Tech stocks surge, Mesoblast down 11%: ASX up 0.3% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket opened higher. At noon, it was trading 0.3 per cent or 18.5 points higher at 7523. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 17 points.

The Health and Tech sectors are surging, while major Banks and Energy stocks are dragging the index.

Amid a rise in health stocks, Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV) is trading 8.8 per cent higher as the best-performing stock. Bio tech giant CSL (ASX:CSL) is up 1 per cent and Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) is up 1.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, allogeneic cellular medicine company Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) is down 11.1 per cent, after reporting a loss of $135 million in FY21 results. 

Appen (ASX:APX) is pushing the Tech sector higher, up 5.8 per cent. Buy now, pay later giant Afterpay (ASX:APT) is up 1.7 per cent, and software company WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) is up 4.3 per cent.   

Energy giant Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) is weighing on the index, down 1.8 per cent. Meanwhile, Miners eased back from yesterday's gains, with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) down 0.7 per cent.  

In terms of earnings results, furniture and electronics retailer Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) is down 2 per cent, following an agreement to pay $6 million in JobKeeper subsidies to the Federal Government, as profit surged in FY21. Pointsbet (ASX:PBH) is down 2 per cent following their full year results. 

NSW recorded 1164 new Covid-19 cases and Victoria recorded 76 new cases. 

Local economic news

Australia's current account surplus in seasonally adjusted terms increased $1.5 billion to a record $20.5 billion in the June quarter 2021, according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The current account surplus was driven by a $3.5 billion increase in the balance on goods and services surplus. Exports of goods and services rose 6 per cent at $7.0 billion, while imports of goods and services rose 4 per cent at $3.5 billion. The net primary income deficit rose by $1.1 billion to $7.4 billion in the June quarter.

Head of international statistics Andrew Tomadini said "Australia's June quarter record Current Account surplus came off the back of strong bulk commodity prices. In particular, the iron ore price drove a record metal ores and minerals export value of $53.3 billion”.

“Imports continued to rise, driven by increases in fuel imports coinciding with the opening of the Trans-Tasman travel bubble. Government stimulus policies and the easing of freight backlogs resulted in increased imports for transport equipment and machinery across consumption and capital goods”.

In seasonally adjusted chain volume terms, the balance on goods and services surplus decreased $4.9 billion, reducing the surplus to $5.2 billion. Assuming no significant revision to March quarter this year estimates of gross domestic product, the balance on goods and services is expected to detract 1.0 percentage point from the June quarter GDP.

Meanwhile, the number of dwellings approved fell 8.6 per cent in July seasonally adjusted, declining for a fourth consecutive month to be 24.9 per cent lower than the peak recorded in March, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Elsewhere, consumer confidence rose 0.2 per cent last week despite rising Covid-19 case numbers. Sentiment in Sydney gained 0.9 per cent as daily case numbers rose above 1,000 for the first time. Confidence fell 1.6 per cent in Brisbane, down 1.9 per cent in Melbourne and tumbled 8.6 per cent in Adelaide while and Perth shed 0.8 per cent. The overall steady outlook may reflect the increasing vaccination rates across the country and the hope that this will eventually bring lockdowns and border closures to an end.

Company news 

Pointsbet (ASX:PBH) posted revenue of $194.7 million for the year ending 30 Jun 2021, up 159 per cent from the year thanks to strong momentum in their Australian and US businesses.

IGO (ASX:IGO) delivered record revenue for the third year in a row ending 30 Jun 2021, following a strong performance in the Nova operation based in Western Australia. 

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 1.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Energy, down 1.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV), trading 8.8 per cent higher at $37.13. It is followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mesoblast (ASX:MSB), trading 11.1 per cent lower at $1.76. It is followed by shares in Nuix (ASX:NXL) and Worley (ASX:WOR).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1812.73 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.6 per cent lower at US$156.66 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.96 US cents.

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