The S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) today – latest news from the Australian sharemarket

The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade down today with the Sydney Futures Exchange pointing to a negative open. Right now, the ASX 200 is priced 0.33% from its 52-week high of 7162.6.

Making Australian sharemarket headlines today is NIB Holdings Limited (ASX:NHF), G8 Education Ltd (ASX:GEM) and Jumbo Interactive Ltd (ASX:JIN).

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ASX 200 news today

1. NIB Holdings Limited

NIB is one of the ASX’s largest private health insurers, it was founded in 1952. NIB provides health and medical insurance to over 1.5 million Australian and New Zealand residents. NIB also provide health insurance to international students and workers in Australia.

Today, nib Group released its 2020 half-year financial report showing a 6.4% increase in underlying revenue and a net profit after tax of $57 million, down 23%. The company plans to pay a half-year dividend of 10 cents per share, fully franked, in-line with last year.

Explaining the difference between revenue growth and the fall in profit, nib says it paid more in the way of claims back to policyholders.

The company’s media release stated: “…higher claims inflation across nib’s insurance businesses as well as timing in the receipt and payment of claims impacted nib’s “unpaid claims” reserves and resulted in a reported Group Underlying Operating Profit (UOP) of $83.2 million, a 27.2% decline compared to 1H19.”

Looking towards the second half of its 2020 financial year, nib Group CEO Mark Fitzgibbon said the company is thinking the year is a “reset of sorts”.

“We’ve embarked upon a major transformational effort to make our future value proposition much more about people’s better health rather than just responding to sickness or accident,” Fitzgibbon said. The company expects to report a statutory operating profit of at least $150 million and UOP of $170 million.

2. G8 Education

G8 Education is the largest ASX listed childcare provider, it also has a handful of childcare centres in Singapore.

Today, G8 Education released its full-year financial results showing a 7% increase in revenue to $922 million and a 13% decline in profit to $62.6 million.

A final dividend of 6 cents per share, fully franked, will be paid. That payment compares to a final dividend of 8 cents per share last year.

“The Group’s 2019 full‐year results reflect solid progress on operational objectives and validation of our growth strategy amid challenging industry conditions,” G8’s CEO Gary Carroll said.

“Our underlying EBIT result, consistent with our November 2019 guidance, was impacted by the investment made in quality as well as the ramp‐up of our greenfield portfolio.”

Commenting on the trading performance so far this financial year, the company said there has been “significant instability in the market” due to the bushfires and concerns over the Coronavirus impact. Ultimately, occupancy at G8’s childcare centres is slightly behind or lower than the results achieved this time last year.

3. Jumbo Interactive Ltd

Jumbo Interactive is an Australian lottery business with its history going back to 2000. The company operates the Ozlotteries website. Jumbo is different to conventional lotteries businesses because tickets are sold online or via a smartphone app. More than three-quarters of customer interactions are completed via mobile devices.

In an ASX announcement today, Jumbo reported its half-year results showing total transaction volume on its platform rose 25% to $185 million and revenue came in at $37.6 million, up 23%. Meanwhile, profit came in at $14.4 million, up 14%, and the number of active customers increased to 848,621.

Jumbo declared a half-year dividend of 18.5 cents per share, up from 15 cents per share last year. Jumbo’s plans for its “Billion dollar vision” (by 2022) is expected to see it onboard multiple SaaS style clients and make further investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning initiatives.

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