Latest news

The Australian sharemarket has had a shaky start to the new week, with the ASX 200 edging higher at lunch thanks to strong gains from resource stocks. The index rose most on the open, before fading after around 30 minutes of trade as most sectors sink.

With just two trading days left in August, the annual profit reporting season is almost done and the market’s chances for an extended 11 straight months of gains improve.

The market is being held up by mining and energy stocks. A near 4 per cent lift in the iron ore price, 2 per cent advance for oil and 1.5 per cent jump for gold have been helpful. Fortescue (FMG) is standing out, lifting by 6 per cent after delivering record full year results. Profits grew to US$10.3bn, while its $2.11 per share final dividend has doubled thanks to surging iron ore prices over the year. The dividend is ~10 per cent of its share price.

Invocare (IVC) is lifting by 7 per cent after the cemetery and funeral home operator swung back to profitability. Fewer lockdowns over the six months to June led to larger gatherings, a 13 per cent gain in revenue and a $44m half year profit (following an $18m loss a year earlier). IVC has declared a 9.5c interim dividend and has warned the most recent COVID restrictions will weigh on its second half. It has declined to provide guidance.

Crown (CWN) reported a $261.6m loss for the year and a 31.3 per cent drop in revenue to $1.54bn. COVID related lockdowns and ongoing scrutiny from regulators was a headwind for the casino group. CWN shares are quiet today but have slumped by ~30 per cent in three months.

Healius (HLS), Booktopia (BKG) and Nuix (NXL) are all under pressure despite mixed results.

Woodside (WPL), Ansell (ANN), Beach (BPT), Challenger (CGF) and Evolution (EVN) are some of the names trading exdividend on Monday. BHP will trade ex-dividend for its $2.73 payment on Thursday. This will be BHP’s largest ever dividend payment (around 3 ½ times last year’s payment).

Major oil producers will meet virtually on Wednesday at the OPEC+ monthly talks. During the meetings, producers tend to make a decision on oil production targets for the month ahead, which can impact oil prices. On the economic front, the latest updates on August property prices and June quarter GDP are due on Wednesday and will likely be highlights on the economic front in Australia.

2.2bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $3.2bn. 818 stocks are up, 588 down and 346 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec