From Westpac to Healius: Five shares that grabbed headlines today

Highlights

  • Westpac shares dropped 1% on termination of talk to sell pacific business.
  • Douugh shares fall on plan to list in United States.
  • Shares of Janus Henderson Group rose on plan to launch ESG fund.
  • Zip Co shares surged 5% on plans to foray into the Indian market.
  • Healius climbed 1.4% following update on sale of Adora fertility.

Australian shares traded higher in volatile trade on Wednesday as investors cheered China’s real estate giant Evergrande’s deal with bondholders. The market sentiment also got a lift as energy and mining stocks rebounded strongly following spurt in commodity prices. Seven of 11 sectors were trading in green, while financial and tech stocks witnessed selling pressure.

Here are five ASX-listed shares that hogged the limelight today:

Westpac terminates talks to sell pacific business

Shares of Australia’s leading bank Westpac (ASX: WBC) dropped as much as 1.15% to AU$24.90 after the lender dropped a plan to sale its major stake in Westpac PNG to Kina Securities (ASX: KSL). Meanwhile, the share price of Kina Securities surged 7.1% to hit an intraday high of AU$0.90 following the announcement.

Financial services firm Kina was in discussion with the lender to buy Westpac Fiji and Westpac’s 89.91% shares in Westpac Bank PNG. The decision was taken after Papua New Guinea’s Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) denied authorisation for Kina’s proposed acquisition of Westpac PNG.

Janus Henderson to launch ESG fund

Shares of global fund manager Janus Henderson Group (ASX: JHC) witnessed choppy trade today. The stock declined nearly 1% in early trade, before rebounding strongly to rose as much as 1.6% to AU$41.35.

The company updated its shareholder this morning that it plans to launch its flagship environmental, social and governance fund (ESG). The move is being seen as part of the plan to capitalize in on growing demand for sustainable investing.

The Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity fund has AU$4.7 billion in assets and will launch on the local market as an active exchange traded fund.

Zip Co to buy minority stake in India’s ZestMoney

Payment solutions company Zip Co (ASX: ZIP) shares rallied as much as 5.1% to AU$6.56 after it unveiled plan to foray into the Indian buy now, pay later (BNPL) market.

The company will buy a minority stake in Indian Indian peer, ZestMoney. It will invest US$50 million (AU$69 million) in Bengaluru-based fintech ZestMoney to tap new growth markets with a massive young demographic.

Zip, Australia's second biggest BNPL player, believes that India has the potential to become one of the largest markets globally. The company is estimated to have US$300 billion in buy now, pay later payment volume by FY26.

Healius updates on sale of Adora fertility

Shares of pathology operator Healius (ASX: HLS) climbed 1.4% to AU$5 after it issued update on sale of Adora fertility centre to Virtus Health.

The company stated that Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) public review into the sale of its fertility treatments business is not concerning. The company said that the completion of the sale is not conditional on any regulatory approvals and it expects the deal to complete on time by second quarter of FY22. Last month, fellow ASX-listed firm Virtus Health (ASX:VRT) entered into a share sale agreement to acquire Adora Fertility and three day hospitals from Healius.

Douugh to list on OTCBQ Venture market in US

The share price of small cap fintech Douugh (ASX: DOU) dropped as much as 6.3% to AU$0.074 after it unveiled plan to list on the OTCBQ Venture market in the United States.

The digital banking app has taken this decision to capitalise on increasing demand from US based customers and investors. OTCBQ Venture market facilitates trading of securities which are not listed on major exchanges. It features 11,000 US and international stocks and attracts early-stage and developing tech companies wanting to build momentum in the United States.

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