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The Aussie sharemarket is improving for a second day and is closing in on record highs thanks partly to a strong reaction to CBA’s half year results. The ASX 200 is up 35pts or 0.5 per cent to 7,089.6 thanks to gains across almost all sectors.

Commonwealth Bank’s (CBA) 3.5 per cent surge is accounting for around half the market’s total gains on its own. Its 1H20 cash profit slipped by 4.3 per cent to $4,477m, however this was ahead of market expectations. Its Net Interest Margin (NIM) edged higher by 1bp to 2.11 per cent despite the record low interest rate environment. CBA said it expects the cash rate will negatively impact NIM by 5bps in 2H20. CBA has kept its interim dividend steady at $2 per share.

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is up 2 per cent despite posting a 43.4 per cent slide in half year profit and a 2c drop to its dividend (10c). IAG has raised its FY20 natural peril claims expectations to $850m.

Downer EDI (DOW) is down 3.2 per cent after disappointing investors with its results. Earnings fell by 35.7 per cent to $86.3m due to weakness in its Engineering, Construction and Maintenance business.

Evolution Mining (EVN) posted a 62 per cent lift in underlying profit to $149m, improved margins, doubled its interim dividend to 7c and paid off all its debt. A significant lift in the gold price was the main contributor to the result and offset slightly softer production.

CSL Limited (CSL) is up 0.7 per cent after posting a 10 per cent lift in sales, 11.3 per cent surge in NPAT and raised its profit forecasts for the year. CSL shares have improved by ~17 per cent Year-to-Date, became the first company on the Aussie market to crack $300 per share last month and is hovering around record highs.

Blackmores (BKL) is down by 15 per cent after resuming trade from a two-day trading halt. The vitamin group cut its profit expectations for the full year, now expecting to make between $17-$21m in net profit. It blamed this partly on the October 2019 purchase of a manufacturing facility in Victoria. This has pushed costs higher as it takes the time to adjust. BKL also blamed the coronavirus as China is a key market for the group. It accounts for around 20 per cent of sales. China has experienced a dip in travel which has impacted Duty Free, e-commerce partners and imports into China.

1.4bn shares have changed hands so far worth $3.4bn. 567 stocks are up, 472 are down and 335 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec