The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is expected to open slightly lower this morning, according to the Sydney Futures Exchange. Here’s what you missed…
The ASX 200 is just 6% away from its all-time high after finishing 0.4% higher on Wednesday. The strength was broad-based but with the indexes three largest exposures, banking, mining and healthcare contributing most. CSL Ltd (ASX: CSL) finished 2.2% higher whilst the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) added 1.7% after announcing the sale of its Chinese insurance business, BoCommLife for $886 million.
Property manager Charter Hall (ASX: CHC) received some good news overnight, announcing that global tech giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has committed to becoming a key tenant of its yet to commence building at 555 Collins Street. The Charter Hall Long WALE (ASX: CLW) trust also entered a trading halt after announcing in the $280 million acquisition of a Telstra (ASX: TLS) data centre in Pitt Street Sydney.
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AustralianSuper’s offer for renewable energy and data centre owner Infratil (ASX: IFT) has been quickly rebuffed with management highlighting ‘deficiencies’ in the structure of the offer and suggesting it significantly undervalues the assets. Infratil shares added another 1.5% suggesting investors believe a better offer is coming.
From gold to lithium, Healius (ASX:HLS) announces buy back, consumer confidence at decade-high
Gold miner Independence Group (ASX: IGO) shocked shareholders and market commentators alike after announcing the acquisition of some of the world’s largest lithium mines located in Australia. With a market capitalisation of just $3 billion management are seeking to enter a joint venture with China’s Tianqi Lithium, which owns the Greenbushes mine, home to some 21% of the world’s lithium concentrate.
IGO will also acquire 49% in the Kwinana lithium mine located just outside of Perth. In total, the deals are estimated to cost $2 billion and are a significant step away from the company’s core gold operations. Is IGO buying at the bottom? Lithium had an incredible run a few years back but is now in oversupply with many mines struggling to remain profitable; this seems a high risk but potentially high reward deal.
Pathology and day hospital owner Healius (ASX: HLS) announced a $200 million on-market buy-back after flagging a continued recovery in non-COVID related testing volumes. Management highlighted that day hospital revenue is well above the previous quarter, IVF is recovering and pathology revenue will be flat on 2019 levels, an extraordinary result; shares led the ASX adding 7.4%.
US markets submit to fiscal impasse, IPO frenzy but tech out of favour
US markets fell on Wednesday, led lower by the Nasdaq which fell 1.8% as investors continued to move away from highly valued technology companies towards more economically exposed groups, including the likes of General Electric (NYSE: GE) which has had a strong month.
The S&P500 outperformed, falling 0.8%, after news that the Democrat’s had little interest in the Republican’s latest fiscal stimulus offer. The lack of any progress is placing incredible strain on the economic recovery as hospitalisations and cases continue to spike ahead of the Christmas break. SoftBank Group (TYO: 9984), the massive Japanese investment company with holdings in groups ranging from Uber to Didi and the struggling WeWork, has flagged a plan to take the company private via on-market share buybacks, a sign that aggressive investment strategies aren’t always suited to public markets.
Finally, the US is caught up in a similar IPO frenzy, DoorDash, the biggest food delivery operator in the US raised $US3.3 billion at a valuation of US$38 billion, with the share price jumping 80% on its debut despite never having made a profit.