• ASX 200 closed up 1.04%, crossing above its 200-day moving average
  • Retail sales rise modestly 0.2% in February in line with consensus
  • Liontown Resources and United Malt Group soar higher on takeover news

After finishing flattish on Monday the S&P ASX 200 index closed up 0.1.04% to 7,034.10,  crossing above its 200-day moving average. Energy, Materials and Financial stocks led the bourse higher as US futures also point upwards.

Australian retail sales rose modestly 0.2% in February 2023, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The February rise follows a 1.8% increase in January 2023 and was in line with consensus.

ABS head of retail statistics Ben Dorber said retail sales appear to have levelled out after a period of increased volatility over November, December and January.

“On average, retail spending has been flat through the end of 2022 and to begin the new year.”

Latitude Financial Services (ASX:LFS) shares continued to tank today after the credit card and loan provider confirmed ~14 million consumer records had been stolen in a cyber attack, which is looking like being the biggest in Aussie history.

Gordon Legal and Hayden Stephens and Associates announced today they were exploring a possible class action against LFS.


Amundi confident about European Banking system

One of the biggest global asset managers, European-based Amundi, is confident in the fundamentals of European banks on the back of Credit Suisse’s demise and concerns over pressure on Deutsche Bank.

In an attempt to calm markets, ECB President Christine Lagarde reiterated strength of the European banking sector, while German Chancellor Scholz also said that Deutsche Bank appears profitable with no reason to worry.

Amundi group chief investment officer Vincent Mortier said while credit growth is expected to continue to decline, he doesn’t expect to see a credit crunch in Europe.

“Importantly, European corporates and households are not carrying excessive leverage,” he said.

“European banks have plentiful capital and liquidity to support the real economy, so we expect them to remain open for business and to continue extending loans to credit-worthy customers.”

He said European banks’ fundamentals are solid and banks, including Deutsche Bank, have capital and liquidity levels above regulatory requirements.

“We also note that the ECB and other central banks have provided explicit reassurance that they stand ready to address any liquidity shortfalls in the system,” he said.

Within the sector, Amundi continues to prefer retail banks with stable, diversified deposit bases that are able to generate high levels of profitability and cover their cost of capital.

“In a higher interest rate environment, where the market is more discerning about business models, the ability to deliver sustainable profits will be increasingly important,” he said.

He said as markets reassess the economic outlook investors should maintain caution.

“Investors should seek a balanced approach with a focus on government bonds, which are once again acting as an equity diversifier, and gold.”

“In equities, having a tilt towards quality is key in the current environment.”



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Code Name Price % Change Volume Market Cap
LTR Liontown Resources 2.545 67% 127,681,817 $3,352,643,315
UMG United Malt Group 4.515 31% 5,626,008 $1,029,176,224
CXO Core Lithium 0.9 15% 37,571,962 $1,446,913,099
AKE Allkem Limited 11.64 15% 7,541,924 $6,465,852,992
PLS Pilbara Min Ltd 3.865 12% 50,792,897 $10,313,166,505
SYA Sayona Mining Ltd 0.205 11% 55,471,921 $1,643,809,828
PDN Paladin Energy Ltd 0.61 10% 13,690,399 $1,653,954,226
SYR Syrah Resources 1.67 8% 3,551,098 $1,035,579,006
IGO IGO Limited 12.915 8% 4,612,230 $9,072,068,400
CHN Chalice Mining Ltd 6.735 7% 4,289,746 $2,364,088,378
BPT Beach Energy Limited 1.37 7% 8,840,243 $2,931,513,748
MIN Mineral Resources. 81.16 6% 1,807,639 $14,727,295,951
SQ2 Block 95.98 6% 275,355 $2,800,929,857
WHC Whitehaven Coal 6.74 6% 5,742,282 $5,673,428,787
PMV Premier Investments 25.985 5% 527,817 $3,932,848,583
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The biggest winner today was Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) soaring ~70% after rejecting a takeover offer from lithium giant Albemarle valuing the mine developer at $2.50/share.

Ablemarle, which has built a ~2.2% stake on-market in LTR, offered $2.35/share on March 3, 2023, and $2.20/share on October 20, 2022.

“In coming to its decision, the Liontown board noted the opportunistic timing of Albemarle’s indicative proposal, coinciding with recent softness in companies exposed to the lithium sector and the pre-production status of the Kathleen Valley project,” LTR said in an announcement.

And beers all round for United Malt Group (ASX:UMG) investors as the world’s fourth largest maltster and supplier of malt ingredients to beer and whisky companies, saw its share price soar today on news it has entered exclusive discussions with Malteries Soufflet over its $1.5 billion takeover bid.

The French malt giant is offering $5/share for UMG, first approaching the company in December 2022 with a $4.15 takeover bid, progressively upping the offer to today’s $5/share.

The bid represents 45.3% premium to the last closing price of UMP on the ASX of $3.44 on March 24 and a
48.6% premium to the 1-month volume weighted average price (VWAP) of $3.37 at close on the same date.

“United Malt Board unanimously determined that it is in the best interests of United Malt Shareholders as a whole for United Malt to engage with and provide due diligence access to Malteries Soufflet to assist it to provide a binding proposal in respect of the Potential Transaction to the United Malt Board,” the company said in an announcement.



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Code Name Price % Change Volume Market Cap
DBI Dalrymple Bay 2.68 -4% 1,834,598 $1,388,132,668
BGL Bellevue Gold Ltd 1.195 -4% 2,532,226 $1,405,776,910
XRO Xero Ltd 86.33 -3% 263,239 $13,367,887,877
PRU Perseus Mining Ltd 2.27 -3% 2,070,552 $3,186,189,053
TLX Telix Pharmaceutical 6.85 -3% 557,662 $2,230,818,301
ALX Atlas Arteria 6.31 -2% 2,786,216 $9,372,385,747
DTL Data#3 Limited 7.15 -2% 117,414 $1,130,120,035
WAF West African Res Ltd 0.965 -2% 1,038,322 $1,008,224,081
SLR Silver Lake Resource 1.0925 -2% 3,634,524 $1,036,664,931
DEG De Grey Mining 1.515 -2% 3,421,762 $2,412,002,884
CCP Credit Corp Group 15.81 -2% 255,793 $1,096,557,050
A2M The A2 Milk Company 5.84 -2% 1,238,695 $4,295,758,473
SNZ Summerset Grp Hldgs 8.14 -2% 260 $1,933,556,839
CMM Capricorn Metals 4.635 -2% 424,232 $1,773,578,586
AX1 Accent Group Ltd 2.23 -2% 704,307 $1,254,084,105
BKW Brickworks Limited 22.515 -2% 112,008 $3,487,925,962
EVN Evolution Mining Ltd 2.92 -2% 6,459,739 $5,449,998,467
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