SYDNEY, AAP – Qantas and Woolworths stocks have risen despite greatly contrasting earnings on another busy day of reports on the ASX.
Qantas on Thursday posted a full-year net loss of $1.73 billion from what boss Alan Joyce called diabolical trading conditions.
However coronavirus vaccination rates have given investors hope and they lifted shares by 2.87 per cent.
Woolworths shares were up 1.34 per cent after the retail giant revealed a $2 billion off-market share buy-back.
The company had a rise in full-year profit of almost 78 per cent, helped by one-off gains of $102 million.
However the market was trading lower due to losses for healthcare and materials shares.
CSL dropped 1.88 per cent to $306.61, while the big miners were all lower.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 29.9 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7502 at 1200 AEST.
The All Ordinaries was down 23.6 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 7786.
The three major US indices closed modestly higher overnight.
Chipmakers and financials were the most popular stocks a day before US Federal Reserve officials discuss policy in the Jackson Hole Symposium.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to discuss whether the central bank will ease bond buying as the US economy recovers from the pandemic.
On the ASX, company earnings were the main interest.
Artificial intelligence software vendor Appen plummeted almost 19 per cent to $11.20 after its first-half earnings report.
The company lowered its full-year earnings forecast as it will spend on expanding newly acquired mobile data provider Quadrant.
Appen’s first-half earnings and net profit fell.
Travel agency group Flight Centre slumped to a loss due to the impact of the coronavirus but leaders see blue skies ahead.
Flight Centre is optimistic about the 2021/22 year as vaccination programs gain traction in Australia and overseas and travel restrictions ease.
There was no final dividend.
Shares were up 3.45 per cent to $16.91.
The big miners mostly had moderate losses. BHP and Fortescue lost less than one per cent. Rio Tinto slipped 1.28 per cent to $109.49.
Banks were mostly lower. The Commonwealth was best of the big four and higher by 0.13 per cent to $100.46. The others were down by less than one per cent.
Shares in utilities were the worst performing.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.64 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher than 72.42 US cents at Wednesday’s close.