The Australian sharemarket has closed flat after being tugged in opposite directions by mixed earnings reports from 16 of the nation’s top 200 companies.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 4.2 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 6,059.4 points at 1615 AEDT on Thursday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 0.6 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 6,139.6.
‘Ironically, the index has been very calm,’ masking a busy day for the local bourse, said CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.
Telstra, Suncorp Group, AMP and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield were all lower after disappointing investors with earnings reports.
Telstra, Australia’s most widely held stock by individual investors, closed down 2.18 per cent, to $3.14, on a see-saw day after it cut its interim payout to shareholders.
It traded as low as $3, but ‘the optimism of the CEO must have caught some ears,’ with shares recovering later in the day, Mr McCarthy said.
AMP shares dropped 7.79 per cent as the company cut its dividend 10.5 cents to 4 cents, on the back of a 97 per cent drop in profits.
AMP chief executive Francesco De Ferrari said he believed there was still ‘a lot of goodwill around the AMP brand’ despite the roasting the company took at the financial services royal commission for misconduct.
‘A terrible set of numbers, and some would say an unbelievable set of comments by the CEO,’ said Mr McCarthy, adding the company seemed to still be in denial about its loss of public trust.
On the flip side, miner and minerals company South32, commercial property group Goodman Group, Cleanaway Waste Management, Woodside Petroleum, Breville and Magellan Financial Group all shot upward after releasing positive results.
Breville shares skyrocketed 18.01 per cent, hitting an all-time high at $14.09, after the kitchen appliance company said profits had risen 20 per cent.
Magellan shares were up 9.9 per cent, to $32.09, after the funds manager boosted its dividend two-thirds on a 62 per cent lift in first-half profit.
Mr McCarthy called the company’s results ‘stunning’.
South32 shares moved up 3.54 per cent, to $3.80, after the Perth company raised its dividend and said its profit was up 18 per cent.
The Aussie dollar moved higher, buying 71.21 US cents, from 70.95 US cents on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 4.2 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 6,059.4 points at 1630 AEDT on Thursday.
* The All Ordinaries was down 0.6 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 6,139.6.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 8 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 6021.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.21 US cents, from 70.95 US on Wednesday
* 79.02 Japanese yen, from 78.87
* 63.11 euro cents, from 62.90
* 55.33 British pence, from 55.25
* 104.24 NZ cents, from 104.10
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1308.70 per fine ounce, from $US1306.25 on Wednesday.