Banks & Miners surge: Aus shares close 0.3% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian share market maintained its foothold in positive territory. At the closing bell, the ASX was 0.3 per cent or 22 points higher at 7,584.

Banks and Miners kept the ASX in front. Energy and Utility stocks also made gains. 

The Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) closed 1.4 per cent higher at $108.07, following its FY21 profit up 19.7 per cent and the announcement of a $6 billion share buyback. Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.7 per cent higher at $25.77, ANZ (ASX:ANZ) closed 1 per cent higher at $29.18 and NAB (ASX:NAB) closed 0.9 per cent higher at $27.2. 

Mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 1.1 per cent higher at $52.41, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 1.3 per cent higher at $129.31 and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 0.4 per cent higher at $22.53. 

Oil prices rebounded with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closing 0.4 per cent higher, Santos (ASX:STO) 1.1 per cent higher and Oil Search (ASX:SOH) 1.5 per cent higher. 

Onto Utilities, electric services provider Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) closed 4 per cent higher. Gas operator APA Group ( ASX:APA) closed 1 per cent higher. 

On the down side, Communication Services was the worst-performing sector. 

NSW recorded 344 new Covid-19 cases, Queensland recorded 4 new cases and Victoria recorded 20 new cases. 

Local economic news

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment fell 4.4 per cent to 104.1 in August from 108.8 in July. At 104.1, the index is now at its lowest point in a year but still well above the deeply negative lows seen during last year’s national lock-down (75.6) and Victoria’s ‘second wave’ restrictions (79.5).

Remarkably, the index is also comfortably above the readings seen over the twelve months prior to the pandemic (an average read of 97.5).

The availability of effective COVID vaccines is a key source of support for confidence.

The biggest sentiment decline was amongst ‘paraprofessionals and tradies’ (-15.2 per cent) where pressures on health and education systems, disruptions to building sites and the tougher restrictions in place for parts of Sydney all factored. The eight local government areas of concern in Sydney’s south and west facing the tightest lock-down restrictions account for over 40 per cent of the city’s tradies.

Company news

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Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) records net profit after tax of $8,843 million for the period ending 30 Jun 2021, up 19.7 per cent from the prior year.

Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) records revenue of $3.7 billion for the period ending 30 Jun 2021, up 76 per cent from the prior year.

Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) reported net loss after tax of $427 million for the period ending 30 Jun 2021 (FY21).

Specialist fund manager Centuria Capital Group (ASX:CNI) delivered strong growth across its platform for the period ending 30 Jun 2021.

ANZ (ASX:ANZ) has appointed as new chief financial officer Farhan Faruqui, who is currently group executive international.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 28 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 4 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 4 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 23 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Utilities, up 1.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Communication Services, down 0.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre (ASX:ORE), closing 6.3 per cent higher at $9.92. It was followed by shares in IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) and IRESS (ASX:IRE).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Megaport (ASX:MP1), closing 6.3 per cent lower at $16.77. It was followed by shares in Inghams Group (ASX:ING) and Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.6 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.1 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1732.28 an ounce.
Iron ore is 5.8 per cent lower at US$162.44 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.5 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.08 higher at US$68.37 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.37 US cents.

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