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The Aussie market was weaker this morning, with the ASX 200 falling 0.48 per cent, to 7,306.7 before midday. The moves lower followed stronger US markets overnight, with the Nasdaq index hitting an all-time high.

Energy is down the most, falling 1.3 per cent, while financials has also weighed on markets, down 1.1 per cent. All big four banks are in decline, collectively wiping about 18 points off the benchmark. Commonwealth Bank is down 1.1 per cent, and is back below $100 per share. Utilities and consumer staples are also down. IT is the best performer so far, gaining 1.3 per cent, while telecommunications (+0.4 per cent) and materials (+0.7 per cent) are also in the green.

NSW has recorded 10 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, seven of which were already announced yesterday morning. NSW Health has also been notified of 13 new locally acquired cases overnight. Qantas (QAN) fell 0.6 per cent, while Flight Centre was also down 2.6 per cent this morning.

In company news, Woolworths (WOW) is expecting a pre-tax oneoff gain of $57m towards its FY21 results mostly due to its added stake in data analytics firm Quantium. There will also be transaction costs for the demerger of Endeavour Group and acquisition of PFD Food Services. WOW was down 1.6 per cent.

Costa Group (CGC) provided a trading update with performance so far in 2021 marginally ahead of the year before. Forecast first half revenue is $627m, earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization is $124m and net profit after tax is $44m. The stock is also in a trading halt as it looks to acquire a Central QLD based citrus grower called 2PH Farms Pty Ltd for $200m upfront. It will raise capital via an entitlement offer to fund the purchase.

Novonix (NVX) is expanding its anode materials business in the US as it looks to purchase a factory in Tennessee and expand its production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems. NVX was 3.3 per cent higher.

In economic news, CBA Group economists believe the RBA could deliver the first hike in the cash rate in November 2022. They are also forecasting headline inflation to be 1.8 per cent a year by the end of 2021 and 2.3 per cent a year by the end of 2022 and wage growth to accelerate to 2.4 per cent a year by the end of 2021 and 2.9 per cent a year by the end of 2022.

The AUD is trading at 75.4 US cents. So far today, 1.9b units were traded worth $1.9b with 603 stocks higher, 602 lower and 438 unchanged.

Published by CommSec