On Friday the local market fell just over 1%. All industry sectors closed in the red, with utilities and healthcare falling the most.
On the ASX200 leader board, Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) gained over 18%, after reporting a profit and dividend increase. MFG’s half-year earnings beat market forecasts with NPAT of $251.6 million, up 24% from this time last year, and an interim dividend $1.10, which is a 13% increase. Meanwhile, QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) declined the most on Friday, after reporting full-year 2021 results that fell short of market expectations.
The most traded stocks by Bell Direct clients included BHP Group (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG), as well as Amcor (AXS:AMC), Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG).
US equities were lower as the Russia and Ukraine conflict continues to put investors on edge. On Friday the Wall Street Journal reported that the US expect an attack from Russia in a few days. Friday was also a volatile day for the US market with many stocks, indexes and ETFs set to expire.
What to watch today:
- Following Wall Street, the SPI futures are suggesting the ASX200 will open 0.7% lower at the open this morning.
- The price of oil is lower, as escalating violence in Ukraine heightened concerns over supply disruptions from a possible war with Russia, offsetting prospects of Iranian oil returning to global markets.
- The gold price is steady at US$1,897 an ounce, while the seaborne iron ore price is lower at US$141 a tonne.
- Companies reporting their earnings results today include: a2 Milk (ASX:A2M), AMA Group (ASX:AMA) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS). Bell Potter expect PLS to report NPAT of $137 million. They currently have a Neutral – High Risk rating on the stock.
- Santos (ASX:STO) and Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) are set to go ex-dividend today.
- In economic news, the Manufacturing and services flash PMI will be released this morning. This is a forward-looking estimate of the final PMI for February, which will be released next week.
- Bell Potter maintain their BUY rating on Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC), and have decreased their price target from $1.89 to $1.83. NIC last closed at $1.36 implying 34.6% share price growth in a year.
- Trading Central have identified a bullish signal in Global Lithium Resources (ASX:GL1), indicating that the stock price may rise from the close of $1.50, to the range of $2 to $2.10, over 20 days, according to the standard principles of technical analysis.