The Australian sharemarket rose on Thursday, bouncing off a 4-week low and doing enough to recoup most of the prior session’s declines. A surprisingly soft monthly update on employment encouraged buying; giving the Reserve Bank another reason to potentially slow the pace of rate hikes. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose by 58 points or 0.8 per cent to 7410.3 points, edging closer to record highs of 7632.8.

In Australia on Thursday, eight out of the twelve industry sectors posted gains. Consumer discretionary was the best performing sector, rising by 2.7 per cent, closely followed by tech. Utilities fell the most by 1.4 per cent.

Telstra (TLS) shares rose 1.9 per cent today after releasing its half year results. Profits are up 26 per cent from $743M to $934M, driven by momentum from the mobiles business and support from the acquisition of Digicel Pacific. Income is expected to be at the bottom end of guidance between $23B – $25B “due to mobile hardware and fixed product revenues being lower than expected”. The interim dividend will be 8.5 cents per share, up half a cent on the previous period.

National Australia Bank (NAB) shares advanced 0.7 per cent to $30.51 after declaring a $2.05B profit in its first quarter trading update, driven by a 1 per cent increase in lending and deposits over the December quarter. Cash earnings were up 19 per cent to $2.15B compared with the same time last year, influenced by the higher interest rate environment.

Newcrest Mining (NCM) announced they have rejected the takeover bid by Newmont as it “does not represent sufficient value for Newcrest shareholders”. Profit was down 2 per cent to $293M, while gold and copper production increased by 25 per cent and 32 per cent respectively. NCM shares fell by 1.7 per cent.


Top Australian Brokers


Sonic Healthcare (SHL) shares rose 14.3 per cent today after releasing its half year results. Sonic reported a 54 per cent decline in net profits compared with the prior year due to a reduction in COVID related revenue, however net profits are up 50 per cent based on the pre-pandemic levels in 2020. An interim dividend of 42 cents was announced, up 5 per cent on the previous corresponding period.

Shares in AMP Limited (AMP) fell by 13.4 per cent making it the worst performer on the ASX 200 today, despite declaring its first final dividend since 2019. AMP reported a profit result of $184M which is up 2 per cent, driven by the sale of its infrastructure debt platform.

On Thursday 3.5 billion shares were traded, worth $9.8 billion. Overall 784 stocks rose over the session, while 544 fell and 438 finished unchanged.

Looking ahead in Australia, Reserve Bank (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe will appear before the House Economics Committee, as investors watch closely for any hints about inflation and interest rates. In the US, figures for the January producer price index will be released.


Originally published by CommSec