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Closing Bell February 8

Grady Wulff
February 8, 2023

The ASX rallied 0.35% today, rebounding from yesterday’s rate-driven sell-off as investors piled into financial and material stocks today, while selling out of health care and consumer staples stocks.

Boral (ASX:BLD) shares took flight today, adding over 12% after the building and construction materials supplier released first half results including revenue up 12% to $1.681bn, EBIT up 15% at $95.3m, NPAT increased 53% to $56.8m and adjusted EPS rose 50% to 5.1c/share. New Boral CEO Vik Bansal said RBA rate hikes haven’t crimped customer demand for cement, asphalt and gravel.

Suncorp (ASX:SUN) shares jumped 4.5% today after the Queensland-based financial conglomerate released first half results including group net profit up 44.3% to $560m, and cash earnings up 62.9% to $588m. The company also boosted its dividend payout to 33 cents per share, representing a 71% payout ratio of cash earnings. Group operating expenses fell 3.1% to $1.349bn, largely reflecting efficiency benefits from the strategic program of work, and the company reaffirmed its FY23 financial targets which investors have been looking for companies to share this reporting season.

Strike Energy (ASX:STX) has accepted Hancock Prospecting’s takeover offer of Warrego Energy for $0.40/share, over its own one-for-one scrip offer for the takeover of Warrego. Strike said despite not acquiring control of Warrego, it has achieved a number of key milestones over the last 6-months including share price appreciation of 40%, $116m in immediately available cash funding following the acceptance of Hancock’s offer, and Strike’s joint venture partner will be controlled by a credentialed, well-funded and motivated counterparty to pursue development activity in respect of the West Erregulla gas project.

The winning stocks today were led by Boral (ASX:BLD) soaring almost 13%, Imugene (ASX:IMU) rallying 7.7% and Suncorp (ASX:SUN) climbing 4.6%.

And on the losing end of the market, Elders (ASX:ELD) fell more than 5.8% after the company was sent a price query from the ASX today, while Healius (ASX:HLS) fell 5.4% and Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) lost 4.12% today.

The most traded stocks by Bell Direct clients today were Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG), Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Tennant Minerals (ASX:TMS).

On the commodities front this afternoon, crude oil is flat at US$77.16/barrel, iron ore is down 0.8% at US$124.50/tonne and gold is up 0.13% at US$1876.33/ounce.

The Aussie dollar is buying 70 US cents 91.32 Japanese Yen, 57.24 British Pence, and 1 New Zealand Dollar and 10 cents.

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