Weekly Market & Currency Developments – From Our Bankers

Aussie shares outperform residential property

Home prices; Manufacturing

  • Home prices: The CoreLogic Home Value Index of national home prices fell by 0.7 per cent in February to be down 6.3 per cent over the year – the weakest annual growth rate in almost 10 years. Prices fell in all capital cities except Hobart (up 0.8 per cent) and Adelaide (flat). Regional prices fell by just 0.3 per cent.
  • Shares outperform residential property: Total returns on national dwellings fell by 2.7 per cent in the year to February – the worst growth rate in a decade – with houses down by 3.4 per cent on a year earlier and units down by 0.9 per cent. In contrast, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Accumulation Index lifted by 6.6 per cent over the year to February – the strongest annual growth rate since September.
  • Manufacturing sector: The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index rose by 1.5 points to 54.0 points in February. But the ‘final’ Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index(PMI) fell from 53.9 to 52.9 points. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.

Home price data is important for retailers, especially those focussed on consumer durables. The manufacturing data provides guidance for companies in the Industrials sector.

What does it all mean?

  • The property downturn will grab all the headlines today. National home prices continued to decline in February albeit at slower rate than previous months.
  • Of course, some cities and regional towns are bucking the trend. Home prices in Hobart, for example, lifted by 0.8 per cent in February. And if you focus on the most recent ‘up-cycle’ in national dwelling prices (commencing from August 2012), prices in Hobart have now caught up to home prices in Greater Melbourne after prices peaked there in November 2017.
  • While there will be heightened angst around the possible impact of slowing home prices on household spending and the so-called ‘wealth effect’, the rebound in sharemarkets in early 2019 could potentially ‘cushion the blow’. The S&P/ASX200 index is up around 13 per cent since its pre-Christmas lows and was up over 9 per cent in the
  • first two months of this year. If you include dividends, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Accumulation Index has risen by 6.6 per cent over the year to February, outperforming total returns on national dwellings, which posted the weakest annual return in a decade, down by 2.7 per cent in February.
  • Australia’s manufacturing sector continues to expand. After a hiccup in December (the index was at 50 points), the AiGroup gauge has risen to its highest level since October. All key underlying components of the index expanded with the pick-up in employment, production and exports, particularly pleasing, aligning with the improvement in the NAB business survey.

What do the figures show?

Home prices

  • The CoreLogic Home Value Index of national home prices fell by 0.7 per cent in February to be down 6.3 per cent over the year – the weakest growth rate in almost 10 years. Prices fell in all capital cities except Hobart (up 0.8 per cent) and Adelaide (flat). Regional prices fell by just 0.3 per cent (down 1.4 per cent on the year).
  • In capital cities, prices fell 0.9 per cent to be down 7.6 per cent over the Year. House prices fell by 0.9 per cent and apartment prices fell by 0.7 per cent. House prices were down 8.3 per cent on a year ago and apartments were down by 5.6 per cent.
  • In regional areas, house prices fell by 0.3 per cent and apartment prices fell 0.2 per cent in February to be down 1.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively on the year.
  • The average Australian capital city house price (median price) was $636,006 in February and the average unit price was $530,831.
  • Dwelling prices fell in six of the eight capital cities in February. Home prices fell in Darwin (down 1.7 per cent), from Perth (down 1.5 per cent), Melbourne and Sydney (both 1.0 per cent), Brisbane (down 0.3 per cent), and Canberra (down 0.2 per cent). Prices rose in Hobart (up 0.8 per cent) and were flat in Adelaide.
  • Home prices were lower than a year ago in five of the eight capital cities in February. Prices fell by the most in Sydney (down 10.4 per cent); Melbourne (down 9.1 per cent); Perth (down 6.9 per cent); Darwin (down by 5.3 per cent) and Brisbane (down 0.5 per cent). But prices are still positive in Hobart (up 7.2 per cent), Canberra (up 3.4 per cent) and Adelaide (up 1.0 per cent).
  • Total returns on national dwellings fell by 2.7 per cent in the year to February with houses down by 3.4 per cent on a year earlier and units were down by 0.9 per cent. In contrast, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Accumulation Index lifted by 6.6 per cent over the year to February – the strongest annual growth rate since September.

Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Indexes

  • The Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index rose by 1.5 points to 54.0 points in February. The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell from 53.9 to 52.9 points. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.
  • According to AiGroup, manufacturing concerns were: “Positive conditions in February stemmed from export orders, infrastructure, government contracts, defence and mining projects. Less positively, the downturn in housing construction is already affecting some sectors, as is the uncertainty of impending elections(for a small number of respondents in NSW). Ongoing drought is detracting from trading conditions for manufacturers in NSW, South Australia and parts of Queensland.”
  • According to the Markit, “The middle of the first quarter saw further growth in Australia’s manufacturing sector, but at its slowest pace in seven months. Softer expansions in output and new orders weighed on the headline PMI, while job creation was the weakest in two-and-a-half years. Notably, export orders grew marginally. Nonetheless, business sentiment improved. Meanwhile, inflationary pressures persisted, with output charges rising at a sharper rate.”

What is the importance of the economic data?

  • The CoreLogic Hedonic Australian Home Value Index is based on Australia’s biggest property database. Unlike the ABS Index, which excludes terraces, semi-detached homes and apartments, the CoreLogic Hedonic Index includes all properties. Home prices are an important driver of wealth and spending.
  • The Purchasing Manager indexes (PMIs) for services and manufacturing are released each month. The Australian PMIs are the local equivalents of similar indexes released for other countries. The PMIs are amongst timeliest economic indicators released in Australia. The PMIs are useful not just in showing how the sectors are performing but in providing some sense about where they are heading. The key ‘forward looking’ components are orders and employment.

What are the implications for interest rates and investors?

  • Home prices in Sydney have fallen by over 10 per cent over the past 12 months – the weakest annual growth rate since the early 1980s. Of course, broader economic conditions are different now to then with near record low unemployment rates of 3.9-4.5 per cent in NSW and Victoria. And the official cash rate is stuck at record low levels and mortgage rates are still near their lowest level since the 1960s.
  • The slower pace of decline in home prices in February is a welcome development, with very tentative signs of stabilisation in Sydney and Melbourne. And home prices are still positive in Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart over the past 12 months. But the acceleration of price declines in Perth remains a concern, especially given the still-high unemployment rate of 6.8 per cent in Western Australia.
  • The Reserve Bank is in ‘watch, wait, worry and see’
    mode at the moment. The Royal Commission into the banking sector has altered the landscape for lending. Credit conditions are tighter amid increased scrutiny of household balance sheets by banks. It is taking longer to obtain a loan and to approve mortgages. Home loan sizes are falling.
  • The reduced supply of credit is particularly acute for investors, though demand has also diminished due to falling property prices. Fewer foreign buyers, elevated supply of apartments, increased listings of properties and consumer caution are all combining to reduce home prices.
  • Much will depend on election outcomes in NSW and Australia in the next couple of months. Policies aimed at better housing affordability (additional stump duty concessions and negative gearing) could assist first home buyers.
  • Either way, the change to a more ‘neutral’ policy stance by global central banks, optimism over US- China trade talks and a reasonable Aussie corporate reporting season should see shares continue to outperform residential property in the near term.
  • Experts don’t expect a change in the official cash rate in the foreseeable future.

Construction costs lift at fastest pace in 9 years

Construction work done

  • Construction activity: Construction work done fell by 3.1 per cent in the December quarter after a 3.6 per cent fall in the September quarter.
  • Record activity: In the 12 months to December, construction work done was at record highs in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.
  • Construction inflation: Construction costs rose by 1.3 per cent in the December quarter with building costs up 1.1 per cent and engineering up 1.6 per cent. On the year, construction costs were up 3.6 per cent (decade average +2.2 per cent) – the fastest growth in nine years.

The data on construction work is important for builders, building material companies and developers.

What does it all mean?

  • The inflation dragon has been sighted in the economy – it is alive and well in the construction sector. Construction costs rose by 3.6 per cent over 2018 – the biggest increase in nine years. And the higher costs are in evidence across home building, commercial construction and engineering. The question is whether builders and developers will be able to pass on the higher costs in the current environment.
  • Weather played a role in restraining the amount of construction work done in the December quarter. A raft of major companies have highlighted that wet and stormy weather affected activity in the quarter.
  • While construction activity eased in the December quarter, for 2018 as a whole, five of the eight states and territories had their busiest years ever. Construction activity will remain at high levels over 2019 although most regions are likely to report an easing of activity from highs.
  • Engineering work fell 5.0 per cent in the December quarter with declines across all regions except the ACT. In Western Australia, engineering work done was at a 13-year low. But looking ahead the significant amount of infrastructure projects across the nation will boost engineering work in 2019.

What do the figures show?

  • Construction work done fell by 3.1 per cent in real (inflation-adjusted) terms in the December quarter. Work done is down by 2.6 per cent on a year ago.
  • Public sector construction work fell by 6.0 per cent in the quarter and private sector activity fell by 2.2 per cent.
  • Construction work fell across all states and territories in the December quarter: NSW (down 4.1 per cent); Victoria (down 1.1 per cent); Queensland (down 5.8 per cent); South Australia (down 2.5 per cent); Western Australia (down 3.3 per cent); Tasmania (down 3.6 per cent); Northern Territory (down 14.2 per cent); ACT (down 3.0 per cent)
  • Engineering work fell by 5.0 per cent in the December quarter, and is down 7.8 per cent over the year.
  • Commercial (non-residential) building rose by 1.9 per cent in the December quarter and was up 0.4 per cent on the year.
  • Residential building fell by 3.6 per cent in the December quarter but was up by 2.1 per cent over the year. Alterations & additions fell by 4.2 per cent in the quarter, while new residential work fell by 3.5 per cent.
  • Construction costs rose by 1.3 per cent in the December quarter, with building costs up 1.1 per cent. On the year, construction costs were up 3.6 per cent – a 9-year high.
  • Annual building inflation was 2.8 per cent and engineering inflation was 4.7 per cent.

What is the importance of the economic data?

  • The Bureau of Statistics releases quarterly estimates of Construction work done. The estimates are based on a survey and cover around 85 per cent of the construction work done in the period. Revised estimates will be released in coming months. The data is useful largely for historical purposes but the work yet to be done estimates provide an early warning signal of future activity. The residential work figures give a good early guide to the strength of residential investment in the national accounts.

What are the implications for interest rates and investors?

  • While construction activity eased in late 2018, the amount of work still to be completed is at historically-high levels. In the engineering sector, demand for workers and resources is pushing up costs. In reporting its earnings result, Monadelphous said that the tightening job market was its biggest challenge. There was more competition for labour and a shortage of workers for all sorts of trades.
  • Builders and developers need to watch fluctuating activity levels across regions while at the same time taking action to trim costs where possible.
  • Experts expect official interest rates to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. But cost pressures in the construction sector and upward pressure on wages are issues for policymakers.
  • Based on current numbers, the economy may have been flat in the December quarter and a small fall in GDP can’t be totally ruled out. The economy should bounce firmly higher in the March quarter.

Earnings Season: Corporate Australia finds it tough

Corporate Profit Reporting Season (final figures)

  • Each ‘earnings season’ or ‘profit reporting season’ we track all the earnings results of ASX 200 companies to obtain a comprehensive picture of the aggregate health of Corporate Australia.
  • A total of 138 of the ASX200 index group reported half-year (interim) results while 31 companies with a December 31 reporting date issued full-year results.
  • Overall companies have found it tough. Companies are still reporting profits – 93 per cent of companies that reported half year results did report a profit, near the high of 94 per cent recorded a year ago. But only half of companies were able to lift profits. While aggregate statutory profits rose by 15.3 per cent on a year ago, the total is influenced by heavyweights, Wesfarmers & BHP. Excluding the heavyweights, profits fell by 5.5 per cent.
  • Companies are still issuing dividends. But the 83 per cent of half-year reporting companies that elected to pay a dividend was below the average of 86 per cent over the 18 reporting seasons covered.The good news is that a number of companies elected to pay special dividends Aggregate dividends of half-year reporting companies lifted by 11.7 per cent. But excluding Flight Centre, Fortescue and Wesfarmers, dividends were only up by 2 per cent.

The Profit Reporting Season

  • Every six months we track the earnings of Australia’s largest listed companies. Some analysts track whether companies have met broker expectations. That tells you little about the financial performance of companies. And unfortunately for many companies only a few brokers ‘cover’ all the stocks.
  • Other analysts just track the earnings of those companies they ‘cover’ – the companies that they have detailed information on. We include all ASX 200 companies in its macro (big picture) assessment of the reporting season.
  • Overall, Corporate Australia is not doing as well as a year ago. And that should hardly come as a surprise. Companies have had to deal with a raft of negative influences. These include the China-US trade war; Brexit (Brambles, Reliance Worldwide); global financial market volatility (Challenger); political factors and uncertainty (Healthscope, Challenger, CSL); falls in Australian home prices; and on-going soft wage growth and consumer attitudes (Coles, Wesfarmers, Woolworths). Even some companies highlighted weather influences including wet weather in Sydney (Coles, Suncorp, Steadfast, QBE and Transurban).
  • Certainly the tougher business environment has been reflected in surveys. Even the Reserve Bank Governor says that the economic environment is “less positive” than a year ago. Not, a ‘negative’ environment mind you, but “less positive”.
  • Companies are still making money. In fact 93 per cent of the companies reporting ‘interim’ results reported a statutory profit (net profit after tax). That is near the record high in the equivalent earnings season in February 2018. But only 49 per cent of companies lifted profits compared with a year ago.
  • Aggregate statutory earnings lifted by 15.3 per cent on a year ago, but once Wesfarmers and BHP are excluded, profits are down 5.8 per cent on the year. The percentage of companies that issued a dividend is at 6-year lows; expenses outpaced sales; and cash levels for all ASX 200 companies – half or full-year reporting companies – were up 5 per cent on a year ago.
  • Some of the themes of the season:
    • Share prices of companies were volatile on the day of their earnings announcement. But the spread of companies recording a lift in its share price almost completely matched those recording a share price fall. That is, ‘ups’ matched ‘downs’.
    • Costs or expenses continue to lift, as has been the case for the past year. Growth of cost of sales/expenses now exceeds that of sales/revenues. Higher wage and energy costs were specifically noted. A similar theme of ‘margin’ pressures was highlighted in the European reporting season.
    • Despite falls in home prices, housing construction and development companies didn’t report a marked impact on earnings results.

The statistics: Half-year reporting companies

  • We have analysed the results from the ASX 200 companies that reported earnings for the year or half-year to December. Traditionally brokers or analysts focus on smaller subsets of results. And some merely focus on just whether companies have met or fallen short of “market expectations”.
  • In the ASX200 index group, 138 companies with a June 30 reporting date issued half-year results while 31 companies with a December 31 reporting date issued full-year results.
  • Some of the key results for half-year (HY) reporting companies:
    • In aggregate, revenues rose by 4.8 per cent on a year ago to $308 billion; expenses rose by 5.6 per cent to $261 billion; profits lifted by 15.3 per cent to $33.5 billion; dividends lifted by 11.7 per cent and cash rose by 5.0 per cent.
    • The 11.7 per cent lift in dividends was heavily influenced by special dividends by Fortescue, Flight Centre and Wesfarmers. Excluding these companies, aggregate dividend payments rose by 2.0 per cent.
    • Excluding BHP and Wesfarmers, profits fell by 5.5 per cent. While ‘underlying’ results may show a different picture, BHP reported a 61.2 per cent rise in statutory profit with Wesfarmers net profit rising from $212 million to $4,538 million (profit from continuing operations was up 4.2 per cent).

The following points relate to those companies that reported half-year results (HY reporting companies).

  • On revenues, 79 per cent reported increases and 21 per cent reported declines.
  • On expenses, 80 per cent reported increases and 20 per cent reported declines.
  • On profits, 93 per cent reported a profit.
  • Only 49 per cent reported a lift in profit (long-term average 61.5 per cent).
  • Of those reporting a profit, 52 per cent lifted profits and 48 per cent reported a decline.
  • Of all HY reporting companies, 83 per cent issued a dividend and 17 per cent didn’t.
  • Of those reporting a dividend, 58 per cent lifted the dividend, 17 per cent cut and 24 per cent left dividends unchanged.
  • Of all companies reporting half-year earnings, 51 per cent lifted cash holdings over the year and 49 per cent cut cash levels.
  • Cash holdings of both full-year and half-year reporting companies stood at $120.9 billion as at December 31, (half-year companies, up 5.0 per cent on a year ago to $91.5 billion).

The trends

  • Surveys conducted over the past eight months have generally indicated tougher business conditions. The NAB business conditions index hit record (21-year) highs in April 2018 but conditions have significantly softened in the period since. This hasn’t been confined to Australia – business surveys across the globe have softened since the second quarter of 2018.
  • Companies are still making money. The near 93 per cent of companies that reported a statutory profit for the six months to December was just off the record high (18 profit seasons) recorded in February 2018.
  • But the fact that fewer companies were able to lift profits, accords with survey evidence. In fact only around half of all companies managed to lift profits compared with a year ago. Certainly the ‘comp’ was harder – the comparison with a year ago. That was a time when business surveys were recording the best operating conditions for over 20 years.
  • The even split between those lifting and cutting profits also lines up with the mixed results of company share price performances on the day of reporting earnings. The first day change in share price is useful for picking up various elements – whether results have met expectations; outlook statements; capital management initiatives; and judgements by investors on whether recent share price performances have been justified in light of the new information.
  • Revenues rose in aggregate by 4.8 per cent – in line with nominal growth of the economy (real growth near 3 per cent and inflation of 2 per cent). But the cost of sales and expenses rose even more on a year ago – closer to 5.6 per cent. A number of companies reported increases in the cost of doing business. More people are being employed and wage growth is higher than a year ago. The cost of materials and transport costs also lifted in the second half of 2018, especially fuel prices (Qantas).
  • Companies are still keen to pay dividends. But the 83 per cent of companies electing to pay a dividend is below the longer-term average (86 per cent). Some investors had believed that more companies would be paying or lifting dividends ahead of mooted changes in franking policies advocated by the opposition Labor Party.
  • Aggregate dividends are up 11.7 per cent over the year, but they were up almost 14 per cent on a year in the 2017/18 financial year. Some companies (especially in the resources sector) reported ‘special’ dividends, the prevalence was no greater than in the previous reporting season.
  • Of companies paying a dividend, the 58 per cent that elected to lift dividends was the smallest proportion in around six years. The trend was actually in favour of companies keeping dividends stable – the 24 per cent of companies was the highest proportion in six years.
  • The tougher business environment meant it was harder to lift dividends and also to lift cash levels. In aggregate, cash holdings rose by 5.0 per cent but there was a relatively even split of those lifting cash level to those trimming cash levels.

What are the implications for interest rates and investors?

  • Last profit season we noted that “While corporate profits continue to rise, this disguises the challenges beneath the surface.” And indeed some of the challenges rose above the surface over the past six months.
  • The impact of the challenges certainly hasn’t been uniform. It depends on what adjustments or strategies have been employed by companies. For instance in retail, shopping centres and consumer-dependent companies there have been examples of firms winning the battle (CityChic, Lovisa, Tassal and Vicinity Centres). But other companies highlight challenges such as Woolworths, noting a shift by consumers to lower-priced options.
  • Resource companies have benefited from strong demand and higher prices in the past year and many elected to pay higher dividends. But looking ahead there are greater challenges. Oil prices have eased from highs but are starting to lift again. The outlook for coal remains challenging. But iron ore prices have lifted.
  • It is expected that companies will be focussed on cutting costs in the next six months. Notably mining companies have highlight the cost cutting focus. And Monadelphous says its biggest challenge is the availability of workers in the resource sector given the tighter job market.
  • The record level of homes being built continue to support housing-related companies. But forward-looking indicators have softened (Qube cited weaker demand for building materials). Demand for new and existing homes will ease over the coming year, although there will be marked differences across regions. Higher renovation activity will serve to cushion the fall for builders and suppliers.
  • The lower Australian dollar has supported miners and other companies reporting results in US dollars. And despite the tough environment there are still companies looking for acquisitions such as Wesfarmers, Ansell and Perpetual.
  • If the China-US trade war is defused – and not replaced by a US-Europe trade war – then business sentiment and conditions should lift across the globe, including in Australia. The main domestic issue is whether falling Sydney and Melbourne home prices lead to lower spending and employment and thus a loss of economic momentum. The Reserve Bank is well placed to cut rates should it become necessary. However it should be noted that labour markets remain strong – especially in Sydney and Melbourne and the actual interest rate paid on home loans continues to fall.
  • The Australian sharemarket suffered from global jitters just like other bourses in late 2018. But this year global bourses have rebounded. Between late August and late December, the Australian sharemarket fell around 14 per cent. From the lows the ASX 200 has lifted 13 per cent. US sharemarkets have similarly rebounded from the lows reached just before Christmas.
  • Assuming satisfactory agreement between the US and China on trade, we expect the global sharemarket recovery to continue over 2019. We expect the All Ordinaries to be in a range of 6,450-6,750 by the end of 2018, with the range for the ASX 200 between 6,350-6,650 points.

Investor Signposts: Week Beginning March 3 2019

Australia: Autumn avalanche

  • A strange quirk of the statistical calendar is that each change of seasons in Australia is ushered in by a bevy of economic events. And so the ‘Autumn avalanche’, with more than a dozen indicators or events scheduled this week.
  • The week kicks off on Monday when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the Business Indicators publication for the December quarter. The data on inventories or stocks is a direct input to Wednesday’s economic growth figures.
  • Also on Monday, the ABS also publishes the building approvals data – a key leading indicator for home building. And the ANZ issues its job advertisements index for the month of February. 
  • On Tuesday, the regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. And the ABS publishes quarterly data on government spending and the Balance of Payments – the broader data on the trade position.
  • Also on Tuesday the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries issues the February new vehicle sales figures. And AiGroup publish their purchasing manager survey results for the services sector.
  • The Reserve Bank Board meets on Tuesday but no rate change is expected.
  • On Wednesday the ABS releases the National Accounts – containing the key reading of economic growth in the September quarter. The current annual growth rate of 2.8 per cent is in-line with the 2.75 per cent long-term average.
  • Also on Wednesday Reserve Bank Governor Phillip Lowe delivers a speech on the housing market and the economy.
  • On Thursday, the ABS issues the international trade (data on exports and imports) and retail trade data for January. The AiGroup’s construction gauge is also issued. Residential housing construction activity is slowing.
  • On Friday the Reserve Bank’s Head of Economic Research, John Simon, delivers a speech in Brisbane.

Overseas: US jobs and China trade data in focus

  • The US employment report, together with Chinese trade and inflation data all feature this week.
  • The week begins on Monday in the US when the ISM New York business conditions index and construction spending data are released. Gains in home building have partly offset weakness in non-residential construction.
  • On Tuesday, new home sales, weekly Johnson Redbook chain store sales, ISM non-manufacturing and IBD/TIPP economic optimism data are all scheduled. And the latest monthly US budget statement is also due.
  • In China on Tuesday, Caixin issues its services purchasing manager index for the month of February. And the National People’s Congress commences when Premier Li presents the government’s draft working plan for 2019.
  • On Wednesday in the US, factory orders and international trade data are scheduled with the weekly gauge of mortgage applications. And the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book and ADP’s private payrolls report are issued.
  • On Thursday, the US goods trade balance for January is issued along with the consumer credit report, quarterly unit labour costs/productivity data and the weekly new claims for unemployment insurance (jobless claims).
  • On Friday in the US all eyes will be on the February jobs report. The US economy added jobs for a record- breaking 100th consecutive month in January. An additional 170,000 jobs are expected to have been created in February, taking the unemployment rate down from 4 per cent to 3.8 per cent – near 50-year lows.
  • In China on Friday and Saturday the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) releases international trade and inflation data. After the January trade data exceeded market expectations, a weaker outcome is expected in February due to the seasonal effects of the Lunar New Year holiday.
  • US President Trump has said he’ll extend a deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese goods beyond March 1. But we continue to expect soft growth ahead for exports because of slower global growth and the fading effects of US importers’ front-loading to beat tariff increases. The improvement in imports probably points to the early signs of Chinese fiscal stimulus. Weakening manufacturing activity has also weighed on factory prices with business inflation at 2-year lows.

Financial markets

  • The Australian corporate reporting season has ended for the major industrial companies. But a host of earnings results, especially from resources companies, are due in the coming week. The reports include:
  • On Monday: Cullen Resources, Dragon Mountain Gold; Hannans, Retail Food Group; Scout Security; Zinc of Ireland.
  • On Tuesday: Cap-XX; Carpentaria Resources; Elementos.
  • On Wednesday: ALT Resources; Carnavale Resources; Cassius Mining; GoConnect; MMG; Myer; Red Metal; Santana Minerals; Tungsten Mining.
  • On Thursday: ActivEx; Argent Minerals; GWR Group; Lithium Consolidated; Primero Group; ThinkSmart.
  • On Friday: Alchemy Resources; Bauxite Resources; E3Sixty; Odyssey Energy; Poseidon Nickel; Sovereign Metals.


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