The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) delivered another positive day despite the incredibly negative backdrop with issues ranging from inflation to commodity price uncertainty and the Ukraine invasion.
The market finished 1% higher with the technology and communication sectors central to the performance, up 3.2% and 2.4%, respectively.
Given the level of volatility, it is worth putting in context that the Australian market is down just 7% since the beginning of the year and the S&P 500 is down 13% despite the difficult geopolitical conditions.
Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) gained 1.4% on a difficult day for energy companies after management highlighted its “belief in decarbonisation” and continued to commit to cleaner energy sources.
A ‘robust’ start to the year saw the group announce a $250 million on-market share buy back, which will support the share price in the short term.
Nickel Mines halted
Shares in nickel producer Nickel Mines Ltd (ASX: NIC) ended down just 4.8% despite entering a trading halt during the day.
One of the major shareholders, Tsinghan, has been embroiled in the short squeeze occurring in Nickel trading in London, which has seen the price surge more than 100% in just a few days. They confirmed the company has no intention to sell their shares nor will it have an impact on operations.
IAG flags claims
Experts are now estimating as much as $3 billion in insurance claims from the East Coast flooding, with an additional risk being whether the NSW storms are considered a separate event for reinsurance purposes.
Insurance Australia Group Ltd (ASX: IAG) has confirmed its net cost of claims will be around $74 million, less than the $95 million estimate, with reinsurance policies covering a significant amount of the risk. The company reaffirmed guidance for margins between 10% and 12%.
Aristocrat sees limited Ukraine risk
Shares in gambling machine maker Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) jumped 4% after indicating that it does not expect a material impact on earnings despite the invasion of Ukraine despite 1,000 staff and contractors being located in the region.
ASX 200 today
Looking ahead, the ASX 200 is expected to open higher this morning, following a positive lead from US stock markets overnight.