Banks dominate, Miners drag: ASX closes flat

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian share market dipped in the afternoon trade, closing flat at 7538.4. Financials charged ahead while Materials dragged. 

Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 1.2 per cent higher, following news it will sell its Australian life insurance business. NAB (ASX:NAB) closed 1 per cent higher following the acquisition of Citi's consumer business. The Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) and ANZ (ASX:NAB) both closed 1.5 per cent higher. 

Across the sectors, a number of large stocks impacted the market. Australia's largest communication network Telstra (ASX:TLS) closed 0.7 per cent higher after it announced it will sell Telstra Health to MedicalDirector. 

On the down side, Mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.7 per cent lower, and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) both closed 1.1 per cent lower. 

Insurance company Suncorp (ASX:SUN) closed 8 per cent higher as the best-performing stock. A number of insurance companies joined the rally, with Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) closing 4.6 per cent higher.

In headlines, road and toll operator Transurban (ASX:TCL) closed 2 per cent lower following the release of its FY21 results. 

NSW recorded 283 new Covid-19 cases, Victoria recorded 11 new cases and Queensland recorded 4 new cases. 

Company news

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here. 

Aurizon (ASX:AZJ) reports earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $1,482 million for the period ending 30 Jun 2021 (FY21), 1 per cent higher than the prior year.

Insurance company Suncorp (ASX:SUN) reports a strong year with cash earnings of $1,064 million for the period ending 30 Jun 2021 (FY21), up 42.1 per cent from the prior year.

Global road and toll operator, Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) reports a decline across several areas for the period ending 30 Jun 2021 (FY21), amid global disruptions.

Real Estate Investment Trust, Charter Hall Long WALE (ASX:CLW), announces its full year results for the period ending 30 Jun 2021 (FY21).

Major bank Westpac (ASX:WBC) to sell its Australian life insurance business, Westpac Life Insurance Services, to TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia (TAL) for $900 million.

Telstra (ASX:TLS) has confirmed that Telstra Health has entered into a binding agreement to acquire GP management software company MedicalDirector for $350 million.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 80 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 12 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 47 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 6 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Financials, up 1.3 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Materials, down 1.1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN), closing 7.8 per cent higher at $12.79. It was followed by shares in Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) and QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was News Corporation (ASX:NWS), closing 7.95 per cent lower at $32.40. It was followed by shares in Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei was closed due to Mountain Day.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.7 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 1.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1745.17 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.6 per cent higher at US$172.51 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 3.6 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.65 lower at US$66.63 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.57 US cents.
 

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