The Australian sharemarket inched higher today, starting the week on a positive note after last week’s losses. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose by 5 points or 0.06 per cent to 7352 points, after a relatively flat trading session.
In Australia on Monday, four out of the twelve industry sectors posted gains. Financials gained the most while the real estate sector made the biggest losses.
A2 Milk (A2M) shares fell by 8.6 per cent today after releasing its half year results. Growth in its infant milk formula sales in China helped drive net profits up by 22 per cent to NZ$68.4m in the six months ending December. Its infant milk formula sales rose by 18 per cent, with China label sales up 44 per cent as it reached ‘historical highs in China brand awareness’. Guidance for the full 2023 financial year remained unchanged, with expectations for low double digit revenue growth and EBITDA margins to remain similar to FY22.
Home furnishings retailer Adairs (ADH) rose 1.7 per cent today after releasing its half-year earnings results. It announced a 24 per cent increase in net profit to $21.8m, compared to the previous corresponding period. This came as a result of strong sales growth which was up 34 per cent, bolstered by record Boxing Day sales. However, its earnings guidance was lowered from $75m – $85m to between $70m – $80m, due to elevated supply chain costs. It declared an interim dividend of 8c.
BlueScope Steel (BSL) shares slid by 10 per cent to $17.84. Softer steel spreads, lower volumes and higher costs drove profits lower by 64 per cent to $599m. Its guidance for the full year was lowered to a range between $480m – $550m. An interim dividend of 25 cents per share will be paid to eligible shareholders.
Top Australian Brokers
Private health insurer NIB Holdings (NHF) shares were down the most today on the ASX 200. It fell 11.6 per cent despite announcing a 12.8 per cent improvement in net profit after tax to $91.6m for the first half of 2023, driven by strong policyholder growth and a subsequent growth in claims. It did not give financial guidance due to uncertainty around COVID-19,
deferred medical treatment and claims exposure. NHF will pay an interim dividend of 13 cents per shares, an 18 per cent increase on the same time last year.
Shares in Inghams Group (ING) rose most today on the ASX 200 by 11.7 per cent after its target price was raised by two brokers, despite the 55 per cent fall in profits announced in its half year results last Friday.
On Monday 2.8 billion shares were traded, worth $5.8 billion. Overall 527 stocks rose over the session, while 818 fell and 436 finished unchanged.
Looking ahead, US sharemarkets will be closed on Monday to observe President’s Day. In Australia, Reserve Bank (RBA) Board meeting minutes are set to be released tomorrow and earnings season continues to ramp up this week.
Originally published by CommSec