Australia’s stock market opened lower before paring some lunchtime losses despite tech, financials and energy stocks still weighing on the index. It comes after Wall St’s mixed close after three straight days of losses as investors mull over several factors ahead of the next print of inflation.
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.2% or 14.40 points at 7036.80. SPI futures are pointing down 8 points.
On the local index, information technology led the losses, down 0.9%, followed by financials and energy, both down 0.7%. In contrast, healthcare led the pack, up 1.5%, followed by real estate, up 0.4%, and then materials, up 0.1%. All other sectors are in the red.
Link administration weighs on the technology space (ASX: LNK)down 12.7% to 4.34% as the biggest laggard after a “pause in trading” announcement, while Block (ASX:SQ2) is trading down 1.3% at $121.06.
National Bank of Australia (ASX:NAB) is weighing on major banks, down 3.9% to $30.54 as it trades ex-dividend today. All other banks down except Macquarie (ASX: MQG) which is slightly higher by 0.1% at $180.28.
Energy stocks under pressure due to concerns over near-term demand and higher energy costs. Woodside Oil (ASX: WPL) is down 1.1% at $30.42 and Santos (ASX:STO) is down 0.4% at $7.91, while Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) is trading up 1.7% at $1.64.
On a more positive note, the heavy miners are rising. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) rose 1.1% to $104.10, Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) added 0.7% to $19.25 and BHP Group (ASX: BHP) is trading up 0.2% at $45.13.
Gold stocks are mixed. North Star (ASX:NST) is up 0.5% at $8.77, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) trades at $3.58 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is trading down 0.6% at $24.92.
Local economic news
Consumer sentiment fell 5.6% in May to its lowest level since August 2020 at 90.4, down for the sixth consecutive month amid soaring inflation and rising interest rates. interest, according to the Westpac Melbourne Institute.
Global demand for Australian raw materials and favorable planting conditions have led GrainCorp (ASX: CNG) to report a record half-year result for the six months ending March 31. Its after-tax profit rose to $246 million from $51 million a year ago, while it confirmed FY22 profit guidance of $310 million to $370 million. Graincorp said the conflict in Ukraine has prompted buyers to seek alternative sources of supply, while recent weather events have also provided excellent planting conditions. An interim dividend of 24 cents per share will be paid on July 21. The shares are trading down 2.8% at $10.26.
pushpay (ASX:PPH) posted a 7% increase in after-tax profit for the full year to March 31, when no dividends were declared. Pushpay said its priorities had been affected by a shift in software buying behavior and church consolidation, as well as Covid-19 disruptions and a competitive labor market. Its revenue rose 12% from a year earlier, while the company said it expects double-digit revenue growth of between 10 and 15% in FY23. The shares are trading down 1.3% at $1.17.
Meanwhile, David George has been named Magellan Financials’ (ASX:MFG) new CEO and Managing Director, taking office on August 8. For the past 14 years, David has served as Deputy Chief Investment Officer for Public Markets at Future Fund. Kirsten Morton will become chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Magellan, having served as interim CEO during global research. The shares are trading up 2.7% at $16.29.
CSR (ASX: CSR) reported increased revenue and earnings for the fiscal year ending March 31, driven by growth in building products and improving aluminum prices. The industrial company’s trading revenue of $2.3 billion was up 9% from a year earlier. The shares are trading up 2% at $5.80.
Money3 financial lender (ASX:MNY) announced the implementation of a market buyback program of up to $15 million as part of the company’s capital management strategy. The shares are trading up 3.1% at $2.30.
Nearmap Aerial Imagery Company (ASX:NEA) filed a supplemental inter partes examination (IPR) against a patent from competitors EagleView and Pictometry that EagleView asserted in litigation it filed against Nearmap. The shares are trading down 2.9% at $1.16.
What else is on guard?
GPT group (ASX:GPT) At its scheduled annual meeting, the shares are trading up 1.3% at $4.75.
Amid biotech M&A news on Wall St, where Biohaven Pharmaceutical soared 68.4% after signing a deal with Pfizer worth US$11.6 billion: Antisense Therapeutics (ASX:ANP) is trading up 5% at $0.10, Kazia Therapeutics (ASX: KZA) is trading down 6.3% to $0.75 and Immutep (ASX: IMM) is trading up 1.5% at $0.34.
We have several broker downgrades listed by companies, Altium (ASX: ALU) cut to neutral from positive at Evans & Partners, with shares up 0.3% at $29.95, Healius (ASX:HLS) cut to neutral against outperformance at Credit Suisse, with shares down 7.5% at $3.88, and Pendal Group (ASX:PDL) cut to neutral against outperformance at Credit Suisse, with shares down 2.3% at $5.21.
AGL Energy (ASX: AGL) Chief executive Graeme Hunt has said his biggest investor, Mike Cannon-Brookes, may be plotting a third takeover bid for the power giant and shareholders are confused about the billionaire’s intentions, according to The Australian. The shares are trading up 0.6% at $8.25.
Star Entertainment shareholders (ASX: SGR) are believed to have approached potential suitors for the casino operator, offering their shares in what some believe is a sign the company is a takeover target, according to The Australian. The shares are trading up 0.7% at $2.97.
Best and Worst Performers
The best performing sector was Health Care, up 1.5%. The worst performing sector was information technology, down 0.9%.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lifestyle Communities (ASX:LIC), trading up 9.9% at $13.33. It is followed by actions in City Chic Collective (ASX: CCX) and Life360 (ASX:360).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Link Administration Holdings (ASX: LNK), trading down 12.7% at $4.34. It is followed by Healius shares (ASX:HLS) and Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,836.87 per ounce.
Iron ore is 2.5% lower at US$128.10 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing up 4.61%.
One Australian dollar buys 69.52 US cents.