Miners prop up market, VIC to enter 7-day lockdown: ASX closes flat

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

Text-only (non-video) report.

The Australian sharemarket stayed mostly in positive territory but dipped on news of Victoria’s 7-day lockdown, finishing flat. Technology was the star performer while Materials, Communications and Consumer Discretionary also gained. The remaining seven sectors closed in the red as Utilities slid 1.2 per cent as the worst performer. Iron ore heavyweights buoyed the index with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) spiked 5 per cent higher followed by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP) notched up 1 per cent. Internet and phone provider TPG (ASX:TPG) leapt over 8 per cent helping the Communications sector while wealth manager AMP (ASX:AMP) rose over 8 per cent to win as the best performing stock in the ASX 200. On the other hand, Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) plummeted over 24 per cent as the fruit grower provided a mixed trading update at their AGM. Flight stocks took-off despite the Victorian lockdown news with Flight centre (ASX:FLT) up 2.8 per cent, Webjet (ASX:WEB) added 1.4 per cent and the flying kangaroo Qantas (ASX:QAN) firmed 0.4 per cent. All major banks closed lower bar ANZ (ASX:ANZ) which notched up 0.1 per cent. Gold stocks which have shone in recent times lost some of its twinkle as Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) shed 3.3 per cent followed by Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) which closed lower.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.03 per cent or 2.4 points higher at 7,095.

Economic news

Australian Bureau of Statistics released business investment figures for the March quarter with total new expenditure up 6.3 per cent beating market expectations. Business conditions for May was also issued with most businesses reported stable trading conditions with data which showed that since the end of March, 20 per cent of businesses have stopped accessing support measures such as wage subsidies, the renegotiation of property rent or lease arrangements and deferred loan repayments.

Company news

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Banking giant Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has splurged $50 million in a 23 per cent shareholding in online shopping start-up Little Birdie and 25 per cent shareholding in tech-energy retail company Amber.

New Zealand medical-maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) reports its full-year profit soared 82 per cent for the year ended 31 March, thanks to a spike in demand for its respiratory devices to hospitals.

Health insurer Medibank (ASX:MPL) welcomes Dr Andrew Wilson to commence as Group Executive, CEO Health Services as the hunt for two new roles to join the executive leadership team commences.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has begun legal proceedings against five subsidiaries of financial giant AMP (ASX:AMP) in the Federal Court of Australia, accusing the businesses of “unconscionable conduct” regarding deceased customers.

Australia’s largest specialty fashion retailer Mosaic (ASX:MOZ) has been served a $630,000 penalty for misleading consumers into purchasing the company’s coronavirus prevention products.

Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has updated their Crown Melbourne’s business operations as Victoria begin to lockdown for seven days as of midnight tonight.

Broker moves

Morgan Stanley rates lab examiner ALS (ASX:ALQ) as a hold from an add with a raised target price of $11.56. The downgrade comes after a strong share price rise as the company’s astute management of costs and capacity drove its FY21 profit up 4.5 per cent ahead of market expectations. The broker lifts FY22 to FY24 EPS forecasts by 4 to 11 per cent due largely due to a lift in commodity margins by 30 per cent to reflect the sector outlook. The target price lifts from $10.35 to $11.56. Shares in ALS (ASX:ALQ) are trading 1.1 per cent lower at $12.16.

Citi rates Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) as a buy from neutral with a target price of $27. The update follows the price of copper which has eased back from highs of US$10,700 per tonne to US$9,900 per tonne yet Citi expects this to be a temporary pullback before prices rebound. The broker envisages another 20 per cent upside to spot prices over the next six months and forecast that copper will hit US$12,200 per tonne. Citi understands that investors are hesitant about buying a stock that has rallied around 50 per cent in the past six months but still expects it will trade higher and upgrades its rating to buy from neutral. Shares in Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) closed 3.28 per cent higher at $24.27.
 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 21.00 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 5.00 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 19.25 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 14 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Information Technology up 1.92 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Utilities down 1.18 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was AMP (ASX:AMP) closing 8.45 per cent higher at $1.16 followed by shares in TPG Telecom (ASX:TPG) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC), closing 24.10 per cent lower at $3.37 followed by shares in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) and Domino Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.44 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.23 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.20 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1901.82 an ounce.
Iron ore is flat at US$192.87 a ton (Singapore public holiday, closing price of prior trading day).
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.11 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.20 lower at US$63.74 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.49 US cents.


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