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This year. We're going Beyond.

ASX 200 morning report – WBC, FNP & PMV shares in focus

The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) rose just three points to begin the week, with a powerful day from the financials sector (+1.4%), which represents some 30% of the index, not enough to overcome broader weakness.

Energy and materials continue to detract amid signs that inflation is being experienced across the construction and consumer sectors; both were down over 1%.

Westpac hikes dividend

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) dominated the headlines, being the first bank to deliver its half-year result.

All eyes were on Westpac’s dividend, which didn’t disappoint, management confirming a 58 cent per share payout. This pales in comparison to the 94 cents paid as an interim amount in 2019 or the $1.74 paid for the full calendar year.

Revenue increased 1% to $10.7 billion with cash profit nearly tripling, increasing 256% to $3.54 billion. The biggest driver was the low starting point in early 2020 during which each of the major banks increased their bad debt expectations, resulting in short-term losses.

Of more concern for investors should be the fall in Westpac’s net interest margin (NIM) by four basis points to 2.09%, which represents the ‘fee’ it gains from every loan.

The big news was an announcement that the bank would be seeking to cut costs to $8 billion from $12.7 billion with more branch closures and redundancies likely to follow.

The Westpac share price jumped 5.1% on the news, with National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) also benefitting, up 2.1%.

Featured video: How to read a financial report

Premier comes to the party

Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV) finally bowed to political pressure, declaring it would be repaying $15.6 million received under the JobKeeper program.

The ASX retailer had previously indicated the payments would be used to ensure employees continued to receive full pay despite lockdowns, but with earnings set to meet expectations, it has flipped its decision. Premier Investment shares were down 1.3%.

Job ads continue to surprise

ANZ Job Ads continue to recover, jumping 4.7% in April and whilst a good sign for the economy, it offers growing evidence that Australia lacks willing employees as the labour market tightens; SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK) fell slightly on the news.

Freedom Foods still under pressure

Freedom Foods Group Ltd’s (ASX: FNP) slow turnaround continued, falling 2.4% after announcing another 10.7% fall in revenue in the first quarter, hitting $141.6 million. Plant-based beverages remain the highlight, growing 7.0% on the previous quarter.

Omni Bridgeway hit by insurance

Omni Bridgeway Ltd (ASX: OBL) led the market falls, down 5.6%, after the court approved a $440 million settlement payment over the Wivenhoe dam collapse, with the group likely to receive just $30 million under the deal.

ASX 200 today

Looking ahead, the ASX 200 is expected to open higher on Tuesday following a mixed lead from US markets overnight. For all the latest, check out Rask Media’s US stock market report.

Is BNPL the opportunity of a lifetime or is the sector a ticking time bomb?

Rask's analyst has just finished a 7,500-word report, The Ultimate BNPL Sector Report, taking a deep dive into this booming ASX sector. It shines a spotlight on each of the major players. You can get the full analyst report for FREE by CLICKING HERE NOW or entering your email below.

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Is BNPL the opportunity of a lifetime or is the sector a ticking time bomb?

Rask's analyst has just finished a 7,500-word report, The Ultimate BNPL Sector Report, taking a deep dive into this booming ASX sector. It shines a spotlight on each of the major players. You can get the full analyst report for FREE by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Note: the report is 100% free.

At the time of publishing, the author of this article does not have a financial or commercial interest in any of the companies mentioned.

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.

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Rask Media’s Ultimate BNPL Sector Report

Afterpay, Zip, Sezzle… is this the opportunity of a lifetime? Or is BNPL a ticking time bomb? This 7,500-word analyst report takes a deep dive into the BNPL sector and shines a spotlight on each of the major players in this booming market. 

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As we emerge from COVID-19, some tech companies are growing faster than ever. Rask’s investment analysts have identified 3 growth stocks set to benefit. Big time.

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