CLOSING BELL: The clash of deflationary and inflationary pressure both sucks and blows for investors
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Tuesdays… the one day of the week that prompts a visceral ugh from even the hardiest and cheeriest of souls, acceptable in theory when it’s Pancake Tuesday, and even then it’s gonna be stretching the friendship.
This morning started with a grunt and a bleary-eyed march into battle for the ASX, thanks to looming interest rate decisions from certain Central Banks in the coming days, and an unexpected tech stock sell off on Wall Street overnight.
The 0.2% gain the benchmark was holding when the whistle blew for lunchtime had been a hard-fought battle, as investors picked the eyes out of the morning’s quarterly announcements and started placing their bets.
About 2.30pm this afternoon, though, it all just got to be a bit too much. The market, after spending the lion’s share of its open hours today paddling forlornly in rising waters, gave up and sank beneath the waves.
By the time the bell rang at 4pm, the benchmark was at -0.067% and pretty much everyone (ie, me) was ready to call it a day.
The overall landscape hadn’t shifted a whole lot since our lunchtime wrap – Consumer Staples (+1.86%) and Health Care (+1.0%) were still doing all the heavy lifting in the wake of The Sandwiching Hour, with InfoTech (-1.44%) and Real Estate (-1.02%) trailing along and bickering over who has to lick the wooden spoon.
Beyond our borders, local markets were proving to be a tad mercurial today, with Japan’s Nikkei on track to finish lower by around 0.22%, but still ahead of Shanghai (-0.38%) and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, which is down 1.26% for the day.
From the newsroom today, the International Monetary Fund is making positive noises about The Global War on Inflation™ which, apparently, we’re all winning for reasons that many suspect are good luck, rather than good judgement.
But the planet’s War on Inflation and Russia’s War on Ukraine are still playing oversized roles in the economic outlook, according to the crack team of multi-ethnic bean counters at the IMF, who took to Twitter to say stuff like this:
The global fight against inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine continue to weigh on economic activity. The COVID-19 related lockdowns in China dampened growth in 2022, but the recent reopening has paved the way for a faster-than-expected recovery: https://t.co/4ifKc9qi4j #WEO pic.twitter.com/z795lxmujt
— IMF (@IMFNews) January 31, 2023
The IMF also said that it reckons that the global economy could slow down this year from about 3.4% in 2022, to 2.9% in 2023, leaving the entire planet slightly less inflated and a bit wrinkly, like it’s been sitting in the bath for too long.
Recession fears are still front and centre as well, with the IMF saying the world may still not escape a global recession, especially if the pandemic lingers in China and the war in Ukraine gets worse… two things that are, on balance, statistically a lot more likely than some folks would care to admit, or even acknowledge.
Meanwhile, Chief economist of Deutsche Bank, Phil O’Donaghoe, has told our Sydney-based stablemate that Australians will be hit with another four interest rate rises up until August to reach 4.1%.
O’Donaghoe reckons Australia’s central bank will hike up prices in February, March, May and August – presumably at 25 basis points a pop – to hit 4.1% and slug hard-working mums and dads an extra $300 a month on the ill-advised $500k mortgages they tipped into when interest rates were basically zero, making a house more affordable than a fancy pure-bred pedigree pandemic puppy.
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This morning’s big winner is still riding high at the pointy end of the winner’s list this afternoon – IntelliHR (ASX:IHR) has improved its position since lunchtime and is set to hear the Closing Bell ring some 70.6% higher after news that the company has entered into a scheme implementation deed and is steaming towards being acquired holus bolus by Humanforce Holdings.
The IHR board has unanimously backed the scheme, most likely because it is underpinned by a massively generous offer that implies an equity value of $38.6 million, an attractive premium for IHR shareholders of:
A latecomer to today’s winners, and almost as impressive, has been MoneyMe (ASX:MME), after the company announced a double-bingo of analyst expectation-beating statutory profits and record revenue for the quarter.
“Building from strong results in the first quarter, the momentum continued into the second quarter and has seen us upgrading our outlook on revenue and profit for the full year,” MoneyMe managing director Clayton Howes said.
“Our return to statutory profitability after a prolonged period of high growth is not only a result of a shift in near-term business strategy in response to the macro environment, it is also a continuation of our commitment to drive profitable growth and a testament to the quality and proficiency of our team,” he added.
When the bell rang this afternoon, MoneyMe was up 64.2% over this morning’s price at open.
And last on the list of Things We Need To Chat About, Cybersecurity Exchange platform provider Whitehawk (ASX:WHK) has stacked on a healthy 20.0% on solid volume this afternoon, in the wake of news that Fourth Quarter of CY22 was the second cash positive quarter for the company last year.
Whitehawk invoiced out more than US$3.6 million in 2022, bringing in collected revenue of US$858,000 in Q4 alone, leaving the company with a cash position of US$2.171M and no debt for the year.
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The ASX announcements board was tremendously busy today, with a veritable flood of quarterlies keeping everyone mildly amused, right up until we reached Critical Information Overload and our collective sanity made a well-timed run for the nearest beer garden.
But amongst all the profit and loss porn, there were a few small announcements worth mentioning here this arvo.
And that includes Enterprise Metals (ASX:ENT) revealing that 13 late-time conductors potentially indicative of bedrock sulphides, coincident with and along strike of historic Zn-Cu surface and drill hole geochemistry have been identified at its Murchison project.
Geophysical consultants Terra Resources and Value Adding Resources completed detailed reviews of Enterprise’s 2022 helicopter-borne Time Domain Electromagnetic (TEM) survey, which extended the conductive target zones beyond the surface gossans that were drill tested by the early explorers such as Esso, Eastmet and MetalsEx at the site.
ENT says there is still quite a lot to do at the project, including detailed ground inspections of the prospective VMS horizon “corridor” in the areas of the new AEM anomalies to assess surficial conditions, outcrop where evident and cover conditions.
It is expected that ground EM surveys will be required to accurately follow up prioritised AEM anomalies and thereby identify targets for drill testing.
Meanwhile, NT Minerals (ASX:NTM) is reporting receipt of final geochemical results for the 2022 soil sampling at its 100% owned Redbank Project, which have confirmed strong anomalism up to 1902 ppm copper-in-soil.
A total of 2,879 regional soil samples covering approximately 600km2 have been collected at the Redbank project in 2022, focussed on Calvert South including surrounding tenure. Both regional 500m-spaced surface soils, and 250m-spaced infill sampling over 2021 regional soil hotspots have been collected, the company says.
And last on the list for today, integrated e-health SaaS healthcare services delivery platform provider Jayex Technology (ASX:JTL) has brought news to the bourse that it has signed a binding term sheet with Shine Clinical for a new UK opportunity.
Provided all the due diligence boxes are ticked, Jayex and Shine are looking good to push ahead with a joint venture that will allow the companies to provide services to UK NHS customers in managing disease prevalence, ensuring patients get access to the appropriate treatments for their conditions, and enable UK pharmaceutical and medical device industry customers to achieve their market access strategies.
The UK Health analytics segment is “large and growing”, Jayex says, currently estimated today at about $180 million per annum, and the JV would see Jayex providing services to Shine’s 2,500+ UK GP clinic customers, and gain significant new non-NHS customers along the way.
Flight Centre Travel (ASX: FLT) – Capital raising comprising an institutional placement and a share purchase plan.
Security Matters (ASX:SMX) – Halt called pending an announcement in relation to the results of the Lionheart Shareholder meeting seeking to approve a merger.
Sprintex (ASX:SIX) – Capital raising.
Acumentis Group (ASX:ACU) – Capital raising.
AuTECO Minerals (ASX:AUT) – Capital raising.
Great Southern Mining (ASX:GSN) – Capital raising.
Hawsons Iron (ASX:HIO) – Capital raising.
Lode Resources (ASX:LDR) – Halt called pending the release of an announcement regarding the assay results from the drilling at its 100% owned Webbs Consol Silver project in NSW.
Carbon Revolution (ASX:CBR) – Halt called pending an announcement of CBR’s Appendix 4C and accompanying announcements in relation to a potential transaction with Twin Ridge Capital Acquisition.
Bounty Oil & Gas (ASX:BUY) – BUY intends to make an announcement in relation to PEP-11- Federal Court of Australia proceedings