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Aussie shares were down again during the morning session, falling 78.1 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 7,018 just before lunch. The move lower followed weak markets on Wall Street overnight as rising commodity prices and fears of labour shortages drove expectations of higher inflation and interest rates.

IT was the only sector in the green at midday, up 1.7 per cent. Amongst the worst performers so far are utilities, down 2.5 per cent, property which fell 2.3 per cent and energy, down 1.8 per cent. Iron ore has eased back from record highs set a session earlier, down $0.65 or 0.3 per cent to US$228.90 per tonne.

A number of results are being published today. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is out with its Q3 trading update, showing a cash profit of $2.4b, up 24 per cent from the 1H. “Loan impairment expense significantly lower as improved outlook resulted in reduction in collective provisioning levels.”
Income is up 2 per cent on above system growth, improved margins and higher non-interest income. CBA was down 0.7 per cent.

AusNet Services’ (AST) full year result showed net profit after tax (NPAT) up 3.9 per cent to $302.1m, revenue increased 2.7 per cent to $1.92b, while EBITDA fell 3.5 per cent to $1.15b. Cash flows from operations were up 17.2 per cent to $844.5m. The company also committed to a final dividend of $0.0475 cps (vs $0.051 in pcp) and issued FY22 dividend guidance of 9.5 cps. AST was down 5.9 per cent.

CSR’s (CSR) full year result reported NPAT up 17 per cent to $146.1m from $125.3m in pcp. Revenue was down 4 per cent to $2.12b and EBIT gained 10 per cent to $237.9m. EBITDA increased 6 per cent to $334.1m. A special dividend of 9.5 cps (fully franked) will be paid to eligible investors and the company committed to a final dividend of 14.5 cps (fully franked). CSR was up 4.3 per cent.

Carsales.com (CAR) shares are in a trading halt as the group launches a $600m capital raising. The group will use the funds to pay for a 49 per cent stake in U.S. online marketplace, Trader Interactive for $US624m.

In economic news, The Federal Budget 2021/2022 was released last night and has again focussed on job creation, but also on lifting wages.

3.5bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $2.4bn, with 540 stocks up, 683 down and 418 unchanged.

Published by CommSec