WiseTech helps tech lift, Domino's tumbles: ASX closes 0.6% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

After the morning fall, the Australian sharemarket kept its gains for the remainder of Wednesday’s session. Earning results continued to unveil with over 15 companies reporting today. Technology was the winning sector, followed by communication services and healthcare, while real estate and utilities finished in the red.

Domino’s Pizza (ASX:DMP) posted its half year results for the 27 weeks ending January 2. The pizza chain’s revenue lifted 10.2 per cent to $1.21 billion, while profit after tax fell 6.9 per cent to $89.1 million and EBITDA fell 2.5 per cent to $212.8 million. Domino’s earnings were heavily impacted by temporary stores closures and staff shortages from Covid-19. The company is set to pay an interim dividend of 88.4 cents per share in March. Shares dropped 14 per cent to $86.13, and was the worst performing stock.

The best performer was Hub24 (ASX:HUB) amid several broker upgrades following its trading update yesterday. Credit Suisse rated the company as an outperform and said its first half results were well ahead of estimates. A 10 per cent beat on platform revenue margins more than offset a miss on cost forecasts.

Miners rose while gold players fell with Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) added 1.2 per cent to $119.87, BHP Group (ASX:BHP) added 0.6 per cent to $48.10 and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 0.2 per cent higher at $19.36. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) fell 3.5 per cent to $4.19, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) declined 2.1 per cent to $24.61 and Northern Star (ASX:NST) closed 1.6 per cent lower at $10.00.

Elsewhere, energy stocks fell with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) fell 1.3 per cent to $28.86, same with Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) down 1.3 per cent to $1.51, while Santos (ASX:STO) closed 0.6 per cent higher at $7.13 while banks closed mixed. Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) rose 0.7 per cent to $96.69 while Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) closed 0.4 per cent lower at $186.50.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.6 per cent or 44 points higher at 7,206.

Company news

WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) jumped 2 per cent to $46.63 after upgrading its earnings guidance with its net profit after tax soared 74 per cent to $77.4 million for the six months ending December 31.The software company’s revenue rose 18 per cent to $281 million and EBITDA jumped 54 per cent to $137.7 million. Revenue growth was mainly driven by increased market penetration and customer usage, particularly from its CargoWise platform. However, Covid-19 did result in congestion, labour shortages and higher freight rates. An interim dividend of 4.75 cents per share, up 76 per cent from a year ago and is set to be paid in April. Shares rose 3.9 per cent to $44.45.

Healius (ASX:HLS) posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The healthcare company’s revenue rose 44.2 per cent to $1.34 billion, while profit jumped 271.3 per cent to $233.2 million. The soaring profit was driven by PCR testing as Healius responded to the surge of Covid-19 cases. Shares jumped 5 per cent to $4.40.

Grocery giant Woolworths (ASX:WOW) has trimmed its interim dividend by 26.4 per cent to 39 cents after describing its 27-week period to January 2 as the “most challenging halves we have experienced”. Group sales grew 8 per cent to $31.8 billion though earnings before interest and taxes fell 11 per cent to $1.3 billion with net profit fell 6.5 per cent to $795 million. Strong Christmas performance helped offset a slowdown in sales as lockdown eased amid higher costs and supply chain disruptions. Shares closed 1.2 per cent higher at $35.61.

Energy infrastructure business APA Group (ASX:APA) reported revenue growth of 4.3 per cent to $1.1 billion, while underlying EBITDA lifted 4.5 per cent to $859.8 million versus $835 million consensus. Net profit after tax came in at $155.6 million which fell short of the consensus of $201 million for its half year results for the six months ending December 31. Shares fell 1.6 per cent to $9.99.

Worley (ASX:WOR) posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The engineering company's net profit after tax jumped 90 per cent to $114 million, while revenue fell 4 per cent to $4.7 billion due to timing of project activity. Its EBITA rose 21 per cent to $251 million, driven by margin improvement. Shares rose 4.7 per cent to $12.36.

St Barbara (ASX:SBM) posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31.The gold miner’s statutory profit of $13.9 million dropped 62 per cent, while revenue dipped 9 per cent to $325 million, and EBITDA excluding significant items fell 32 per cent to $103 million. Shares closed 2.4 per cent higher at $1.40.

Property giant Stockland (ASX:SGP) have announced two capital partnerships deals with Ivanhoé Cambridge and Mitsubishi Estate Asia (MEA). News was well received with shares closing 4 per cent higher at $4.18. 

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) announced that its chief executive officer is set to step down after the company posted an inaugural interim profit. Shares rose 2.2 per cent to $2.85.

Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) appointed Elliott Rusanow to succeed Peter Allen as chief executive officer. Shares fell 4.1 per cent to $3.03. 

Local economic news

Wage growth rose 0.7 per cent for the December quarter, in line with expectations while the annual growth rate rose to 2.3 per cent, slightly softer than 2.4 per cent estimates, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The RBA wants to see annual wages growth rise to at least three per cent.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 157 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 24 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 109 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 2.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Utilities, down 0.7 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was HUB24 (ASX:HUB), closing 9.9 per cent higher at $27.11. It was followed by shares in Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) and Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Domino Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP), closing 14 per cent lower at $86.13. It was followed by shares in Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) and JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei is closed for the Emperor's birthday.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.8 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1895.86 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.6 per cent lower at US$136.75 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.8 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.34 higher at US$92.25 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.29 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.