Market open: Tech leads as materials fall, ASX up 0.4% in muted trade

Thanks for tuning in. The Aussie sharemarket is off to a muted open, rising 0.4 per cent to 7,369 with almost a broad-based rally. Taking a strong lead from Wall St, info tech is in the winner’s seat up 3 per cent while materials are in the loser’s circle, down 0.8 per cent.

For the stocks that are on watch today, shares in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) have tumbled 6 per cent to $24.20 after unveiling its profit guidance below expectations.

Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) jumped 3 per cent to $35.81 amid a broker upgrade. Credit Suisse believes the market is underestimating the opportunity that remains for the company in Covid-19 testing.  Sonic Healthcare’s share price has tumbled by 22 per cent year to date. With the shift to rapid antigen tests, the broker believes PCR testing levels have stabilised at 80,000 per day and expects this will normalise to 50,000 tests per day, forecasting a $890 million second half revenue benefit compared to the $1.3 billion achieved in the first half. The rating is upgraded to outperform from neutral with a target price of $40.

Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) has taken-off by 1 per cent to $1.07 amid the broad rally among travel stocks, as investors shrug off the changes in holding notices by three founding families.

In terms of stocks, Block (ASX:SQ2) is the best performing stock, surging almost 8 per cent to $188.84, followed by your financial stocks, Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK), up 5.2 per cent and Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR), trading 4.7 per cent higher.

The laggards other than Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) as the worst performers are Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) and Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU). Gold players are in the red with Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) and Northern Star (ASX:NST) both down by 0.2 per cent each.