ASB Securities Morning Brief for Saturday, 21 March 2015
Saturday, 21 March 2015

New Zealand Headlines

New Zealand Market Report: New Zealand shares rose, paced by Property For Industry, Kiwi Property Group and Goodman Property Trust as investor appetite for yield returned. Pacific Edge led the benchmark index higher after it secured further patents. The NZX 50 Index rose 11.972 points, or 0.2 points, to 5871.376. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 21 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $431 million, of which Spark New Zealand made up $128 million while Fletcher Building had $60 million worth of shares change hands... Read more

The New Zealand dollar is headed for a 1.5 percent weekly gain against the greenback after the Federal Reserve gave a more cautious assessment of the US economy, prompting traders to pull back their bets that the US dollar would gain. The kiwi rose to 74.31 US cents at 5pm from 73.64 cents at 8am on Monday. A BusinessDesk survey of currency traders and strategists on Monday picked the kiwi to trade between 71.30 US cents and 75.20 cents this week. Six expected the kiwi to decline, while two said it could rise and three bet it would remain broadly unchanged. The trade-weighted index advanced to 78.21 from 77.95 on Monday... Read more

NZ consumer confidence edges up in March, boding well for economic growth... Read more

New Zealand and Vietnam aim to double two way goods and service trade to about $2.2 billion by 2020.... Read more

NZ too low on value chain: Bollard. Alan Bollard says country misses vital returns by just upping primary production.... Read more

New Zealand's migration hit a new record in the year through February, driven by more arrivals and fewer departures. The country had a net gain of 55,100 migrants in the year through February, almost double the 29,000 gain in the year earlier period, Statistics New Zealand said. Migrant arrivals rose 16 per cent to a record 112,600, while departures fell 15 per cent to 57,500, the lowest level of departures since 56,700 in the November 2003 year, the agency said... Read more

Auckland’s landlord friendly market situation to continue... Read more

The Government could easily lower the threshold for collecting GST on overseas online shopping but it would be appallingly difficult to implement, says a tax expert. Prime Minister John Key this week sparked debate when he said the growth of online shopping was affecting the Government's tax take and warned that people could expect to start paying tax on online purchases as small as song downloads... Read more

NZ farming's massive debt levels under scrutiny... Read more

Salt Asset Management says has capacity to take on more clients, despite receiving a big boost to its funds under management from AMP yesterday... Read more

AMP successful in obtaining DIMS licence from FMA... Read more

Pumpkin Patch shares rallied to a four-month high yesterday after the embattled children's clothing retailer signalled that it could become a takeover target. The Auckland-based company said unnamed "third parties" had expressed an interest in the business and its board was seeking formal proposals around either an acquisition or re-capitalisation.... Read more

Dunedin's Delta Utility Services, owed millions on infrastructure work it did on a Christchurch subdivision at Yaldhurst, hopes some of the debt will be repaid... Read more

News Corp lifts stake in APN to 14.99% from 4.9%... Read more

Warehouse says 63% of permanent staff now on 'career retailer wage' that would be template for other industries... Read more

Warehouse opens training centre in push to boost retail as career choice... Read more

Ballys plots new retail strategy. Christchurch's venerable department store Ballantynes is rethinking its game plan to be ready for the new CBD retail precinct starting to take shape.... Read more

Today fast growing IT firm Canterbury Business Solutions, specialists in custom software development, SharePoint technology, and business intelligence, becomes Stratos Technology Partners... Read more

The combination of Chinese New Year and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has boosted tourist arrivals to record levels in February. Arrivals were up 14% to 343,500 compared with the comparable month last year... Read more

Secret legal advice says council buckling on port reclamation rules not necessary... Read more

Villa Maria’s founder thrilled to beat world-famous names to be voted 4th most admired wine brand.... Read more

Wealthy Christchurch businessman Ben Gough was back in court this week fighting to keep his position as a director of the family firm in a power struggle with the other side of the family. Gough was appealing in the Appeal Court in Wellington a decision last year by the High Court that could result in him losing his position at the board table of the large heavy industrial machinery firm which has about 900 staff... Read more

A major financier has repossessed equipment from the owner of forestry business HarvestPro New Zealand. An official from GE Finance and Insurance in Auckland said equipment located in Auckland, Gisborne and Northland was repossessed from the company KFI Asset Management. Frederika Wall, GE Finance and Insurance spokeswoman confirmed the action which she said took place last week... Read more

Opinion - Pattrick Smellie: Peeling the Indian apple... Read more

Opinion - Lance Wiggs: Air New Zealand challenges loyal customers to move elsewhere... Read more

Opinion - Brian Gaynor: Confidence helping our economy power ahead... Read more

Australian Headlines

Australian Market Report: The Australian sharemarket has hit a fresh seven-year high, extending the strongest rally this year as investors anticipate another Reserve Bank interest rate cut. At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had gained 24.7 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 5,975.5, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 23.8 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 5,936.3... Read more

The Australian dollar is weaker against the greenback despite a sell off of the US dollar late on Friday. At 1700 AEDT on Friday, the Australian dollar was worth 76.85 US cents, down from 77.30 US cents, on Thursday.... Read more

CBA has lowered its A$ forecasts to reflect expectations of a “higher and longer” $US peak. End 2015 forecast revised to $US0.70 vs $US0.77. Mid 2016 forecast revised to $US0.72 vs $US0.80... Read more

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens says the tumbling Australian dollar may still fall further. “The exchange rate is adjusting, possibly a little bit belatedly compared to what I thought at one stage likely,” Mr Stevens told an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia luncheon in Melbourne... Read more

The Australian Tax Office will kill off its first experiment with online tax return lodgements, e-Tax, next year in favour of the more modern myTax service... Read more

Treasurer Joe Hockey says he wants to deliver income tax cuts within six years, but it will depend on finding more budget savings. Speaking at the Tax Institute's national conference on the Gold Coast on Friday, Mr Hockey said the government's tax white paper would be released on March 30... Read more

Indonesian trade officials have been given the green light to pursue trade agreements to improve and increase investment in the country, a signal that could be good for Australian business. The director general of international trade Bachrul Chairi told the ABC that officials will look at all positions over the next two months and make arrangements so that trade negotiations can resume... Read more

Australia signals approval of China-based AIIB; Japan divided. Australia said on Friday there was a lot of merit in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) while Japan's finance minister signalled cautious approval of the institution that the United States has warned against... Read more

APRA warns of housing market risk. The head of the banking regulator says the current state of the housing market poses a possible risk to the economy, even if it isn't in a bubble. With house prices rising much more quickly than incomes, and household debt still high, the property market could pose a risk to the economy, Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority chairman Wayne Byres said... Read more

Australia's banking regulator says its new 10 per cent limit on annual growth in property investor loans is a trigger, not a cap. Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) chairman Wayne Byres made the statement while answering questions before a federal parliamentary committee on Friday... Read more

It has been years since Australian gold miners have had the odds in their favour, but their fortunes are starting to change. Business commentator Tim Treadgold said the turnaround was being driven by the combination of a rising US gold price and a lowering Australian dollar... Read more

Woodside Petroleum has restarted its massive Pluto liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant after a drifting oil rig came within five hundred metres of critical gas lines. The energy giant halted production at Pluto in north Western Australia after the Atwood Osprey semi-submersible drilling rig was knocked loose during Cyclone Olwyn on Thursday last week... Read more

Trinidad focussed Range Resources revealed a 23% increase in production during February, to an average of 645 barrels per day... Read more

Gina Rinehart is pulling out all the stops to get her $13 billion Roy Hill project finished within six months, but experts are questioning the timing. Roy Hill will ramp up production later this year while the world's biggest iron ore producers continue to increase supply, contributing to a slump in the iron ore price, which has hit a fresh six-year low of US$54.50 per tonne... Read more

Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association calls for mandatory land access agreements between cattlemen and miners... Read more

Santos stunned by NSW Labor threat to $2b coal seam gas project... Read more

Worse-than-expected earnings by Myer have prompted analysts to cut their price targets, with some even raising the possibility of a capital raising by the department store group, given the pressure on its balance sheet. Myer shares were trading at $1.36, down 1 per cent at 11am (AEDT).... Read more

Shares in APN News & Media have jumped by around six per cent after they resumed trading following a halt that saw News Corp snap up a major stake in the smaller publisher and broadcaster... Read more

James Packer’s Crown Resorts has increased the size of its latest notes offer to $600 million on the back of strong support from brokers and institutional investors in Australia and Asia. Earlier this week, the casino group announced it would tap the local financial market for around $400m through a new subordinated notes offer... Read more

Latitude Consolidatedis preparing to outline details of a significant technology business acquisition. The ASX has granted the company a trading halt, with its shares placed in pre-open... Read more

Radio Rentals made $90 million from Centrelink payments last year... Read more

National Australia Bank has raised $205 million in the United States markets to finance a South Australian wind farm. The bank said the deal was the first time an Australian renewable energy asset has been financed in US Private Placement market. The deal will fund a 71.4 megawatt farm with 34 turbines in South Australia’s Hallett Hill which is estimated to generate 262 gigawatt hours of electricity... Read more

Oceania Capital Partners completes acquisition of security screen supplier Crimsafe... Read more

Brisbane-based Invion aims to help smokers quit, but first it’s making a massive cut-price offer to get $5 million in cash. The fundraising from Invion is the latest effort from biotechnology companies to get fresh investor capital in the speculative sector... Read more

ASIC chief Greg Medcraft highlights 'mischief' and 'abuse' in reporting of misconduct... Read more

The Queensland Government is holding talks with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over criticism of its proposal to merge major power generators. ACCC chairman Rod Sims has written to Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey saying he was concerned the plan to merge CS Energy and Stanwell would drive up electricity costs... Read more

NAB's dream-destroying 'Death Star' that is Clydesdale Bank. NAB's British banking operations have left a trail of despair as treacherous loan agreements hid dangers from small business owners and cost them... Read more

Opinion - Victoria Thieberger: Lift-off signals turbulence ahead. The wild swings in financial markets over the past two days are a clear indication of the increased risks that face stocks, bonds and every financial instrument this year as the Federal Reserve lays the groundwork to begin unwinding eight years of massive stimulus... Read more

Opinion - Alan Kohler: Super would deliver better returns by investing in infrastructure.... Read more

International Headlines

U.S. Market Report: U.S. stocks rose on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track to snap a three-week streak of losses, following upbeat results from Nike, further gains in biotechs and a pullback in the dollar. Recent sharp gains in the U.S. dollar had increased worries about the currency's impact on the earnings of U.S. multinationals. S&P 500 earnings projections for the quarter and for 2015 have fallen sharply since Jan. 1... Read more

North/South Americas Market Report: North and South American markets are mixed today. The Bovespa is up 2.35% while the S&P 500 gains 1.05%. The IPC is off 0.77%... Read more

European Market Report: European markets finished broadly higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 1.18% while France's CAC 40 is up 1.00% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.86%... Read more

Asian Market Report: Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.98% and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.43%. The Hang Seng lost 0.33%... Read more

Oil prices jumped on Friday, with U.S. crude up about 4 percent, after the dollar fell on interest-rate uncertainty, lifting demand for dollar-denominated commodities from holders of other currencies... Read more

U.S. sets first major fracking rules on federal lands... Read more

Top oil companies raise more debt than ever in 2015... Read more

As the spring season begins, forecasts for natural gas have already bloomed, with some analysts expecting to see $4 prices for the fuel this year — and even higher prices in the years to come. That $4 price would equal a jump of more than 40% from current levels. April natural gas on Friday settled at $2.786 per million British thermal units. Prices for the fuel scored a climb of more than 2% for the week, but have still lost roughly 3.8% year to date... Read more

Diamond jewelery sales will keep growing but at a more modest pace, De Beers predicts, blaming a slowdown that started late last year on changing Christmas shopping trends and protest in Hong Kong... Read more

U.S. regulators need to step up monitoring of shadow banks as part of their effort to build a more stable financial system, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said on Friday... Read more

Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said on Friday he expects the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates at either its June, July or September policy meetings, barring a significant downturn in the U.S. economy... Read more

It's gotta be the shoes! Nike stock was doing one of its trademark swooshes Friday, surging higher even though the company said the stronger dollar will hurt its future sales growth. Nike shares rose nearly 5% to a new all-time high. The company reported earnings that topped forecasts... Read more

Stop bullying Yelp, analysts say... Read more

Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co's quarterly sales fell for the first time in five years and are expected to decline further in the current quarter, hurt by the strong dollar. Shares of the No. 1 U.S. jeweler fell 3 percent before the bell on Friday.... Read more

The music streaming and downloading market has surpassed physical CD sales for the first time ever, and that is music to the ears of technology companies Rhapsody, Apple, Spotify and Pandora Media... Read more

Simon Property Group Inc, the No.1 U.S. mall owner, made what it said was its "best and final offer" for Macerich Co three days after its smaller rival rejected its initial proposal and adopted a poison pill takeover defense... Read more

Amazon gets FAA approval to test drones... Read more

Merkel sets strict terms for Greek aid, Juncker flags EU cash... Read more

Britain will soon introduce a so-called diverted profits tax aimed at multinationals such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon that move earnings around the globe to minimise tax liabilities. Part of Britain's pre-election budget 2015, new legislation that includes penalties and the threat of criminal prosecution will be introduced after public outrage over revelations of complex tax avoidance arrangements by multinationals, aided by large banks such as HSBC... Read more

Asia-focused banks Standard Chartered and HSBC could be tempted to abandon their London headquarters to avoid a jump in the UK bank tax set to cost them a combined $2 billion a year, investors and analysts said. Investors in both banks, but particularly Standard Chartered, have in the past encouraged their boards to consider leaving Britain, and this week's jump in the UK bank levy is building pressure... Read more

Switzerland's Holcim and France's Lafarge have agreed new terms for their plan to create the world's top cement firm, giving unhappy shareholders in the Swiss firm a better deal but leaving a key leadership question unanswered... Read more

TSB - the bank formerly owned by Lloyds - has agreed to a £1.7bn takeover by Spanish bank Sabadell. The takeover of the UK bank comes less than a year after it rejoined the stock market when Lloyds Banking Group sold off 50% of the business. Sabadell's 340p a share offer is 4% above TSB's Thursday's close... Read more

Spain's Banco Sabadell could look to expand further in Britain after agreeing a 1.7 billion pound ($2.5 billion) takeover of TSB, one of the biggest cross-border banking deals since the financial crisis of 2007-09. Sabadell, Spain's fifth-biggest bank, said it planned to grow TSB into a significant challenger to Britain's "Big Four" lenders -- Barclays, HSBA.L, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, from which TSB was spun off last year... Read more

OAO Sberbank Chief Executive Officer Herman Gref said the worst is yet to come for Russia’s banking industry still reeling from last year’s collapse of the ruble and the economic slump. Russia’s banking sector has not yet surpassed “the peak of its problems,” Gref, who runs the country’s largest lender, told reporters in Moscow on Friday. “They are still ahead.”... Read more

Russia's Putin calls for regional currency union... Read more

Iraq asking Lukoil to limit work on new projects in 2015... Read more

Jaguar Land Rover is recalling more than 36,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in China after state television aired complaints over its gearboxes. The recall affects its Range Rover Evoque SUVs and the carmaker will extend the warranty period for the affected vehicles' gearboxes... Read more

Hong Kong property boom poised to end as Fed preps for rate hike... Read more

India Is Still Struggling to Unravel the Country’s Messy Tax Tangle... Read more

India’s largest web-based taxi-booking service, Ola, was told by taxi regulators in Bangalore that its new pricing feature — “peak hour surcharge,” where prices rise or fall based on demand — is illegal... Read more

Opinion: Darrell Delamaide: Greece ready to play the Russian card... Read more

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