The Australian sharemarket started the morning on a choppy note moving from gains to losses after a mixed close on Wall St. Investors are digesting a raft of third quarter updates as a slew of AGM’s take place. The gains in materials, property and financials were offset with losses across the consumer stocks and communication services.
Across the blue-chip players, Macquarie (ASX:MQG) rose over 1.0 per cent to a record high of $197.99, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is leading out the major four banks, up 0.5 per cent at $28.97. BHP (ASX:BHP) has added 0.8 per cent at $38.87 while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is offsetting gains, down 0.9 per cent at $97.21. CSL (ASX:CSL) are trading 0.8 per cent lower at $2.29.
OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) are trading 2.7 per cent lower at $25.18 on the back of a broker downgrade. Citi dropped its rating from a buy to a neutral as the broker observed that the share price is 20 per cent higher in the last two weeks. They have kept its net profit estimates. Target price lowered to $27.00 from $27.50.
Across the buy-now pay-later giants, Afterpay (ASX:APT) is trading 0.3 per cent higher at $126.67 while Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) are trading, 0.7 per cent lower at $7.06. The moves followed a weak lead from Wall St after the Nasdaq underperformed the major indexes as the yield on the 10-year treasury note rose.
Travel stocks are mixed amid an easing of restrictions in Victoria. Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) are trading fractionally higher by 0.1 per cent at $8.31. Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) is the worst performer on the XJO, diving over 6.0 per cent with Webjet (ASX:WEB) tumbling over 5.3 per cent. The moves followed United Airlines on Wall St closing lower while travel stocks like IAG in London trade sunk almost 5.0 per cent on concerns about rising Covid-19 infections and a new mutation.
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.1 per cent or 10.2 points higher at 7,429. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 3.0 points.
Local economic news
Payroll jobs lifted 0.2 per cent in the fortnight up to 25 September, down 0.6 per cent in the previous fortnight as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Investment manager Perpetual (ASX:PPT) posted a bullish first quarter update. Assets under management jumped 2.7 per cent to $101 billion, helped by $100 million in net inflows. Perpetual Private Funds assets under advice surged 9.0 per cent to $18.5 billion. Shares are on the move soaring over 7.2 per cent at $40.16 as the best performing stock on the ASX 200 this morning.
AMP (ASX:AMP) are surging 3.6 per cent at $1.16 after the wealth provider reported cash outflows of $12 billion under the AMP Capital arm for the September quarter. The wealth management arm lost $1.4 billion at the same time. There were some green shoots, their North platform attracted almost $1.0 billion in net investor capital pushing assets to $58.6 billion.
Gold miner Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) sold 55,075 ounces of gold in the September quarter to bank $127.6 million in revenue. Cash and gold on hand rose to $273.9 million, $39.9 million higher from the June quarter. The gold miner said that they received $30.25 million for the sale of the Kathleen Valley lithium mine. Shares are trading lower by 0.3 per cent at $1.55.
To rival gold miner Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU), shares are trading 0.6 per cent lower at $1.67 after their gold output jumped 10 per cent from the prior period to 112,786 ounces of gold notching a new quarterly record. The Yaouré gold mine was the major contributor to the group’s strong results. Notional cash flow from operations was $103.5 million (US$77.8 million), 25 per cent more than the June quarter.
Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) are 5.2 per cent higher at $48.19 hitting a record high after successfully completing the institutional offer. Under the capital raising, $895 million was generated at an offer price of $41.85 a share. The raising is set to fund U.K. listed gaming company Playtech which soared 56 per cent on the FTSE on Monday.
South32 (ASX:S32) has maintained its financial year 2022 guidance and posted a $338 million (US$254 million) increase in net cash due thanks to higher commodity prices. Manganese production rose 7.0 per cent, maintaining production above nameplate capacity at its Worsley Alumina unit. The miner also restored production to normalised rates at Brazil Alumina this month after an incident in July that damaged a bauxite unloader. Shares are trading 0.1 per cent higher at $3.83.
Santos (ASX:STO) posted a 6.0 per cent jump in quarterly sales revenue of $1.52 billion (US$1.14 billion). Their free cash flow surged 33 per cent at $478 million (US$359 million). Despite the higher production, Santos’ net third quarter production of 21.9 million barrels of oil equivalent was 3.0 per cent lower than the second quarter. One of the reasons for the fall was due to a 25 per cent sell down in Bayu-Undan and Darwin LNG completed at the end of April. Shares are trading 0.6 per cent lower at $7.23.
Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) popped a 19 per cent rise in sales revenue at $1.5 billion from the second quarter despite production fractionally lower by 2.0 per cent amid surging oil prices. The company also inked a deal to merge with BHP’s (ASX:BHP) oil and gas units during the period. Shares in Woodside are trading 1.0 per cent lower at $24.27.
BlueScope (ASX:BSL) has boosted their earnings guidance after stronger than expected prices and demand played a role amid the challenges of the pandemic. The company now expects underlying earnings before interest and tax for the first half of financial year 2022 to be in the range of $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion. This is above the guidance range of $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion previously set and is subject to spread, FX and market conditions. Shares are trading 2.3 per cent higher at $20.58.
CIMIC (ASX:CIM) posted a 9.2 per cent annual lift to $10.9 billion in revenue with NPAT at $303 million for the nine months to 30 September this year. The surge was helped by their Australian construction and services business. Shares are on the move, 6.3 per cent higher at $21.98.
Transurban’s (ASX:TCL) average daily traffic measure fell 12.4 per cent across the toll road operations markets around the globe as the lockdowns from Covid-19 weighed in the September quarter. Traffic in Sydney sank 43.7 per cent, while Brisbane activity rose 4.6 per cent. Shares are 0.4 per cent lower at $13.75.
Healius (ASX:HLS) saw a 44 per cent surge in revenue as Covid-19 testing and better than expected performance boosted the health group’s performance in the September quarter. Quarterly revenue reached $689.9 million, up from $480.2 million in the same period last year. Earnings before interest and tax for the quarter came in at $202 million, 159 per cent surge. Shares are trading 6.4 per cent higher at $4.84.
Ord Minnett downgraded Super Retail (ASX:SUL) to a hold from an accumulate with a lift to the price target to $14.20. The broker downgraded its rating after assessing a full valuation and observed downside risk of up to 7.0 per cent for consensus profit forecasts. This comes despite the like-for-like sales growth under the impression that it was slated to be resilient in the first 16 weeks of the first half.
The broker believes that gross margins have likely peaked at 48 per cent in financial year 2021 and expects them to moderate by 70 basis points per year over the next two years, underpinned by the return of promotions and increased logistics costs. The target price rises to $14.20 from $14.
Shares in Super Retail (ASX:SUL) are trading 5.6 per cent lower at $12.49.
iTech Minerals Ltd (ASX:ITM) official open for trade on the ASX. The floated with an issue price of $0.20 and opened at $0.225.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is real estate investment trusts, up 0.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector is consumer staples, down 0.8 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Perpetual (ASX:PPT) trading 7.1 per cent higher at $40.10. It is followed by shares in Healius (ASX:HLS) and Cimic Group (ASX:CIM).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) trading 6.6 per cent lower at $20.23. It is followed by shares in Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) and Webjet (ASX:WEB).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1782.18 an ounce.
Iron ore is flat at US$124.07 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.68 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.25 US cents.
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