The bumpy week continues for investors, with the ASX 200 up by ~0.4 per cent to 6,851 following a near 1 per cent decline on Tuesday. Keep in mind that the local market hit a fresh 11- month high on Monday, is coming off the back of its best week in two months and is up by around 4 per cent over the first five weeks of 2021.
The US market was largely flat overnight after hitting a record high on Monday and follows a six-day winning streak (its longest since August 2020).
Crown (CWN) has resumed trade after being in a trading halt on Tuesday and is down 3.5 per cent. The market is reacting to the NSW regulator finding that CWN is not suitable to hold a Sydney casino licence in Barangaroo. This follows an 18-month inquiry.
Wednesday is a busy day on the earnings front, with Commonwealth Bank (CBA), CIMIC (CIM) and IAG among the larger names to release their results.
Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is down 1.25 per cent following a 10.8 per cent slide in first half cash profit to $3,886m (for the six months to 31 December 2020). While the result was supported by growth in business and home lending, it was negatively impacted by the low interest rate environment and COVID-19. The number of home loans in deferral improved to ~25,000. This compares to 145,000 as at June 2020. CBA raised its interim dividend by 53 per cent to $1.50 per share while its Net Interest Margin eased by 3bps to 2.01 per cent.
CIMIC (CIM) is a weight on the market, slumping by 15 per cent despite returning to profitability over the year, making $620m and declaring a 60c dividend (first dividend payment since October 2019). Revenue slumped by 20 per cent to $10.6bn partly due to the pandemic, which has led to temporary delays in the award of new projects and a slowdown in business in both Australia and overseas.
IAG is standing out, lifting by 5.9 per cent after gross written premiums jumped by 3.8 per cent to $667m, margins improved and its cash profit rose to $462m. Over the half, lower motor claims provided a boost. With fewer cars on the road, the number of claims declined. Also, the result was boosted by a benign natural perils period.
3.9bn shares have changed hands so far, worth $2.5bn. 659 stocks are up, 600 down and 406 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec