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The Aussie market has had a fairly mixed start to Thursday’s session but is pushing higher around midday. The ASX 200 swung between gains and losses early but has now risen 14 points or 0.2% to 6,900.

Financials, healthcare and IT are among the main contributors to broader improvement while industrials,
energy and property are the main laggards.

It has been another busy day on the profit reporting front with a plethora of updates coming through.

ANZ Bank (ANZ) is adding 3.1% on the back of its quarterly update. It follows NAB and Westpac (WBC) to release quarterly numbers this week. Like its peers, quarterly cash earnings were better than expectations as bad debts were lower than anticipated. ANZ’s cash earnings from continuing operations was $1.84 billion.

CSL Limited (CSL) is another winner, up 2.4% on the back of profit numbers. The largest listed health company on the ASX saw first half net profit after tax (NPAT) of US$1.8 billion, up 44% on strength in its immunoglobulin business and a change in its distribution model in China. However, CSL could see blood plasma collection negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rio Tinto (RIO) is 1% higher having released its FY20 earnings after market close yesterday. Due to the strength in iron ore prices, its net profit rose 22% to US$9.77 billion while its final dividend increased to a record A$5.17/share. Fortescue Metals (FMG) was also boosted by iron ore prices with first half profit up 66% to US$4.1 billion and will pay a A$1.47/share interim dividend. FMG is up 2.4%.

Casino operators Crown Resorts (CWN) and Star Entertainment (SGR) are both lifting on profit results. Even as both reported sharp declines in revenue and profit on impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and much lower VIP turnover as international borders remain closed.

On the economic front, January jobs data saw employment rise 29,100, just shy of a 30,000 rise. Full-time jobs rose by 59,000 while part-time roles dropped 29,800. The unemployment rate fell to 6.4% from 6.6%. The AUD is now buying 77.6 US cents.

Published by CommSec