Tech leads losses, Nanosonics sinks, Cochlear soars: ASX closes 1% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket spent all of today’s session in negative territory while investors monitored uneasy headlines on Russia and Ukraine. The local bourse saw tech shares sink while the reporting season continued in full swing. Technology was the heaviest sector, followed by consumer discretionary, while energy and consumer staples lifted higher. 

The worst performer was medical device company Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), which closed 13.1 per cent lower at $4.10 after posting its half year results for the six months ending December 31. Its profit after tax rose 165 per cent to $3.9 million, while its revenue lifted 41 per cent to $60.6 million. The company said despite the rapid increase in Covid-19 infections and staff shortages, they maintained momentum throughout the half. The company did not declare an interim dividend.

Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR) continued its losses from yesterday’s half year update. Weighing on the tech sector, shares closed 10.8 per cent lower at $1.44. 

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) led major banks lower, down 2.1 per cent to $96.04. Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) fell 1.8 per cent to $187.28, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) declined 1.6 per cent to $30.27, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) dipped 1.2 per cent to $23.56 and ANZ Banking (ASX:ANZ) closed 1 per cent lower at $27.89.

Heavyweight miners weighed as Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) dropped 1.5 per cent to $19.32, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) fell 1.4 per cent to $118.50 and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) closed 0.9 per cent lower at $47.81.

Gold stocks finished higher led by Northern Star (ASX:NST) up 4.6 per cent to $10.16. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) rose 2.8 per cent to $4.34 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) climbed 2.3 per cent to $25.14.

Energy stocks had a good run as Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) added 3.8 per cent to $29.25, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) rose 3.4 per cent to $1.53 and Santos (ASX:STO) closed 3.2 per cent higher at $7.09.

The best performer was Cochlear (ASX:COH) after posting its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The ear specialist’s sales revenue lifted 10 per cent to $815 million, while statutory net profit fell 28 per cent to $169 million and earnings before interests and taxes dipped 3 per cent to $234 million. Shares closed 9 per cent higher at $207.37. 

Elsewhere, fruit and vegetable giant Costa Group (ASX:CGC) unveiled its full year results for 2021. Its international segment rose 30 per cent from the same time a year ago, contributing to a 16.2 per cent rise in net profit after tax to $64 million. The results highlighted a beat across all divisions with China yields and demand above expectations. Meanwhile, avocados weighed due to lockdowns and low retail prices. A final dividend of five cents per share is set to be paid in April. Shares closed 8 per cent higher at $3.24. 

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1 per cent or 72 points lower at 7,161.

Local economic news

Consumer confidence decreased 1.4 points to 101.8 during the third week of February. Consumer confidence is now 7.4 points below the same week a year ago, February 20/21, 2021 (109.2), but remains just above the 2022 weekly average of 101.5 according to ANZ and Roy Morgan.

The statement said consumer confidence this week was down around the country with the largest decreases in NSW and Tasmania. Bucking the trend, Victoria’s Consumer confidence increased 3 points (107.8). Driving the decreases were falls in sentiment regarding the performance of the Australian economy over the next year and whether now is a ‘good/bad time to buy’ major household items.

Company news

Coles (ASX:COL) posted its half year results for the 27 weeks ending January 2, a period impacted by Covid-19 costs. The supermarket giant’s revenue rose 1 per cent to $20.8 billion, while its earnings before interest and taxes fell 4.4 per cent to $975 million and its profit declined 2 per cent to $549 million. Shares rose 3.4 per cent to $17.30. 

Wealth platform HUB24 (ASX:HUB) has posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The company's statutory profit lifted 37 per cent to $8.4 million, while its revenue increased 70.5 per cent to $80.3 million and its underlying EBITDA rose 80 per cent to $29.7 million. Shares lifted 4 per cent $24.49. 

Monadelphous (ASX:MND) has posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The engineering company’s revenue rose 18 per cent to $995 million, while its profit after tax fell 4.8 per cent to $30 million. Shares rose 10.8 per cent to $11.01. 

G8 Education (ASX:GEM) posted its full year results for 2021 with a net profit after tax of $45.7 million, compared to a net loss of $189 million in 2020. The company’s revenue lifted 11 per cent to $878.8 million, while its operating EBIT fell to $80 million from $101 million in the prior year. Shares closed 5 per cent higher at $1.27. 

Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) tumbled over 3 per cent to $21.62 after lifting earnings growth from 8 to 10 per cent for the financial year 2022. Shares closed 3.2 per cent lower at $21.64. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 444 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 66 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 299 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 102 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Energy, up 1.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down 3.2 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Cochlear (ASX:COH), closing 9 per cent higher at $207.37. It was followed by shares in Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) and HUB24 (ASX:HUB).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), closing 13.1 per cent lower at $4.10. It was followed by shares in Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) and Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost almost 2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost almost 3 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 1.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1908.29 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.1 per cent higher at US$139.00 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.2 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.07 lower at US$92.76 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.01 US cents.

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