Is the passing of the baton finally happening in front of our eyes?
There’s long been speculation that the big banks’ golden run is coming to an end and that it is the unloved large miners’ turn to be in the spotlight.
That will certainly be the case again today as higher commodity prices will see our listed miners outperform.
In contrast, our big banks – Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ), Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) – are likely to come under some pressure after financial system inquiry chairman David Murray warned that the Australian government could lose its coveted “AAA” credit rating and that would impact on the big four.
Traders do not think that is enough to offset another positive day for our market with the futures market pricing in a 0.2% rise in the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) thanks to the miners.
There is a very real chance that the top 200 stock benchmark will recapture its seven-year high of 6,000 points today.
Iron ore registered its fourth consecutive day of gains as the Metal Bulletin reported a 2.2% increase in the steel making ingredient to $US59.09 a tonne – its highest since March 6.
Copper and gold also registered gains and that will see the likes of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO), Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG), Independence Group NL (ASX: IGO) and Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) extend yesterday’s gains.
However, BHP’s tax fight with the Australian Tax Office could weigh on the stock. The big miner is challenging a $522 million tax dispute, and while that doesn’t seem like a very big deal to a Goliath that is forecast to deliver $9.6 billion in net profit for the current financial year, it would still sting.
Packaging products company Pact Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: PGH) is also likely to enjoy buying support today after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to “outperform” from “neutral”.
Takeover target iiNet Limited (ASX: IIN) was lifted to “neutral” from “underweight” by JPMorgan, while gold, tin and nickel miner Metals X Limited (ASX: MLX) was upgraded by Canaccord Genuity to “buy” versus “hold”.
On the flipside, fuel supplier Caltex Australia Limited (ASX: CTX) has been cut to “sell” from “hold” by Morningstar after the stock rallied over 16% over the past six months.
Mining services company Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX: MND) and insurer Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN) were also unceremoniously dumped to a “sell” equivalent rating by analysts from CCZ Statton and Commonwealth Bank, respectively.
On the reporting front, UK fund manager Henderson Group plc (ASX: HGG) and oil & gas stock Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT) will hand in their quarterly reports today.