ASX extends winning streak, led by iron ore miners & banks: Aus shares close 1.02% higher

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

The Australian share market continued its winning streak for the fifth day, gaining 1 per cent to close at a 13-month high of 6,999. All sectors closed in the black. Miners performed strongly, with the likes of iron ore heavyweights BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) adding 2.1 to 2.6 per cent. The big four banks rallied, with Westpac (ASX:WBC) hitting a 52-week intra-session high, before closing 1.3 per cent higher at $25.16. National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) added 0.7 to 1.05 per cent. EML payments (ASX:EML) is the best-performing stock, rising 5.7 per cent following the company's announcement yesterday that it is set to acquire 100 per cent of Sentenial Limited, including Nuapay in Europe, an open banking product. The worst-performing stock is Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG), which shed 3.13 per cent following its update concerning the Syama gold mine in Mali. Investors took a day off from local economic news.

Broker moves

Morgan Stanley has slashed the price target for Afterpay (ASX:APT) by 6.3 per cent to $149. This is the second reduction to the broker’s valuation of Afterpay, and is in response to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)’s plan to enter the buy now, pay later market. The banking heavyweight’s payment-in-installments service is expected to rival Afterpay’s average merchant fees, costing as little as CBA card transaction fees. Shares in Afterpay (ASX:APT) closed 1.1 per cent higher at $119.85.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 87 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 22 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 124 points.
ASX200 futures are eyeing a 69 point rise for tomorrow morning.

Company News

Diversified media and information company News Corp (ASX:NWS) is to raise US$750 million ($985 million) through a private debt offering in senior notes to be due in 2029. The company will use the funds for general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions and working capital.

Biotechnology company Immutep (ASX:IMM) has received a fast-track approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead product ‘efti’. The fast track designation will accelerate the approval of Efti which treats head and neck cancers.

Engineering solutions provider Worley (ASX:WOR) has inked a deal with US Energy producer Phillips 66 to reconfigure a San Francisco refinery into a renewable fuels-manufacturing facility.

Nickel producer Western Areas (ASX:WSA) has reported a 20 per cent increase in nickel production from the previous quarter.

Tesla’s lithium supplier Piedmont (ASX:PLL) has bumped up the company’s estimate of mineral deposits at the North Carolina mining site. The company is now contracted with innovator giant Tesla for 5 years of lithium supply.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken legal action against Westpac (ASX:WBC) on the sale of consumer credit insurance to 384 customers without their informed consent which occurred during 7 April 2015 – 28 July 2015.

Investment firm Roc Partners has stepped up its bidding game for agricultural real estate manager Vitalharvest (ASX:VTH).

Owner and manager of Westfield shopping centres Scentre (ASX:SCG) told investors at its AGM that the Group’s recovery over the second half of 2020 has continued into the first quarter of 2021. Shareholders lodged a ‘first strike’ with 51 per cent voting against adoption of the remuneration report for Chief Executive Officer Peter Allen and Chief Financial Officer Elliott Rusanow. However, investors approved the issue of performance rights to Mr Allen. Re-elected to the board were Guy Russo, Margaret Seale and Carolyn Kay.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Materials, adding 1.8 per cent, while the sector with the fewest gains was Utilities, adding 0.04 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was EML Payments (ASX:EML), rising 5.7 per cent to close at $5.73. Shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Deterra (ASX:DRR) followed.

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG), shedding 3.1 per cent to close at $0.47. Shares in Brickworks (ASX:BKW) and HUB24 (ASX:HUB) followed.

Asian markets

Mixed. Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.03 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,744 an ounce.
The iron ore price is 1.6 per cent higher to US$173.63 a ton.
Its futures are pointing to a rise of 0.3 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.48 lower at US$57.65 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.36 US cents. 

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