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ASX 200 morning report – API, WES & TLS shares in focus

The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) rallied another 0.6% on Thursday with every industry sector gaining. The standout once again was the energy sector, adding 1.3% behind Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) which finished 2.5% higher after another 3% jump in the oil price.

Each of the financials and healthcare sectors also added 1.0% with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) once again holding above $100 per share.

Australian unemployment falls

The rally came despite a decidedly weak unemployment result. The headline figures showed a drop in unemployment from 4.6% to 4.5%, despite over 146,000 losing jobs during the period.

A fall in the participation rate, which suggests more people have given up looking for work, is a clear negative sign for the economy. Goldman Sachs economists suggest the real unemployment rate could be as high as 9.1% when another fall in hours worked is also included.

Australian Pharmaceutical share price spikes

Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API) finished 16.1% higher after Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) increased its bid for the company from $1.38 per share to $1.55.

The deal prices the pharmaceutical company at $764 million and has the support of API’s biggest shareholder Washington H Soul Pattinson & Co Ltd (ASX: SOL).

It marks another pivot for Wesfarmers, which is seeking to leverage its supply chain experience and build out a healthcare division.

Telstra ready for growth

Telstra Corporation Ltd’s (ASX: TLS) CEO announced the end of T22 and the beginning of T25, announcing his intention to cut another $500 million in costs from the business.

The group is now seeking to deliver growth in the high teens, with a focus on its loyalty program, 5G and expended network coverage. Shareholders are clearly beginning to believe in Andy Penn with Telstra shares finishing 0.5% higher.

Myer share price goes nuts on FY21 result

Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR) shares rallied 16.7% despite management withholding the dividend once again. Profit was boosted by JobKeeper and rent waivers growing to $46 million, an improvement on a loss of $172 million in 2020.

In a positive sign, sales were 5.5% higher across the business, with the July half up 38% and online sales now representing 20% of the total.

Elsewhere, shares in Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) rallied 2.7% as the ship builder is seen as a potential beneficiary of the US/UK defence deal to deliver nuclear submarines, built in Australia.

ASX 200 today

The ASX 200 is tipped to take a backwards step when the market opens on Friday, following a mixed lead from US markets overnight.

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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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