ASX ends 0.1% higher, Block soars: ASX down 3.2% over the week

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket held onto its small gain to finish Friday’s session in positive territory following a volatile week as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine deepened. The invasion prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to warn Aussie companies to strengthen their protections for direct malicious cyber attacks.

The local bourse saw green today thanks to an 8 per cent boost in the tech sector, helped by Afterpay owner Block (ASX:SQ2) posting a 62 per cent year-on-year gross financial year 2021 profit of $4.4 billion, with its fourth quarter results lifting 47 per cent year-on-year. Shares soared 32.3 per cent to $153.23.

The property sector added to today’s gains, helped by Charter Hall’s (ASX:CHC) half year results for the six months ending December 31. Profit after tax for the property giant tripled to $517.8 million, revenue rose to $566 million from $248.3 million, while funds under management climbed to $79.5 billion from $52 billion, attributed to its continued strategy of partnering with tenant and investor customers. The company is set to pay an interim dividend of $8.33 per share. Shares rose 3.8 per cent to $16.58.

Six out of eleven sectors finished higher, while financials and consumer staples weighed.

Major banks closed lower, except Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG), which closed 1.5 per cent higher at $180.02. ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) dropped 2.2 per cent to $26.10, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) fell 1.6 per cent to $28.91, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) declined 1.3 per cent to $22.83 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) closed 0.9 per cent lower at $93.88.

Heavyweight miners were mixed after Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) lifted 0.3 per cent to $18.60, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) fell 0.7 per cent to $114.54 and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) dipped 0.2 per cent to $44.69.

Gold stocks dropped, with Northern Star (ASX:NST) down 5.6 per cent to $10.00, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) down 4.6 per cent to $4.19 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) down 3.1 per cent to $24.82.

Energy stocks were mixed as Santos (ASX:STO) rose 0.7 per cent to $7.15, while Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) fell 2.9 per cent to $1.51 and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 0.5 per cent lower at $27.95.

Elsewhere, online marketplace Kogan.com (ASX:KGN) reported a loss of $11.87 million for the six months to December 31 from a profit of $23.59 million in the prior year period as stay at home spending was rotated out to experiences. Kogan.com's revenue increased by 1.3 per cent to $419.5 million driven by its Mighty Ape, Kogan Marketplace and Kogan First divisions. The half was significantly impacted by Covid-related interruptions and fluctuations in demand across the entire retail industry, resulting in increased logistics and other operating costs. Shares fell 6.4 per cent to $5.25.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.1 per cent or 7 points higher at 6,998. Over the week it was 3.2 per cent or 224 points lower.

Company news

Medibank Private (ASX:MPL) posted a revenue jump of 4 per cent to $3.58 billion, while net profit fell 2.7 per cent to $220.2 million in its half year results for the six months ending December 31 as Covid-19 restrictions inhibited customers' ability to access their hospital and extras services. An interim dividend of 6.1 cents per share is set to be paid in March. Shares fell 3.3 per cent to $3.06.

Beauty company BWX (ASX:BWX) reported a net loss of $2.3 million, versus a profit of $9.7 million in the prior year period, for the six months ending December 31. The decline was driven by the one-off impact of a $5.8 million benefit in first half 2021 from settlement of the Egide Compensation Plan to the sellers of the Andalou Naturals business, and costs in first half 2022 including one-off acquisition charges of $3.0 million and $3.5 million Chemist Warehouse cost of equity-linked strategic partnership expense. Shares tumbled 26.7 per cent to $2.47.

Construction materials and lime producer Adbri (ASX:ABC) reported net profit after tax rose 25 per cent to $116.7 million, while underlying net profit after tax lifted 3 per cent to $119.1 million for the full year ending 31 December. The company’s revenue increased by 8 per cent to $1,569.2 million, driven by growth in all products except lime. Shares rose 7.5 per cent to $3.24.

Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) posted its half year results for the six months ending December 31. The pharmaceutical company reported a net loss after tax of $50.4 million, which it said was driven by intangible asset impairment associated with the generic business. However, this was an improvement from the $181.3 million loss in the prior year period. Shares closed 2 per cent lower at $0.24.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 138 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 24 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 108 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 12 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 8.1 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down almost 1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Block (ASX:SQ2), closing 32.5 per cent higher at $153.75. It was followed by shares in Life360 (ASX:360) and Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Blackmores (ASX:BKL), closing 10.5 per cent lower at $75.31. It was followed by shares in Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 1.9 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.1 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones lost 2.6 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 1.4 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1914.81 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.8 per cent lower at US$136.95 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 2.4 per cent.
Light crude is trading $2.09 higher at US$94.90 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.97 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.