The ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is set to open lower on Thursday according to the latest ASX futures. Here’s what’s making headlines.
ASX powers ahead, more records broken at Premier
The S&P/ASX 200 delivered once again on Wednesday, pushed higher by falling bond yields and a finally weakening currency, which is now under 76 US cents.
The much anticipated release of the economic Purchasing Manager Index or PMI results, which offer an indicator of spending and investment intentions, hit a three-month high of 56.2, confirming what we are seeing in the economy around us.
GrainCorp Ltd (ASX: GNC) was the highlight on Wednesday, jumping 6.2% after announcing an expansion of its infrastructure and port network plans.
The company owns seven port terminals across Australia, traditionally used for handling grain, but with most booked out until the end of the year it has decided to pivot and support other parts of the commodity sector with its infrastructure network.
The change, which includes the handling and storage of woodchips, cement and fertiliser, is expected to add $25 million to earnings by 2023.
A tale of two sectors, Computershare makes a deal
oOh!Media Ltd (ASX: OML), which stands for Out of Home Media, fell 2.7% after releasing its annual report yesterday, recording a 36% fall in gross profit. The $180 million result was heavily impacted by the pandemic lockdowns, with the company’s core business providing outdoor advertising via billboards.
Registry provider Computershare Ltd (ASX: CPU) entered a trading halt after announcing a $983 million capital raising to fund the purchase of US Bank Wells Fargo’s Corporate Trust Services business. The business assists with administering debt and other products by other listed companies and operates some 26,000 accounts. Whilst a low margin business, Computershare’s global scale offers the ability to find synergies.
Retailer Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV) revealed its half-year results, delivering an 89% increase in profit to $188.2 million after seeing an 8.4% lift in revenue to $795.8 million. Online sales remain a highlight, jumping 61.3% on the comparable 2020 period.
The ASX retailer announced a 34 cent dividend after confirming sales momentum has continued into the current quarter but continues to retain $15.6 million in JobKeeper and associated payments; shares finished 2.7% higher.
Suez canal blockage sends oil higher, Nasdaq falls
The value rotation received another boost overnight with a giant transport ship running aground and blocking the Suez Canal, something expected to last days. Guiding a massive amount of goods and commodities, the oil price jumped significantly. However, this wasn’t enough to send the Dow Jones higher, ultimately finishing flat whilst the Nasdaq fell 2.0% in a negative lead for Australia.
Asset manager and ETF provider Blackrock (NYSE: BLK) was the focus of regulators overnight, adding 1.4%, after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested future policies centred on ‘too big to fail’ parts of the financial system should be focused on funds not individual companies.
The Chinese government is reportedly seeking to establish a joint venture with their global tech giants, including Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Tencent (HKG: 0700), in order to facilitate the sharing and oversight of the huge amount of data they collect. Alibaba shares fell 3.2% on the news.
The outlook for Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) in the uber competitive semi-conductor market is becoming clearer, after the company announced it would be spending $20 billion to build to new manufacturing plants in the US as it seeks to capitalise on the Government’s wish to secure more chip supplies at home rather than rely on Taiwan.