Pendal soars 8%, Consumer Discretionary rises: ASX closes 0.3% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket stayed in positive territory in the afternoon session after a choppy morning, thanks to a rise in the consumer discretionary and energy sectors while miners weighed heavily on the local bourse. The consumer staples and technology sectors also helped the ASX lift. 

The consumer discretionary sector continued to rise from 1.3 per cent at midday to close 2.2 per cent higher as the best performer. Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) closed 3 per cent higher as the conglomerate giant expects to deliver a net profit of between $1.18 billion and $1.24 billion for the six months ending December 31, in line with consensus expectations. However, the owner of Bunnings, Kmart and Target said that retail trading conditions deteriorated in the last two weeks of 2021 and flagged that customer traffic to stores had remained subdued during the first half of January.

Travel stocks also helped push the consumer discretionary sector higher with Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) and Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) closing 4 and 1.7 per cent higher respectively amid New South Wales reporting 29,504 new Covid-19 cases, down from 34,660 cases the previous day. Victoria also saw a drop in cases while Queensland recorded seven deaths and 15,122 new cases on what is the state's deadliest day of the pandemic so far.

Supported by a rise in oil prices, the energy sector continued to power up as the second-best performer. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) advanced 3.9 per cent, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) added 1.7 per cent and Santos (ASX:STO) closed 1 per cent higher.

The best performing stock was Pendal (ASX:PDL) soaring 8 per cent at $5.39 on news of James Evans retiring as chairman and appointing Deborah Page as chairwoman. The moves come after a fall in funds under management last week which saw their share price nose dive 15.8 per cent on Friday.

Elsewhere, MA Financial (ASX:MAF) formerly Moelis Australia, upgraded its earnings on positive asset revaluations for some of Redcape Hotel Group’s assets. Shares also closed 8 per cent higher at $9.54.

Heavyweight miners weighed as Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 2.8 per cent lower, BHP (ASX:BHP) was down 1.1 per cent and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.5 per cent lower .

Onto gold stocks, Northern Star (ASX:NST) fell 2.2 per cent, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) declined 2 per cent and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closed 1.2 per cent lower.

Major banks finished higher led by ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) closing 1.2 per cent higher, Macquarie Bank (ASX:MQG) lifted 0.4 per cent, Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) was up 0.3 per cent, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) closed 0.2 per cent higher and Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.09 per cent higher.

US markets are closed for the Martin Luther King Junior holiday.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent or 23 points higher at 7,417.

Company news

Praemium (ASX:PPS) is celebrating its second highest number of net inflows in the December quarter. The financial provider reported outstanding momentum which saw funds under administration grow, and the divestment of its international business continue. Shares closed 4.2 per cent higher at $1.38.

South32 (ASX:S32) is one step closer to developing its Hermosa project in Arizona, USA after a pre-feasibility study. The results from the study said it could be the start of a multi-decade operation, producing low-carbon metals. Shares are trading 2.4 per cent lower at $4.08. Shares closed 3.1 per cent lower at $4.05. 

Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) has acquired six industrial assets across Australia’s eastern seaboard with a combined value of $132.4 million. Shares closed 0.3 per cent higher at $3.91.

Adbri’s (ASX:ABC) Cockburn Cement business has extended its supply agreement with Aloca for another year from this month. Shares closed 7.2 per cent higher at $2.99. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 53 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 11 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 67 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 23 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Consumer Discretionary, up 2.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Materials, down almost 1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pendal Group (ASX:PDL), closing 7.8 per cent higher at $5.39. It was followed by shares in Adbri (ASX:ABC) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU), closing 5.1 per cent lower at $1.50. It was followed by shares in Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) and Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.7 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.7 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1819.15 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.9 per cent lower at US$126.75 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 2.3 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.25 higher at US$83.55 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.07 US cents.
 

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