Appen all-time high, Afterpay soars, US China deal nears: Aus shares close 0.3% higher,

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a positive start for the trading week, with the ASX200 gaining 0.3 per cent on Monday, with about dozen companies reporting results today but it was the buy now pay later company, Afterpay (ASX:APT) that stole the limelight, trading near its all-time highs or where it last traded on 28 August 2018, while its competitor, Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) followed (but didn't see a stellar rally like APT) after a favourable inquiry into the buy-now, pay later sector was handed down.

The smaller tech sector led today, gaining over 3 per cent, with Healthcare, Materials and Staples following.

Turning overseas, we also had positive news with Trump saying he will delay additional China tariffs that were set to begin on 1 March. It comes as Trump tweeted the US has made ‘substantial progress in its trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues’.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 19 points higher, or 0.3 per cent higher, to finish at 6,186. A new four-month high.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 82 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 25 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 13 point rise tomorrow morning

Company news 

Disinfection technology company, Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) reported a 221 per cent lift in its attributable net profit after tax for the half year to 31 December 2018, with its headline result hitting $7.1 million. Its guidance for FY19 has not changed materially from what the company provided at the beginning of the year. However, from FY20 it will see bolstered sales and margins from consumables and North America on the back of change to its GE Healthcare distribution agreement. Its revenue from ordinary activities grew 36 per cent over the half year to $40.7 million. Shares in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) closed 12.4 per cent higher at $4.08.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence company, Appen (ASX:APX) reported a 192 per cent jump in its attributable profit for the year ending 31 December 2018 to $41.7 million, while its revenues (from ordinary activities) grew 119 per cent over the period to $364.3 million. Citi expected Appen's profit would be $38.3 million, so it clearly beat expectations. It declared an interim dividend of 4 cent per share, fully franked. Shares in Appen (ASX:APX) closed 21.7 per cent higher, year-on-year its shares have gained 112 per cent.

Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) has advised there is not likely to be a material impact on its business or its business model from the Inquiry into the buy now pay later sector. However, the Senate Economics References Committee highlighted the need for a separate regulatory framework outside of the traditional credit model. The committee recommends the government consider, in consultation with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), that the regulation allow for consumers’ personal financial situations to considered before they are given credit. Afterpay also advised it has an industry leading default rate, of under 1.5 per cent. Year-on-year its shares have gained over 175 per cent. Afterpay is due to release its results tomorrow.

Silex Systems (ASX:SLX) has announced its half-year net loss from ordinary activities of $1.8 million. The company has reduced its loss by $3.7 million compared to the previous corresponding period, largely on the back of a $3.9 million drop in expenses.

Monash IVF (ASX:MVF) reaffirmed its FY19 guidance to return to full-year net profit growth excluding a one-off non-recurring item. Monash IVF has announced its net profit fell 11.3 per cent to $10.7 million in the half financial year 2019, with revenue rising 0.3 per cent to $77.2 million and earnings (EBITDA) falling 7 per cent to $19.3 million.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Health Care adding 1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Telco Services, shedding 0.8 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Appen (ASX:APX), rising 21.7 per cent to close at $22.90. Shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was G8 Education (ASX:GEM), dropping 11 per cent to close at $3.23. Shares in Ooh!Media (ASX:OML) and LendLease Group (ASX:LLC) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 4.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,331 an ounce.
Iron ore last traded at US$86.65.
Iron ore futures are eyeing a rise of 0.24 per cent.
Light crude is $0.30 up at US$57.26 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.49 US cents.
 

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 after having worked in financial advising for seven years and in TV journalism for seven years, specialising in finance, equities and analysis. She has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Australia, Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and ex Treasurer Jo Hockey. Jessica has worked as a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business, ABC24 and has also been a regional Channel 7 and 9 TV reporter with Prime7 and Win News.