ASX rebounds on property soar, Woolies drop API deal: Aus shares jumps 1.6% at noon

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

Australian shares surge as investors pile into property, energy and banks stocks arresting the technology rout triggered by expectations of an earlier interest rate lift-off. Broad gains followed a mixed finish on Wall St as investors focus on upcoming data on the American labour market.

Traders have roared back into the shopping centre, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) in anticipation that the pandemic-hit sector is slated to benefit from the reopening of the economy, and plate high-yielding returns. The share price has accelerated by over 11 per cent in the past five trading sessions, and is the best performer of the session. Insurers are getting likes from investors pushing shares in Medibank Private (ASX:MPL) and embattled Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) higher as the next winners.

Also in the winner's circle is NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF) galloping 3.9 per cent higher at $7.24 and Webjet (ASX:WEB) taking-off by 3.5 per cent at $5.36.

Meanwhile, the tussle continues for Priceline owner API (ASX:API) after Woolworths (ASX:WOW) scrapped its offer after completing its due diligence.  API's financials didn't meet the retail giant's capital framework requirements after offering a deal of $1.75 a share. However, Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) is still in the picture with its deal of $1.55 per share with eyes this coming quarter on an outcome. Shares in Woolworths (ASX:WOW) edging 0.2 per cent higher at $37.48, Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) jumped 1.7 per cent at $59.06, while a selloff in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) continued to deepen, trading 12.7 per cent lower at $1.51.

Elsewhere a few investment managers have unveiled some results. Shares in Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) are trading 1.6 per cent lower at $20.07 after capping off 2021 with $95.5 billion in funds under management (FUM). The global equities manager posted a 15 per cent fall in FUM from the September quarter after St James' Place pulled $23 billion, along with outflows from retail and institutional investors. Shares in Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI) recovered from its 2.3 per cent fall at the open after reporting $18 million in performance fees for the second half of last year. The company expects $2 million in net return on investments slated for the first half of this year. Shares are trading 0.2 per cent higher at $13.70.

Investors are booking their profits after James Hardie (ASX:JHX) terminated the employment of its chief executive Jack Truong effective immediately after employees raised concerns about his work-related interactions. Shares trading 4.3 per cent lower at $51.45. Harold Wiens has been appointed interim chief executive and Michael Hammes has been appointed to the role of executive chairman, while the search for a replacement is underway.

Banks have rebounded with Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) rising in tandem by 2.8 per cent each, Macquarie Bank (ASX:MQG) adding 1.8 per cent, followed by National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB), and Westpac (ASX:WBC).

Iron ore miners continue to surge supported by the rise in the iron ore price with BHP (ASX:BHP) adding 2.2 per cent, followed by a rebound in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG), up 2.1 per cent then Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) trading 1.8 per cent higher. Meanwhile, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL), Santos (ASX:STO), Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) are galloping over 2 per cent higher.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng is off to a positive start while US futures edged higher waiting for European markets to open later today.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.6 per cent or 118 points higher at 7,476.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 113 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, up 2.2 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains is Consumer Staples, up 0.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) surging 6 per cent higher at $5.27, followed by shares in Medibank Private (ASX:MPL), and Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Sims (ASX:SGM) dropping 3.2 per cent lower at $16.27, followed by shares in James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX), and Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1792.36 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.7 per cent higher at US$120.91 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.70 US cents.

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