ASX rises 0.3% on energy, tech boost; Nanosonics, Webjet lead

Highlights

  • Australian benchmark index, the ASX 200, gained 0.4% to hit a high of 7,518.70 by lunch.
  • The market rally was driven by a gain in energy, tech and gold mining stocks.
  • Oil Search, Boral, Ansell, Seek, Viva Energy, Perenti Global, HUB24 released their earnings report this morning.
  • Nanosonics topped the gainer list, while Monadelphous Group emerged as the worst performer.
  • New South Walesreported 753 new locally acquired cases in the past 24 hours, while Victoria’s daily case tally declined to 50.

Australian shares extended gain for the second day on firm global cues and flurry of company results. A surge in buying across energy, tech and gold mining stocks also supported the market. However, the concerns about a consistent rise in COVID-19 cases limited the market’s gain.

The ASX 200 was trading 21.30 points or 0.28% higher at 7,511.20 by the lunchtime. The index opened higher, tracking positive cues from Wall Street, and gained as much as 0.4% to hit a high of 7,518.70.  

In the overnight trade, US stocks ended at a record high as market sentiment was boosted by the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) nod to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech. The move is likely to accelerate vaccination drive in the US. Boosted by the development, the Dow Jones gained 0.6%, while the benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.8%. The NASDAQ Composite rose 1.5% to close at a record high.

Back home, investors reacted to corporate earnings announcement with some big companies such as Oil Search, Boral, Ansell, Seek, Viva Energy, Perenti Global, HUB24, Austal, Spark Infrastructure announcing their result this morning.  

On the sectoral front, six of the 11 sectors were trading in the red zone. The energy sector was the best performer with a 2.5% gain, driven by a spurt in crude oil prices. The Brent crude rose 5.2% to US468.58 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 5.3% to US$65.46 per barrel.  

                       

What's buzzing at Nanosonics & Webjet: Top ASX Gainers today!

 

The Energy sector was followed by information technology, which surged 1.15%, tracking overnight gains in the US counterpart, NASDAQ Composite. Among others, material, financial and A-REIT also witnessed a surge in buying activities.  

Bucking the trend, the consumer staples sector extended loss for the second day, falling nearly 0.7%. Among others, consumer discretionary, industrial, telecom, health care and utilities stocks were trading in red.  

On the COVID-19 front, New South Wales reported 753 new locally acquired cases on Tuesday, compared to 818 cases registered on Monday. Premier Gladys Berejiklian says NSW is on track to ease some curbs later this week, as the state hits a target of 6 million jabs. Meanwhile, Victoria’s daily case tally declined to 50, while capital territory region Canberra recorded 30 new cases of COVID-19. 

Top gainers and losers

Image source: katjen, Shutterstock.com

Australian infection prevention company Nanosonics (ASX: NAN) was the top gainer on the ASX with a 17.5% gain. Some of the other notable gainers were digital travel business Webjet (ASX: WEB), retail travel outlet Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX: FLT), real estate firm Scentre (ASX: SCG) and internet service provider Uniti Group (ASX: UWL).

On the flip side, engineering services firm Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) topped the loser chart by falling over 15%. Some of the other worst performers were online retailer Kogan.com (ASX: KGN), health care firm Ansell (ASX: ANN), construction material group Boral (ASX: BLD) and health insurance company NIB Holdings (ASX: NHF).

Shares in news

The share price of oil and gas producer Oil Search (ASX: OSH) climbed nearly 3% post earnings release. The revenue rose 7% to US$667.7 million in the first half of the year, while core net profit zoomed 463% to US$139 million. The company, which has announced its merger with Santos, declared an interim dividend of 3.3 US cents a share, its best dividend since 2019.

Mining services company Perenti Global (ASX: PRN) shares rose nearly 2% following the earnings report for the 2021 financial year. The statutory net profit after tax and amortisation stood at AU$75.3 million in the second half of FY21, compared to a first-half statutory loss of AU$63.8 million. Revenue slipped marginally to AU$2.02 billion, from AU$2.04 billion in FY20.

Ansell (ASX: ANN), engaged in the manufacturing of protective industrial and medical gloves, saw its shares falling over 9% despite declaring a record dividend for the 2021 financial year. The company announced a final dividend of 43.6 US cents, its highest dividend payment on record, after it reported robust growth in its earnings.

Australian engineering firm Monadelphous Group’s (ASX: MND) shares dropped 15% after unveiling earnings for the 2021 financial year. The profit rose by 29% to AU$47.1 million, while the revenue surged 18% to AU$1.75 billion, helped by a surge in demand for its services, especially in Western Australia. The company also declared a final fully franked dividend of 21 cents a share, much higher than 13 cents paid a year ago.

Financial services firm HUB24 (ASX: HUB) shares nosedived over 14% even after it hiked dividend following growth in its earnings. The company declared a final fully franked dividend of 5.5 cents per share for the 2021 financial year, up 57% compared to last fiscal. Meanwhile, net profit after tax jumped 53% to AU$15 million, while underlying group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 47% to AU$36.2 million.

The share price of global shipbuilding company Austal (ASX: ASB) tumbled over 12% after it reported a drop in its earnings. The revenue dropped by 24.6% to AU$1.57 billion for the 2021 financial year, while earnings before interest and taxes declined 21% to AU$114.6 million. Net profit after tax stood at AU$81.1 million, compared to AU$89 million in FY20.

Australian investment fund Spark Infrastructure (ASX: SKI) shares gained nearly 0.5% after it released results for the six months ended 30 June 2021. The regulated and contracted asset base (RCAB) increased by 4.5% to AU$6.9 billion in the first half of the year, while look-through net operating cash flow rose 6.6% to AU$201.2 million.

Shares of medical technology company Nanosonics (ASX: NAN) rallied over 17% on robust earnings. The company reported significant growth in the second half of the 2021 financial year, with revenue rising by 39% compared to the first half. For the full year, the revenue increased by 3% to AU$103.1 million, while operating profit before tax dropped to AU$11 million, from AU$12.4 million in FY20. The company’s global installed base surged 13% to 26,750 unites.

Construction materials manufacturer Boral (ASX: BLD) saw its shares dropping over 5% after it scrapped dividend despite a rise in profit. The profit rebounded to AU$639.9 million in the 2021 financial year, compared to a AU$1.14-billion loss a year earlier. The revenue dropped 6.7% to AU$5.3 billion.

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