China bans Australian coal from Dalian port, AUD falls; Maurice Blackburn to lead class action lawsuit against Westpac over alleged irresponsible lending practices; Cash Converters results don’t look positive for Australian consumer. Here’s what’s happening in markets today.

What I’m reading

No coal being shipped through Dalian ports

The AUD fell sharply yesterday after Reuters reported that shipments of Australian coal through the Dalian ports had been halted altogether – indefinitely. Though the port only processes 1.9% of Australian coal, reports say that Australian coal has seen processing times blow out from 25 days to 40 days at other Chinese ports. Other countries’ coal shipments are reportedly still being processed as normal.

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Landmark class action lawsuit against Westpac

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are leading a key class action case against Westpac alleging irresponsible lending, which could affect thousands of Australian home loans. The lead plaintiffs were issued five loans totalling $1.8m.

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Growing loans and bad debts at Cash Converters

Australia’s biggest pawnbroker and payday lender is doing record business while suffering from increased levels of bad loans. Lending volumes rose 12%, medium amount credit contracts were up 23.4%, and purchases of good from customers (pawn shop purchases) rose 9%. Meanwhile, bad debt charges more than doubled to $23m. This doesn’t paint a positive picture of the health of the Australian consumer.

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Stocks to watch

The following companies had reported results today at the time of writing:

  • URB Investments (URB)
  • Australian Finance Group (AFG)
  • Isentia (ISD)
  • MyState (MYS)
  • Platinum Asset Management (PTM)
  • Capral Aluminium (CAA)
  • Skyfii (SKF)
  • Huon Aquaculture (HUO)
  • Hansen Technologies (HSN)
  • NetComm Wireless (NTC)
  • Australian Ethical (AEF)
  • Qantm Intellectual Property (QIP)
  • Q Technology Group (QTG)
  • Legend Corporation (LGD)
  • Ellex Medical Lasers (ELX)
  • Invocare (IVC)
  • Synertec Corporation (SOP)
  • Mayne Pharma Group (MYX)
  • Regis Healthcare (REG)
  • Genworth Mortgage Insurance (GMA)
  • BWX Limited (BWX)
  • Vita Group (VTG)
  • Charter Hall Group (CHC)
  • iCar Asia (ICQ)
  • Matrix Composites & Engineering (MCE)
  • Laserbond (LBL)
  • Cargo (ECG)
  • IMF Bentham (IMF)
  • Automotive Holdings Group (AHG)
  • Orbital Corporation (OEC)
  • Pinnacle (PNI)
  • Summerset Group Holdings (SNZ)
  • Auckland Airport (AIA)

Key market data

  • ASX Futures: 6,094.5 (-0.16%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7096 (-0.94%)
  • ASX200: 6,139.20 (+0.70%)
  • S&P 500: 2,774.88 (-0.35%)
  • China A50: 11,832.19 (-0.54%)
  • Australia 2-yr bond: 1.726 (-1.09%)
  • Australia 10-yr bond: 2.091 (-0.48%)
  • US 2-yr bond: 2.531 (+1.15%)
  • US 10-yr bond: 2.695 (+1.77%)
  • Gold (USD/oz): 1,326.05 (-1.62%)
  • Copper (USD/lb): 2.900 (-0.68%)
  • Brent Oil (USD/bbl): 66.98 (-0.15%)
  • 62% Iron Ore (USD/t): 86.45 (-1.03%)

Upcoming releases and events

  • German GDP for Q4 is released today at 6pm AEST
  • Euro area CPI for January is released today at 9pm AEST
  • Monday and Tuesday next look fairly quiet, with no major data scheduled for release.

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