ASX bounces back: Aus shares closes 0.8% higher

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

Text-only (non-video) article.

The Australian share market closed 0.8 per cent higher to end the session shy of its 14-month high. Improvements were seen across the board with the outliers being Utilities closing flat and Energy shares in the red. Gold prices hovered near an eight-week high boosting the likes of Northern Star Resources by 5.2 per cent, Evolution Mining and Newcrest by 2.1 -2.2 per cent. Banks closed in the black with CBA outperforming its peers adding 1.1 per cent. Megaport was the best performing stock after reporting an 8 per cent rise quarter on quarter with a monthly recurring revenue of $6.8 million for the three months ending March 2021. Online marketplace company Redbubble tumbled 23.05 per cent following their trading update. Heavyweights such as CSL rose 1.8 per cent, BHP lifted by 0.93 per cent and Rio Tinto added 0.37 per cent. At the close, the S&P/ASX 200 was 57.9 points higher at 7,055.40.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 10 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of just over 1 point.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 6 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a 56 point rise tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

NAB business survey reported a notable improvement in the business sector. Business conditions and confidence strengthened in the quarter with all sub indices improving substantially. These include profitability, trading and employment which are now into expansion phase. According to Alan Oster, NAB Group Chief Economist “the survey suggests that the economic recovery built further momentum in Q1.”He also said “it is worth remembering that conditions provide a guide as to how fast activity is growing, but capacity utilisation provides an indication of the level of activity. In this quarter we hit an important milestone; not only does it appear that activity continues to grow at a good pace, but the capacity utilisation index now suggests that the level of activity is back around its pre-COVID level. This is consistent with our forecast that GDP will have fully recovered in Q1.”

Company news

AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) announces Managing Director & CEO, Brett Redman has resigned after being in role for 2.5 years. Current Chairman, Graeme Hunt has been appointed as interim managing director & CEO effective immediately and will step down as Chairman. Former Oil Search executive Peter Botten has been appointed as Chairman to start immediately

Adelaide-based OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) has reported a surge in the copper and gold divisions’ productivity in the mining player’s latest financial update.

Payment solutions innovator Splitit (ASX:SPT) has announced the launch of a new instalments payment service named Plus for the US merchant market.

Biotech company Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX:CHM) reports another successful update on their phase 1 clinical trial in the City of Hope hospital in California, a cancer research and treatment centre in the USA. Patients from the first cohort have moved beyond the 28-day follow up period, without experiencing any side effects from their dose. This comes after their completion of the trial to evaluate the safety and maximum dose of chlorotoxin CAR T in patients with a brain tumour last month.

Gold miner Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) has received the go-head from Tropicana gold mine joint-owner AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) to purchase IGO’s 30 per cent interest in the asset.

Centuria Industrial REIT’s (ASX:CIP) portfolio grew more than $2.6 billion for Q3 FY21. Within that time, a valuation of 58 out of the 61 investment properties led to a rise of 8.3 per cent or $196 million when compared on a on a like for like basis from prior book values.

Online marketplace Redbubble (ASX:RBL) reports their marketplace revenue grew by 54 per cent to $103.4 million for the third quarter to March 2021.

Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) reports their first quarter sales revenue rose 22 per cent compared to the same time in 2020 on the back of higher realised prices for all products.

The bidding war for berry and citrus farms landlord Vitalharvest Freehold Trust (ASX:CTH) continues to heat up, following Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management’s latest offer.

Broker moves

Citi downngrades Pilbara minerals (ASX:PLS) as a sell from a neutral with a maintained target price of $1.10 after the share price soared 25 per cent since mid-February. Due to this, the price is now calculated to be trading ahead of the underlying valuation. In the March quarter, lithium-concentrate shipments missed expectations largely due to a fire on an inbound cargo vessel at berth that pushed 11.5kt of shipment into April. The costs increased quarter on quarter due to the stronger Australian dollar and higher freight charges. Shares in Pilbara minerals (ASX:PLS) closed 10.8 per lower at $1.115.

Credit Suisse downgrades Challenger (ASX:CGF) as a neutral from outperform reducing its target price to $6.05 from $6.65. The broker said that the company reported its strongest quarter of annuity book growth in 10 years supported by $1 billion in low margin/discounted institutional term annuities, of which there would have been no growth. The benefit of a stronger book was overshadowed by an FY21 downgrade and guidance with its pre-tax profit range towards the lower end of the $390-440 million. Shares in Challenger (ASX:CGF) closed 2.48 per cent lower at $5.12.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Health Care, up 1.74 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 0.57 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Megaport (ASX:MP1), closing 9.74 per cent higher at $12.84. It was followed by shares in Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) and Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Redbubble (ASX:RBL), closing 23.05 per cent lower at $4.24. It was followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Blackmores (ASX:BKL).
Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 2.4 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.5 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1792.07 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.70 per cent lower at US$188.23 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.10 per cent.
Light crude is $0.07 down at US$59.19 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.54 US cents.

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