Markets hit fresh record high

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 17 & 26 : 21-Feb-20

The Australian sharemarket has gained 7.2 per cent so far in 2020, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 reaching a new intra-day high of 7,197.2 points on 20 February. The rally saw a number of blue-chip stocks rise to new highs. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar fell to its lowest level in more than a decade in response to data showing that the unemployment rate rose to 5.3 per cent in January. This in turn heightened market expectations of an official interest rate cut by August.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Westpac warns of hit to bottom line

Original article by Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 20-Feb-20

Westpac has used a market update for the first quarter of 2019-20 to advise that its earnings for the financial year will be affected by factors such as the Austrac scandal, storms and the bushfires crisis. Citigroup has responded by downgrading its half-year earnings per share forecast by seven per cent, while its forecast for the full year has been reduced by five per cent. Westpac could face fines of up to $2bn for breaching anti-money laundering laws, while it is the subject of two class actions over the scandal.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Reserve Bank wary of risks from low rates

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 25 : 19-Feb-20

The minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s board meeting for February show that the central bank considered the potential downside risks of further easing monetary policy when it left interest rates on hold. The board also noted that the coronavirus outbreak presents a risk to the economic outlook for both China and Australia in the near-term. Most economists expect an official interest rate cut in April or May, and the futures market has fully priced in a rate cut by October.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Home loans lift on property recovery

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 20 : 17-Feb-20

A report from Deloitte notes that there was a seven per cent decline in new mortgage settlements in 2019. However, the latest edition of its Australian Mortgage Report shows that lenders and brokers expect a 2-3 per cent increase in mortgage settlements in 2020. Heather Baister of Deloitte says mid-tier lenders such as Macquarie and Citibank could benefit the most from the expected upturn in settlements.

CORPORATES
DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, CITIBANK PTY LTD

Rates to stay low ‘for decades’: RBA

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 19 & 29 : 14-Feb-20

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has conceded that the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have a near-term impact on the economy, although he does not expect the outlook for 2020 to be significantly affected. He adds that the Australian economy will benefit from stimulus measures in China when the virus is brought under control. Lowe has also warned that climate change has ‘profound’ economic implications for Australia, while he says official interest rates may remain low for a long time.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

NAB may delay MLC split after sound result

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 23 : 14-Feb-20

A trading update from National Australia Bank shows that it booked a cash profit of $1.65bn for the first quarter of its financial year. This is one per cent higher than the quarterly average for the second half of fiscal 2019. Revenue increased by less than one per cent for the quarter, while expenses were three per cent higher. Meanwhile, NAB has signalled that the proposed demerger of its MLC wealth management could be postponed due to the challenging business conditions at present.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, MLC LIMITED

CBA to grab bigger share of business

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 20 : 13-Feb-20

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has posted a 2019-20 interim cash profit of $4.47bn; this is 4.3 per cent lower than previously, although analysts had expected a larger decline. CEO Matt Comyn notes that CBA recorded growth in home lending, business lending and deposits during the half-year, and he has flagged plans to seek an even greater share of the business lending market. Comyn adds that CBA’s investment in digital banking has enabled it to build market share among younger customers; this is also a segment that it will target for further growth.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Westpac lifeline for virus-plagued customers

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 19 : 12-Feb-20

Westpac has revealed details of its support package for businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus. Amongst other things, it will allow business loan repayments to be deferred for up to three months, while businesses will also be able to extend their loans for up to three months. Westpac offered similar relief to bushfire victims. Businesses across the economy have been impacted by the virus outbreak, including tourism operators and fresh food exporters.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

When it comes to compensation payouts, NAB’s $204m leads the pack

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 19 : 12-Feb-20

Data from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission shows that National Australia Bank customers have now received $203.8m in compensation for poor financial advice and services that were not provided. The Commonwealth Bank in turn has paid out $174.2m, ahead of AMP ($167.2m), Westpac ($106.4m), the ANZ Bank ($95.6m) and Macquarie Group ($2.6m).

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

CBA under pressure to deliver perfect result

Original article by James Frost, James Thomson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 10-Feb-20

The consensus of analysts polled by Bloomberg is for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to post a 2019-20 interim cash profit of $4.34bn. This compares with $4.68bn for the first half of 2018-19. The bank’s share price has gained 10 per cent in the last three months, leaving the stock vulnerable to a pullback if investors are disappointed by the interim result. Most analysts do not expect CBA to announce a special dividend or a share buyback.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, BLOOMBERG LP