS up 3.72% on Wednesday. Germany’s DAX added 1.23% on Wednesday, while the French CAC rose 1.39% and, in the UK, the FTSE100 rose 1.07%.

Australia’s consumer price index data for February out yesterday showed the country’s inflation rate rose 6.8% in the year to February 2023, which is the second consecutive month of disinflation from the peak inflation rate of 8.4% in December 2022, and is an eight-month low for the inflation indicator. The most significant contributors to the annual increase seen in February were Housing up 9.9%, food and non-alcoholic beverages up 8%, transport up 5.6% and recreation and culture up 6.4%. Inflation falling to 6.8% in February from 7.4% in January provides further evidence that consumer prices have peaked, especially ahead of the RBA’s interest rate meeting next week. Consensus were expecting a rise of 7.1%, so inflation coming in lower than expectations supports the notion for a pause in rate hikes at the RBA’s meeting next week.

The local index rose 0.23% yesterday as investor sentiment was boosted by the slowing of inflation growth in the country. The materials and energy sectors topped the gains on the local index yesterday with each adding over 1.2% on the back of rising commodity prices and boosted global demand outlook for key commodities.

What to watch today:

  • Ahead of the local trading session here in Australia the SPI futures are anticipating the ASX to open 0.68% higher on the back of that global rally overnight.
  • On the commodities front this morning, oil is trading 0.31% lower at US$72.97/barrel, gold is down almost half a per cent at US$1964/ounce and iron ore is up 1.63% at US$124.50/tonne.
  • The Aussie dollar is buying US$0.67, 88.79 Japanese Yen, 54.89 British Pence and NZ$1.07.

Trading Ideas:

  • Bell Potter has increased it’s price target on Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) from $2.81 to $3.35 and maintain a speculative buy rating on the lithium producer following the company announcing it has received and rejected a takeover offer worth $5.5bn from the world’s largest lithium producer, Albermarle. The corporate interest in Liontown Resources from a high-profile US-based industry participant speaks to the quality of Liontown’s Kathleen Valley project.
  • Trading Central has identified a bullish signal on Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) following the formation of a pattern over a period of 27-days which is roughly the same amount of time the share price may rise from the close of $0.82 to the range of $1.05 to $1.11 according to standard principles of technical analysis.

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