ASX gains, Nick Scali's profit soars 100%: Aus shares 0.2% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

The Australian sharemarket started off with caution following a weak lead from Wall St after the major indexes closed mixed on weak jobs growth, retreating from record highs seen in the past week. Adding on the cautious note, the vice-chair of the Federal Reserve suggested that rates could rise by 2023.

The XJO was trading in a narrow range slipping as low as 0.1 per cent as investors warm up to our reporting season, digesting earnings results from furniture giant, Nick Scali (ASX:NCK) and fund managers like Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) amid Covid-19 and economic updates.

By midday, the ASX 200 tip toed higher by 0.3 per cent flirting at a new record high led by gains mostly across the board with Energy, Utilities and Materials as the laggards, down 1.2 per cent, 0.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. Oil prices have declined for a third day on rising inventory according to the Energy Information Administration. 

Consumer discretionary is performing well, up 0.9 per cent as the best out of the bunch followed by Property, Financials and Healthcare, up at least 0.5 per cent.

Mining giants are pressuring the index with BHP (ASX:BHP), down 1.2 per cent and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) 0.5 per cent lower with iron ore futures pointing to a fall of 3.9 per cent.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.2 per cent or 16 points higher at 7,520. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 11 points.

Local economic news

Payroll jobs decreased by 2.4 per cent between the weeks ending 3 and 17 July 2021 while the June trade balance was in surplus of $10.5 billion with exports, up 4 per cent while imports added 1 per cent as per the Bureau of Statistics.

Company news

Furniture retailer Nick Scali (ASX:NCK) posted bullish numbers for the 2021 financial year with their net profit after tax, up 100 per cent along with a 42.1 per cent uptick in revenue, compared to the year before beating analyst’s expectations of $79.2 million, as consumers decorate their homes while cooped up inside due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Centuria Industrial REIT’s profit (ASX:CIP) catapulted by 712 per cent for the 2021 financial year, thanks to a string of successful acquisitions, a strong valuation uplift and the eCommerce boom from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Panterra Minerals (ASX:PFE) started trading today. It issued at 20 cents, opened at 26 cents and is now trading at 45 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, up 0.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Energy, down 1.3 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nuix (ASX:NXL), trading 3.73 per cent higher at $2.65. It is followed by shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mesoblast (ASX:MSB), trading 3.34 per cent lower at $1.95. It is followed by shares in EML Payments (ASX:EML) and Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1809.98 an ounce.Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 3.90 per cent.
Iron ore is 0.5 per cent lower at US$183.69 a ton.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.86 US cents.

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