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The local market recovered from Monday’s sell-off on Tuesday to close the session 0.18% higher as investor optimism was boosted by Aussie business confidence jumping for January after dropping at the tail end of 2022. Investors piled into tech stocks today with the sector rising 1.3% at the closing bell as investor appetite for growth stocks increases with every ease in rate hike announcements.
Economic data out today showed Aussie business mood has bounced back rising 6 points in January led by a sharp rise in mining and wholesale sectors. Consumer confidence on the other hand fell 6.9% to 78.5 in February, the weakest level in 3-months as the cost-of-living pressures and interest rate hikes in Australia continue weighing heavily on Aussies.
Reporting season continued to make waves today with investors again very responsive to the provision of first half results.
James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX) shares came under pressure today after the global building materials company and fibre cement product manufacturer released Q3 results that disappointed investors, driven by a downturn in the US and Australian housing markets. For the quarter, James Hardie reported global net sales declined 4% to US$860.8m, adjusted net income declined 16% to US$129.2m and the company revised its adjusted net income guidance range to US$600m to US$620m, down from the prior range of US$650m to US$710m.
Challenger (ASX:CGF) on the other hand soared 4.41% after also reporting first half results that impressed investors. For the half, the company confirmed its guidance for the full financial year, reported record half year Life division sales of $5.5bn, up 11% driven by record annuity sales growth, normalised NPAT rose 5% to $250m, while statutory NPAT was down at $123m, a 4% increase in the company’s interim dividend to 12cps was also announced, and total assets under management of $99.4bn.
The winning stocks from today’s session were led by Sims (ASX:SGM) adding over 7%, while Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) and Coronado Global Resources (ASX:CRN) each gained 5.46% and 4.46% respectively.
And on the losing end, Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) tanked almost 13.5% today a day after releasing disappointing first half results, while Ansell (ASX:ANN) fell 8.72% today and Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) shed 6.12%.
We’ve seen lots of movement on the commodities front in recent times amid reports Russia is going to cut oil production and on the back of China’s reopening. Today, crude oil is trading 1.13% lower at US$79.22/barrel, gold is up 0.23% at US$1857/ounce and iron ore is down 2.38% at US$123/tonne.
The Aussie dollar is buying 70 US cents, 91.95 Japanese yen, 57.39 British Pence and 1 New Zealand dollar and 10 cents.