Iron ore broke support at 90, falling sharply to $83.55/ton. Expect a decline to test the long-term target at 65.
ASX 300 Metals & Mining index rallied slightly but another test of support at 4100 is likely — the neckline of a large head-and-shoulders reversal pattern. Declining peaks on the Trend Index warn of selling pressure. Completion of the head-and-shoulders reversal would offer a target of 3400.
Residential mortgage activity is recovering in response to recent rate cuts but banks are under pressure, with lower interest margins, lower fee income and high remediation costs from malpractices exposed by the Royal Commission.
ANZ reported a flat full-year profit at $6.4 billion but revealed margin and retail fee pressure:
“The halving of the Reserve Bank’s cash rate during the year was the major factor in a 12 basis point compression of ANZ’s net interest margin to about 1.72 per cent. The net interest margin is the difference between the bank’s funding costs and what it charges for loans, and it’s as low as it has ever been – in the mid-1990s the margin was about 4 per cent – with no reason to believe the pressure on margins will abate.” [Stephen Bartholomeusz]
ASX 200 Financials index met resistance at 6500. Declining peaks on the Trend Index now indicate selling pressure. Expect a test of primary support at 6000; breach would offer a target of 5300.
REITs recovered slightly from their recent sell-off but the descending triangle is bearish. A lower Trend Index peak would strengthen the bear signal. Breach of support at 1600 would offer a short-term target of 1500.
The ASX 200 continues to give mixed signals. An ascending triangle on the index chart is bullish, but declining peaks on the Trend Index warn of selling pressure. Breakout above 6800 would signal another advance, while breach of support at 6400 would warn of a decline with a target of 5400. The two biggest sectors, Financials and Mining, are likely to lead the way.
We maintain low exposure to Australian equities, with a focus on defensive and contra-cyclical stocks, because of our bearish outlook.