ASX ends April with its best 2-day performance, closes 1.1% higher but with a weekly fall of 0.5%

The Australian sharemarket had a buoyant session led by technology, communication services and consumer discretionary, while materials added the least in a broad-based rally. The Aussie dollar rose over 0.6 per cent during the session, ending April with its best two-day performance for 2022.

Quarterly updates saw mixed reactions across the local bourse with PointsBet (ASX:PBH) up 10.7 per cent to $3.00 as the top performer, which saw a 54 per cent increase in turnover to over $1.3 billion during the March quarter. The online betting business said the result was driven by a 70 per cent increase in US turnover to $818.8 million, and a 37 per cent increase in Australia to $579.4 million.

ResMed (ASX:RMD) dropped 4.6 per cent to $28.97 as the second-worst performer despite reporting a 12 per cent increase in revenue during the March quarter, driven by strong demand in its sleep and respiratory care segment. Its gross margin decreased by 140 basis points mainly due to higher freight and manufacturing costs, partially offset by favourable product changes and increased selling prices.

Life360 (ASX:360) led the tech space, up 5 per cent to $4.00 per cent although no official company news was released today.

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) led major banks higher, up 1.8 per cent to $206.98, while Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) added the least points, up 0.6 per cent to $103.88.

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) led energy stocks higher, up 2.5 per cent higher at $1.63. Santos (ASX:STO) rose 1.3 per cent to $8.00 and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 0.8 per cent higher at $31.15.

Higher energy prices during the March quarter led Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) to report an increase in revenue quarter despite wet weather impacts. Its Australia Pacific LNG business in Queensland increased revenue by 15 per cent, while financial year to date revenue increased by 104 per cent, driven by higher oil and gas prices. Shares closed 1.8 per cent higher at $6.83.

Gold stocks were steady after Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) rose 1.3 per cent to $4.05, Northern Star (ASX:NST) added 0.7 per cent to $9.82 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closed 0.6 per cent higher at $26.88.

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) weighed on iron ore players, down 0.5 per cent to $21.63, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) finished flat at $112.83 and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) closed flat at $48.01.

Elsewhere, shares in Kogan.com (ASX:KGN) tumbled 13.2 per cent to $3.94 after reporting a decline in sales during the March quarter. The online retailer’s gross sales fell 3.8 per cent from the prior year period after consumer demand did not meet expectations. Kogan.com said the moderation in gross sales during the quarter was largely driven by “general market factors”, including a slow-down in eCommerce activity in Australia.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1.1 per cent or 78 points higher at 7,435. Over the week it closed 0.5 per cent or 38 points lower.

What else was on watch today?

Producer prices for the March quarter rose 1.6 per cent, and jumped 4.9 per cent over the past twelve months, driven by construction materials, crude oil and skilled trade shortages, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) posted a 59 per cent drop in profit after tax during the March quarter as Covid-related issues and higher operating costs continued to impact the healthcare system. However, its revenue lifted 5.7 per cent during the quarter as activity levels started to improve after elective surgery restrictions were lifted in Australia. Shares closed 0.6 per cent lower at $81.10.

Reliance Worldwide (ASX:RWC) reported a 14 per cent increase in sales during the nine months to March 31 after it increased prices in all regions to offset cost pressures. However, its adjusted EBITDA fell 4 per cent from the prior year period as the company dealt with higher inflation, particularly in copper and steel, as well as shipping pressures and rising energy costs. Shares closed 1 per cent lower at $3.97.

Quarterly updates were also released for IGO (ASX:IGO), with shares down 0.8 per cent to $13.21, and Oceanagold (ASX:OGC), with shares up 7.9 per cent to $3.43.

A couple of broker ratings, CLSA downgraded ASX (ASX:ASX) to underperform, shares jumped 2.3 per cent to $86,66.

Morgan Stanley reinstated Domino’s Pizza (ASX:DMP) to overweight with a price target of $100, with shares down 4.1 per cent to $75.31 as the worst performer, however, the pressure was with its US counterpart after the pizza maker missed quarterly sales estimates and warned that labour shortages and inflation would put downward pressure onto its business further into the year, sending shares down 5 per cent on Wall St.

Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) was on the box seat for a $2.1 billion deal for Melbourne’s Southern Cross Towers, according to The Australian. Shares closed 0.7 per cent higher at $15.57.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 12 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 14 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 90 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 55 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

All sectors closed in the black. The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 2.3 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains was Materials, up 0.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH), closing 10.7 per cent higher at $3.00. It was followed by shares in Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) and Zip Co (ASX:ZIP).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Domino Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP), closing 4.1 per cent lower at $75.31. It was followed by shares in ResMed (ASX:RMD) and Pro Medicus (ASX:PME).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei is closed due to Showa Day.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 2.8 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 2.1 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 0.3 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.4 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1908.45 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.1 per cent higher at US$142.00 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.3 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.59 higher at US$105.95 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.52 US cents.