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Following in the footsteps of a sharp sell-off in the US overnight, which saw the S&P 500 index post its largest daily loss since mid2020, the Aussie sharemarket fell 1.65 per cent or 118 pts, to 7065. Today’s decline snapped a four day winning streak, and was led by a 3.7 per cent slide in the Consumer Staples sector after US retailers Target and Walmart posted disappointing updates.

In economic news, the unemployment rate fell from 3.93 per cent to an August-1974 low of 3.85 per cent, which was largely in-line with market expectations. There were ~4,000 jobs added in April however, significantly below Bloomberg consensus centred on a 30,000 lift. The silver lining was that all job gains were full time positions. CBA Group Economists are expecting a 0.25 per cent
rate hike in June, July, August and November.

In terms of company announcements, Webjet (WEB) returned to profitability over the second half, driven by lower costs throughout its business. Total transactional value (TTV) and revenue climbed by 262 per cent and 466 per cent, respectively, on a year earlier, while expenses increased by only 7 per cent. WEB expects May’s profitability to significantly exceed that of April’s – which was WEB’s most profitable month since the pandemic began. Shares of WEB rose for a fifth straight day.

Nufarm (NUF) has posted a 31 per cent jump in its first-half revenues and a 112 per cent increase in its first-half underlying profits. NUF has advised investors that even though grain prices are “likely to remain elevated”, its full year results will be proportionately more weighted to the first half. NUF shares today finished 8.6 per cent lower.

Gambling machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) has handed down a 23.1 per cent increase in its interim operating revenue, and a 41 per cent growth in its normalised first-half profits. ALL has also announced an on-market share buy-back of up to A$500 million, and this follows a A$1.3 billion equity raise in October last year. Shares of the gambling company climbed 6.7 per cent.

Shares in processed metal recycler Sims (SGM) have shed 4.7 per cent after it announced the acquisition and settlement of a “strategic parcel of land” in Queensland for a total consideration of A$88 million.

Shares of Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) and Pendal Group (PDL) traded ex-dividend and finished down 4.1 per cent and 7.1 per cent, respectively.

3.8bn shares were traded, worth $8.9bn. 384 stocks finished higher, 1,086 ended lower, while 331 closed unchanged.

In the US, data on existing home sales are released with weekly jobless claims, the leading index and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index.

Published by CommSec