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ASX 200 set to rise – BHP, KGN & ALU shares in focus

It was ‘risk on’ once again for the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) with the market up over 1% during the day but ultimately finishing 0.8% higher.

The strength was broad-based with just two sectors, industrials and IT finishing lower, as both materials and real estate powered the recovery on the hopes of more government stimulus.

The consumer discretionary sector also performed strongly, adding 1% behind a 2.3% rally in Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) following Kogan’s (ASX: KGN) positive update.

Lendlease offloads services business

Lendlease Group (ASX: LLC) was a key contributor during the session, jumping 2.1% after announcing that NBN installer Service Stream Limited (ASX: SSM) would be acquiring its services division for $310 million.

The offer was struck at a multiple of just five times earnings and will be partially funded by a capital raising. Service Stream continues on its evolution to a ‘multi-network, essential service provider’.

Altium offer pulled

Circuit board design platform Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) was the biggest detractor, falling 4.8% after US competitor Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced it would be pulling its takeover offer despite verbally increasing it during negotiations.

BHP weighs up big sale

Management at BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) has confirmed it is considering exiting its oil and gas operations as the business continues to simplify.

The timing couldn’t be better given the incredible rally in the oil price since the depths of the pandemic, with BHP shares finishing 1.3% higher.

With earnings of around US$2 billion, analysts suggest the value could be as high as US$15 billion for its low-cost asset base, sparking hopes of more capital returns.

Kogan overcoming issues

E-commerce retailer Kogan (ASX: KGN) fell 1.5% after what has been a difficult first half of 2021.

That said, in a trading update management has confirmed sales picked up in the June quarter, but is still discounting stock after ordering too much over the Christmas period, which will impact on margins.

FY21 earnings growth is expected to be 23% with revenue up 56% to $1.2 billion.

Toll road revenue recovers

US and European toll road operator Atlas Arteria Group (ASX: ALX) confirmed traffic conditions were beginning to return to normal in June, reporting average traffic was 69% higher than 2020 levels and just 19% lower than pre-pandemic 2019 levels; shares fell 1.3% despite the positive news.

ASX 200 today

The ASX 200 is set to push higher when the market opens on Thursday following a positive lead from US markets overnight as earnings season continues.

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

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