Tech drags, GrainCorp falls despite profit jump, Magellan names new CEO: ASX down 0.2% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Aussie sharemarket opened lower before easing back some losses at lunchtime despite tech, financials and energy stocks still weighing on the index. This comes after Wall St closed mixed after three straight days of losses as investors mull on several factors ahead of the upcoming inflation print.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.2 per cent or 14.40 points lower at 7036.80. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 8 points.

On the local index, information tech is leading the losses, down 0.9 per cent, followed by financials and energy, both down 0.7 per cent. On the other hand, health care is leading the pack, up 1.5 per cent, followed by property, up 0.4 per cent, then materials, up 0.1 per cent. All other sectors are in the red.

Weighing on the tech space is Link Administration (ASX:LNK), down 12.7 per cent to $4.34 per cent as the biggest laggard following a “pause in trading” announcement, while Block (ASX:SQ2) is trading 1.3 per cent lower at $121.06.

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is weighing on major banks, down 3.9 per cent to $30.54 as it trades ex-dividend today. All other banks are lower, except Macquarie (ASX:MQG) which is edging 0.1 per cent higher at $180.28.

Energy stocks under pressure amid concerns on short-term demand and higher costs of energy. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) is down 1.1 per cent to $30.42 and Santos (ASX:STO) is down 0.4 per cent lower at $7.91, while Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is trading 1.7 per cent higher at $1.64.

On a brighter note, heavyweight miners are lifting. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has risen 1.1 per cent to $104.10, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) has added 0.7 per cent to $19.25 and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) is trading 0.2 per cent higher at $45.13.

Gold stocks are mixed. Northern Star (ASX:NST) is up 0.5 per cent to $8.77, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is trading flat at $3.58 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is trading 0.6 per cent lower at $24.92.

Local economic news

Consumer sentiment tumbled 5.6 per cent May to the lowest since August 2020 of 90.4, down for the sixth month in a row amid surging inflation and rising interest rates, according to the Westpac Melbourne Institute.

Company news

Global demand for Australian commodities and favourable planting conditions led GrainCorp (ASX:GNC) to report a record half-year result for the six months to March 31. Its profit after tax rose to $246 million from $51 million a year ago, while it confirmed FY22 profit guidance of $310 to $370 million. Graincorp said the conflict in Ukraine prompted buyers to seek alternative sources of supply, while the recent weather events also provided excellent planting conditions. An interim dividend of 24 cents per share will be paid on July 21. Shares are trading 2.8 per cent lower at $10.26.

Pushpay (ASX:PPH) delivered a 7 per cent increase in profit after tax for the full year to March 31, while no dividend was declared. Pushpay said its priorities were impacted by a shift in software buying behaviour and consolidation of churches, as well as Covid-19 disruptions and a competitive labour market. Its revenue lifted 12 per cent from the prior year, while the company said it expects to deliver double digit revenue growth of between 10 and 15 per cent in FY23. Shares are trading 1.3 per cent lower at $1.17.

Meanwhile, David George was named Magellan Financials' (ASX:MFG) new chief executive officer and managing director, and will start on August 8. For the last 14 years, David was deputy chief investment officer for Public Markets at the Future Fund. Kirsten Morton will become chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Magellan, after filling the CEO role on an interim basis during the global search. Shares are trading 2.7 per cent higher at $16.29.

CSR (ASX:CSR) reported a rise in revenue and profit for the year ending March 31, driven by growth in building products and improved aluminium pricing. The industrial company’s trading revenue of $2.3 billion rose 9 per cent from the prior year. Shares are trading 2 per cent higher at $5.80.

Financial lender Money3 (ASX:MNY) has announced it is implementing an on-market share buyback of up to $15 million as part of the company’s capital management strategy. Shares are trading 3.1 per cent higher at $2.30.

Aerial imaging company Nearmap (ASX:NEA) has filed an additional inter partes review (IPR) against a patent of rivals EagleView and Pictometry that EagleView asserted in the litigation it lodged against Nearmap. Shares are trading 2.9 per cent lower at $1.16.

What else is on watch?

GPT Group (ASX:GPT) has its annual meeting scheduled, shares are trading 1.3 per cent higher at $4.75.

Amid the biotech M&A news on Wall St where Biohaven Pharmaceutical soared 68.4 per cent after inking a deal with Pfizer valued at US$11.6 billion: Antisense Therapeutics (ASX:ANP) is trading 5 per cent higher at $0.10, Kazia Therapeutics (ASX:KZA) is trading 6.3 per cent lower at $0.75 and Immutep (ASX:IMM) is trading 1.5 per cent higher at $0.34.

We have several broker downgrades listed by companies, Altium (ASX:ALU) cut to neutral from positive at Evans & Partners, with shares up 0.3 per cent to $29.95, Healius (ASX:HLS) cut to neutral vs outperform at Credit Suisse, with shares down 7.5 per cent to $3.88, and Pendal group (ASX:PDL) cut to neutral vs outperform at Credit Suisse, with shares down 2.3 per cent to $5.21.

AGL Energy’s (ASX:AGL) chief executive Graeme Hunt says its largest investor, Mike Cannon-Brookes, may be plotting a third takeover attempt for the power giant and that shareholders are confused about the billionaire’s intentions, according to The Australian. Shares are trading 0.6 per cent higher at $8.25.

Shareholders of the Star Entertainment (ASX:SGR) are understood to have made approaches to prospective suitors of the casino operator, offering up their shares in what some believe is a sign that the company is a takeover target, according to The Australian. Shares are trading 0.7 per cent higher at $2.97.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is health care, up 1.5 per cent. The worst-performing sector is information technology, down 0.9 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lifestyle Communities (ASX:LIC), trading 9.9 per cent higher at $13.33. It is followed by shares in City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) and Life360 (ASX:360).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Link Administration Holdings (ASX:LNK), trading 12.7 per cent lower at $4.34. It is followed by shares in Healius (ASX:HLS) and Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1836.87 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.5 per cent lower at US$128.10 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.61 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.52 US cents.

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