Travel stocks lift, Wesfarmers drag: ASX gain 0.4% over the week

The Australian share market fell lower after trading flat at lunchtime. At the closing bell, the ASX was 0.04 per cent or 3 points lower at 7,488. Over the week, it gained 0.4 per cent or 27 points.

Investors are digesting another day of earnings results albeit on a quieter schedule as they wait for the virtual meeting where Fed Chair Jerome Powell is set to make a speech at the Jackson Hole symposium. Central bankers around the world are expected to meet and uncover clues on when the central bank will look to taper their asset purchases program.

Across the sectors, performances were mixed. Technology and Consumer Discretionary dragged, while Utilities, Industrials and Health Care were higher. 

Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) surprised investors with a $2.3 billion return of capital after a bumper year, following a 16 per cent jump in FY21 profit. Despite the news, the retail giant closed 2.9 per cent lower.

Appen (ASX:APZ) continued its losses, closing 5.8 per cent lower. Meanwhile buy-now-pay-later giants Afterpay (ASX:APT) and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) closed 1.6 and 2.4 per cent lower.  

Travel stocks rebounded this week amid a rise in vaccination rates. Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) closed 2.2 per cent higher, while Qantas (ASX:QAN) closed 2 per cent higher. 

Onto banks, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) closed 0.2 per cent higher with NAB (ASX:NAB) 0.3 per cent higher. Meanwhile, Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.2 per cent lower and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) closed 0.5 per cent lower.

Heavyweight miners had a volatile day after yesterdays session. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.4 per cent higher, BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.4 per cent lower and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 0.7 per cent lower. 

Local economic news

Australian retail turnover fell 2.7 per cent in July 2021, seasonally adjusted, according to the retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This was the largest monthly fall this year and follows a fall of 1.8 per cent in June 2021, after a rise of 0.4 per cent in May 2021.

Company news

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here. 

Integral Diagnostics (ASX: IDX) reported revenue of $350.9 million for the year ending 30 Jun 2021, up 27.2 per cent from the prior year.

Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) are rewarding their shareholders with a 17.1 per cent bump to their full-year dividend along with a surprise $2.3 billion proposed capital return at $2 per share.

BWX (ASX:BWX) reported revenue of $194.1 million for the year ending 30 Jun 2021, compared to $187.7 million in the prior year.

Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) reported revenue of $400.8 million for the year ending 30 Jun 2021, down 12 per cent from the prior year. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 79 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 12 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 54 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a flat start when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Industrials, up 1.1 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Consumer Discretionary, down 1.6 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV), closing 18 per cent higher at $34.49. It was followed by shares in Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) and Blackmores (ASX:BKL).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), closing 6.6 per cent lower at $2.07. It was followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and Nextdc (ASX:NXT).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.1 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.5 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 0.3 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 1.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1803.76 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.9 per cent higher at US$152.92 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.1 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.10 higher at US$68.52 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.50 US cents.
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