Health & Travel stocks rise, Tech powers up: ASX closes 0.4% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket lifted higher in afternoon trade and maintained momentum in positive territory. At the closing bell, the ASX was 0.4 per cent or 30 points higher at 7,535.

The Tech sector closed 1.9 per cent higher as best performer while Health, Travel and Real Estate stocks also joined the rally. 

Amid Tech's rise, buy now, pay later giant Afterpay (ASX:APT) closed 1.6 per cent higher, software company Wise Tech Global (ASX:WTC) closed 6.4 per cent higher and Appen (ASX:APX) closed 7.3 per cent higher.  

Health care giant CSL (AXS:CSL) closed 0.7 per cent higher, Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV) closed 10.7 per cent higher, Resmed (ASX:RMD) closed 3.4 per cent and Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) closed 1.8 per cent higher. 

While Health stocks helped lift the ASX, allogeneic cellular medicine company Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) continued to weigh on the index, closing 14.9 per cent lower, following a net loss of $135.5 million in their FY21 results. 

As Covid-19 continues to spread, and vaccinations rates increase, a number of travel stocks have lifted. Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) closed 1.4 per cent higher and Qantas (ASX:QAN) closed 1 per cent higher. 

In headlines today, retail giant Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) closed 3.2 per cent lower after announcing a $6 million payback of JobKeeper payments. Online wagering platform Pointsbet (ASX:PBH) closed 1.7 per cent higher, following a surge in FY21 revenue.

NSW recorded 1164 new Covid-19 cases today, while 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.  

Harvey Norman’s (ASX:HVN) total sales surged 15.3 per cent collectively from stores around the globe at $9.5 billion for the year ending 30 June this year. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 107 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 14 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 59 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 39 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 1.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 1.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV), closing 10.7 per cent higher at $37.78. It was followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mesoblast (ASX:MSB), closing 15.9 per cent lower at $1.67. It was followed by shares in Worley (ASX:WOR) and Regis Resources (ASX:RRL).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 1.2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.1 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1817.53 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 3.2 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.02 higher at US$69.23 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.37 US cents.

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