China flags iron ore concerns

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ASX 200 falls 0.4%, China flags iron ore concerns, Vicinity (ASX:VCX) confirms dividend

A weak global lead pushed the ASX200 (ASX:XJO) down 0.4% today, with the China Iron and Steel Association flagging concerns about the ballooning iron ore price at the same time that maintenance hit export volumes in November.

BHP (ASX:BHP) and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) bore the brunt down 2.3% and 3.1% respectively. 

Yet the outlook for demand remains strong after China’s industrial production was confirmed to have grown 7% in November, with retail sales also recovering, up 5%.

For comparison, Australian retail sales increased by just 1.4% in October, proving the sheer scale of demand in China.

News that the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) had released the restrictions placed on the major banks to retain 50% of their earnings wasn’t enough to spur gains in the sector, with the Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) falling 1.0%.

This came as the RBA’s minutes were released highlighting ‘reasonable momentum’ in the economy but flagging concerns that wage growth and hours worked remain under expectations, despite an improving unemployment rate.

Dividend recovery, Wilson goes after Amaysim (ASX:AYS), Federal Court proceeding for Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG)
Shopping centre owner Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) confirmed the payment of a 3.4 cent per share distribution for the six months ending in December.

If annualised, it represents a yield of over 4% but importantly offers an insight into management’s confidence in their rent collection and upcoming lease renewals; shares fell 1.2%. 

Geoff Wilson of Wilson Asset Management (WAM) has changed his tack, bidding 69.5 cents per share for telecommunications on seller Amaysim (ASX:AYS). Shareholders can accept one WAM Capital (ASX:WAM) share for every 2.7 AYS shares or take the cash. 

A difficult decision awaits, with the higher price needed to be adjusted for the fact that WAM shares trade at a premium to their underlying assets; AYS and WAM finished 2.7% and 0.9% higher respectively.

The ACCC today lodged an action in the Federal Court against Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) alleging the sale or licensing of some 42 loss-making stores may have involved ‘unconscionable conduct’.

Finishing the day of regulation, the ACCC flagged concerns about Woolworth’s (ASX:WOW) proposed acquisition of refrigerated food distribution business PFD Food Services, on the basis that it increases already significant bargaining power.

US markets break losing streak, another vaccine approved, China dominating IPOs
US sharemarkets broke the longest losing streak since September, with the S&P500 improving 1.3% and the Nasdaq 1.1% overnight; the ASX200 should follow both higher. 

The rally came amid more certainty around a US stimulus package and the FDA now likely to give its approval for a second Coronavirus vaccine produced by Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA).

Now the hard part comes in rolling the vaccine out across the country which is expected to take at least all of 2021; shares finished 5% lower.

Chinese tech giant rallied Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) rallied by 11.1% after announcing their intention to use their huge technology investment to make their own autonomous electric cars. 

In what has been an incredible year for IPOs around the world, Bloomberg reports that some 37% of all capital raised in IPOs has been by Chinese, rather than US companies, which gives insight into the powerful recovery in the region.

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