Liontown soars on Tesla deal, Vicinity returns to profit: ASX closes 1.1% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket rose further in the afternoon session, buoyed by the healthcare sector and several companies that reported earnings results today. Nearly all sectors finished higher as healthcare dominated, followed by real estate, while energy and materials dragged. 

CSL (ASX:CSL) declared the same interim dividend from a year ago despite profit falling during the first half of the 2022 financial year amid the pandemic. The bio-tech giant declared an interim dividend of $1.04 and a net profit after tax of US$1.76 billion, down 3 per cent from the prior year period. CSL said the results were in line with expectations, although it had experienced growth in a number of its products. Shares closed 8.7 per cent higher at $264.07. 

Vicinity (ASX:VCX) unveiled a return to interim profit, thanks to a boost in property revaluations. However, the shopping centre's owner has flagged that pandemic related challenges continue to loom into the second half. The group reported net profit after tax of $650.2 million for the six months to December, a rebound from its $394 million loss in the prior corresponding period. An interim dividend of 4.7 cents per share is set to be paid in March. Shares closed 10.7 per cent higher at $1.86. 

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) led the market higher, closing almost 18 per cent higher at $1.64 after signing a lithium supply agreement with Tesla. 

Energy giant Santos (ASX:STO) fell 2.8 per cent to $7.19, despite reporting record cash flow and underlying earnings in the half year driven by higher oil and gas prices. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 0.4 per cent lower at $26.63 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closed flat at $1.46.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) led iron ore players lower, down 2 per cent to $21.15. BHP Group (ASX:BHP) fell 1.8 per cent to $47.33, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.2 per cent lower at $118.56.

On the gold front, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) fell 1.8 per cent to $4.01, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) declined 0.6 per cent to $23.50 and Northern Star (ASX:NST) closed 0.2 per cent lower at $9.04.

Major banks closed higher except Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) down 0.9 per cent to $98.57, while Macquarie (ASX:MQG) led, up 1.6 per cent to $196.99. ANZ  (ASX:ANZ) rose 1.1 per cent to $28.10, Westpac  (ASX:WBC) added 1 per cent higher to $23.29 and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) closed 0.7 per cent higher at $30.64.

Elsewhere, Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) reported a fall in sales revenue which was impacted by the US commercial portfolio divestment in March last year, the decline in shipments to Mainland China, and reduced commercial volumes in the UK and Australia. Its net sales revenue declined 10.1 per cent to $1,267 million. The company said the decline was partly offset by strong premium portfolio performance and reduced cost of doing business. Shares closed 11.7 per cent higher at $11.77

Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) reported its half year results for the six months ending December last year. The travel booking company reported a net loss of $8.6 million for the half, narrowing from $36.4 million on the prior year period. Revenue more than doubled to $158.1 million from $56.5 million. Shares closed 7.6 per cent higher at $24.34. 

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1.1 per cent or 78 points higher at 7284.9.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 28.00 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 7.50 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 37.00 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 93 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Health Care, up 6.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 0.7 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), closing almost 18 per cent higher at $1.64. It was followed by shares in Imugene (ASX:IMU) and Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL), closing 9.8 per cent lower at $13.40. It was followed by shares in HUB24 (ASX:HUB) and EML Payments (ASX:EML).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 2.2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 1.2 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1853.34 an ounce.
Iron ore is 8.8 per cent lower at US$136.20 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 2.2 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.03 lower at US$90.18 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.57 US cents.

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