Origin weighs on utilities, Magellan soars: ASX closes 1% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

  • Email Alerts for:
The Australian sharemarket closed in negative territory after spending all of Friday’s session in the red. All sectors closed lower with utilities weighing the most, followed by healthcare, while materials shed the least. The reporting season continued which also buoyed losses for a number of companies. 

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) posted its full year results for the 2021 calendar year. The insurer reported a net profit after tax of US$750 million, compared to a loss of US$1.5 billion in 2020. The insurer said the turnaround result reflected strong premium growth, up 22 per cent. Chief executive Andrew Horton said the industry environment remains uncertain around inflation and low interest rates. QBE will pay a final dividend of 19 cents a share, taking the full year dividend to 30 cents per share, up from 4 cents from the prior year. Shares closed 8.7 per cent lower at $11.55, and was the worst-performing stock. 

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) closed 7.8 per cent lower at $5.68, and was the second-worst stock. The company posted its half year results and announced a 10 per cent divestment in Australia Pacific LNG to ConocoPhillips for $2 billion. 

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) weighed on iron ore players, down 3.2 per cent to $19.85. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) fell 0.6 per cent to $119.25 and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) closed 0.02 per cent lower at $47.96.

Major banks closed lower except Westpac (ASX:WBC) up 0.2 per cent to $23.53. Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) fell 2.3 per cent to $191.11, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) declined 1.1 per cent to $97.75, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) fell 0.9 per cent to $30.58 and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) closed 0.3 per cent lower at $28.15.

Energy stocks were mixed as Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) added 0.7 per cent to $1.49, while Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) fell 1 per cent to $27.44 and Santos (ASX:STO) closed 1 per cent lower to $7.00 

Gold stocks closed higher as Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) added 2.1 per cent to $24.36, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) lifted 1.5 per cent to $4.14 and Northern Star (ASX:NST) closed 1.5 per cent higher at $9.58.

Elsewhere, Inghams (ASX:ING) posted its half year results for the 25 weeks ending December 25. The poultry producer’s revenue rose 1.8 per cent to $1.39 billion, its underlying net profit after tax climbed 5.9 per cent to 39.7 million and its EBITDA lifted 2.2 per cent to $220.4 million. The company said the improvement reflected the effective management of lockdowns, but it still expects challenges from Covid-19 to impact the second half. The company declared a dividend of 6.5 cents per share, to be paid on April 7 this year. Shares closed 5.1 per cent lower at $3.35. 

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1 per cent or 75 points lower at 7,222. Over the week, it closed 0.1 per cent or 4 points higher.

Company news 

Sky Network Television (ASX:SKT) has secured rights to broadcast the English Premier League in New Zealand for the next six years, starting with the upcoming 2022/23 season. Shares closed 3.7 per cent higher at $2.38. 

Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) reported an incident resulting from a release of hydrogen at its Waggaman, Louisiana ammonia plant. Shares closed 5.5 per cent lower at $3.08. 

Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The company’s net profit after tax rose 24 per cent to $251.6 million, while its revenue lifted 23 per cent to $401 million. Shares closed 18.8 per cent higher at $21.76. 

MyState (ASX:MYS) posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The financial company’s net profit after tax fell 2.4 per cent to $16.6 million, while its revenue increased 3.4 per cent to $71 million. Shares closed 3 per cent lower at $5.11. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 214 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 31 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 114 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 70 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

All sectors closed in the red. The sector with the fewest losses was Materials, down 0.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Utilities, down 4.1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG), closing 18.5 per cent higher at $21.70. It was followed by shares in Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE), closing 8.7 per cent lower at $11.55. It was followed by shares in Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.3 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones lost 1.2 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1891.45 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.9 per cent lower at US$130.65 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.1 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.64 lower at US$89.40 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.00 US cents.

Are you a 708 sophisticated investor?

A sophisticated investor is defined under Section 708 of the Corporations Act (net assets of $2.5 million or annual incomes in excess of $250,000).

They are eligible to receive information regarding wholesale investment opportunities that are not available to regular or retail investors.

Please subscribe if you would like to be alerted to these types of opportunities.