From Metcash to Boral: What swayed these 5 ASX stocks today

Highlights

  • Metcash shares topped the ASX gainers’ chart as investors cheered its earnings report.
  • Boral shares surged after it signed a deal to sell its North American fly ash business.
  • Shares of Bapcor declined 9% on the sudden exit of its CEO.
  • Sigma Healthcare plunged 7.7% after it downgraded profit guidance for the current fiscal.
  • Magellan Financial shares fell more than 6% despite posting growth in funds under management.

Australian shares witnessed lacklustre trade on Monday as weak global cues and persistent concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on economic growth weighed on the domestic market. The ASX 200 index fell 0.2% by mid-session, dragged by tech and healthcare stocks. The top laggards on the ASX were buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) business Zip Co (ASX: ZIP), software business Nearmap (ASX:NEA), global online retailer Redbubble (ASX:RBL), auto parts retailer Bapcor (ASX:BAP), and e-commerce firm Kogan.com (ASX:KGN).

Individual stocks that created buzz on the ASX today included Metcash, Boral, Bapcor, Sigma Healthcare, and Magellan Financial. Here’s how these ASX stocks performed today:

Metcash

Shares of Metcash (ASX: MTS) rallied as much as 6.8% to hit an intraday high of AU$4.22 apiece on Monday. The wholesales groceries operator was the top gainer on the ASX as investors cheered its earnings report.

The supermarket groceries operator reported 3% growth in statutory profit to AU$128.8 million during the first half of the current fiscal, while underlying profit surged 13.1% to AU$146.6 million.

During the period under review, revenue increased 1.3% to AU$7.2 billion, while underlying earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 13.9% to AU$231.2 million.

The earnings were driven by a shift in consumer behaviour and improved competitiveness of its retail networks supported by the success of its MFuture program, says Jeff Adam, Group CEO

Boosted by strong first half earnings, the company also raised its interim dividend by 31% to 10.5 cents per share.

Boral

Shares of Boral (ASX: BLD) gained as much as 3.7% to AU$6.40 after the building and construction materials signed a deal to sell its North American fly ash business.

The concrete and asphalt company has inked a pact with Eco Material Technologies Inc to sell its North American fly ash business for around AU$1 billion. The fund proceeds will add to surplus capital, which would be returned to shareholders at a relevant time, says the company.

The transaction, subject to requite regulatory approval, is expected to complete in FY22.

The move is part of the company’s strategy to complete portfolio realignment and refocus back on its construction materials business in Australia.

Commenting on the development, Boral chief executive Zlatko Todorcevski said, “We have undertaken a rigorous and competitive process to determine the best outcome for Boral in relation to the Fly Ash business and we are pleased to announce an agreement to sell the business to Eco Material Technologies.”

“For Boral’s shareholders, we have now unlocked substantial value through a successful divestment program,” Todorcevski added.

Bapcor

Shares of Bapcor (ASX:BAP) have declined 9.1% so far during the day’s trade to touch a new 52-week low of AU$6.17. The share price tumbled after the auto parts retailer announced the sudden exit of its CEO and MD Darryl Abotomey.

The Bapcor share price has declined nearly 21% over the last one month since the announcement of retirement of Abotomey by early next year.

Abotomey, who had been associated with the company for the last 10 years, was slated to retire by the end of February 2022. However, he has been removed from his position with immediate effect following a fallout with the company’s board.

The board has appointed Noel Meehan, Bapcor’s CFO, as Acting CEO, with immediate effect, while Chair Margie Haseltine has been assigned the role of Executive Chair.

Sigma Healthcare

Shares of Sigma Healthcare (ASX: SIG) nosedived 7.7% to hit the day’s low of AU$0.48 after it lowered profit guidance for the current financial year.

The company, which owns Australian pharmacy retail brands such as Amcal Max, DDS, Amcal and Guardian, expects the underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) to drop around 10% during the financial year ending January 2022 (FY22) as compared to the previous year.

The earnings downgrade reflects a challenging second half of the financial year, which has been impacted by shorter-term operational issues resulting from the rollout of its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

Magellan Financial Group

Shares of Australian investment manager Magellan Financial Group (ASX: MFG) fell as much as 6.2% to AU$30.35 during the session even after it posted growth in funds under management for the last month.

The funds under management (FUM) climbed 1.4% in November to AU$116.4 billion from AU$114.8 billion in the month of October.

Retail FUM dropped marginally to AU$30.2 billion, compared to AU$30.3 billion in the previous month, while institutional FUM rose to AU$86.2 billion, from AU$84.5 billion.

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