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ASX 200 to open higher – Z1P, SUN & SGF shares in focus

The ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is poised to rise at the open on Thursday according to the latest SPI futures. Here’s what’s making headlines as we head into the Easter long weekend.

ASX 200 delivers month of gains, Zip teams up with JB Hi-Fi

The S&P/ASX 200 posted another positive day as the quarter came to an end, finishing 0.8% higher for the day on Wednesday.

Whilst a positive headline, the market fell heavily into the close, down around 1% in the last hour of trading. This resulted in another 1.8% gain for the month of March.

Every sector finished the day higher, with industrials and property the highlights, up 2.2% and 1.3%, respectively, behind Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield CDI (ASX: URW) and Atlas Arteria Group (ASX: ALX), which added 6.4% and 5.7%, respectively.

The key driver appears to be positive news coming from the Biden administration on infrastructure spend and the decision by the NSW Government not to impose a lockdown.

The sell-off in the platform sector appears to have come to an end, with Hub24 Ltd (ASX: HUB) rallying 4.4% as investors look through the short-term issues with its interest margins.

Zip Co Ltd (ASX: Z1P) has beaten bitter rival Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) to the punch, announcing a deal with JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) which will ensure its BNPL platform is preferred at both branded and Good Guys stores; shares were broadly flat.

Suncorp updates the market, builders battling

Insurer Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN) rallied 2.6% after quantifying the level of exposure to the natural disasters across NSW and Queensland, with the 7,600 claims seemingly less than the market expected. Management reiterated the exposure was around $250 million, with significant reinsurance in place to reduce its risk for the remainder of the year.

Building approvals jumped 21.6% in February after a 19% slump in January, with the Home Builder program set to end shortly. Boral Limited (ASX: BLD) and AdBri Ltd (ASX: ABC) were the biggest beneficiaries, with home building products in short supply – they added 2.6% and 4.8%, respectively.

Vehicle and fleet management group SG Fleet Group Ltd (ASX: SGF) announced the acquisition of leading lease provider Lease Plan for $273 million as it seeks to capitalise on its strong position – it will be funded by a fresh capital raising.

US tech moves to all-time high

The tech-focused Nasdaq finished the month and quarter on a strong footing, adding 1.5% to move to an all-time high with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) up over 4% as positivity grows around its iCar prospects.

The Dow Jones ultimately finished 0.3% lower with energy stocks falling on the latest OPEC meeting and no announcement about supply expectations whilst the major investment banks including Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM), retreated as signs the Archegos Capital debacle is coming to an end.

Energy and oil stocks were by far the highlight, jumping 30% in the first quarter of 2020, followed by the other main cyclical sectors being financials and industrials, which both benefit from higher bond rates – the sectors were up 16% and 11%, respectively.

The US economy shows continued signs of recovery, adding 517k private sector jobs, primarily in hospitality and leisure, as long-standing restrictions came to an end amid the successful vaccine rollout. This comes as Europe faces another deadly wave of cases amid a stuttering rollout of the vaccine.

The Golden Rules of Investing

We might be experts in retirement, but with combined financial advice experience of 35+ years, we’ve nearly seen it all. 

In mid-2023, our senior team at Wattle Partners Financial Planning put the finishing touches on a brand-new report “The Golden Rules of Investing“.

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You’ll find the free report on my Author page. Simply click the button below to view the Golden Rules.

Information warning: The information on this website is published by The Rask Group Pty Ltd (ABN: 36 622 810 995) is limited to factual information or (at most) general financial advice only. That means, the information and advice does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not specific to you, your needs, goals or objectives. Because of that, you should consider if the advice is appropriate to you and your needs, before acting on the information. If you don’t know what your needs are, you should consult a trusted and licensed financial adviser who can provide you with personal financial product advice. In addition, you should obtain and read the product disclosure statement (PDS) before making a decision to acquire a financial product. Please read our Terms and Conditions and Financial Services Guide before using this website. The Rask Group Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative (#1280930) of AFSL #383169.

Disclosure: At the time of publishing, Drew owns shares in Zip Co.

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Wattle Partners is a financial advice firm, servicing clients around Australia, specialising in retirement planning (pre and post retirement). 

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