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ASX 200 morning report – CWN, JBH & BKW shares in focus

The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) managed to eke out another small gain on Thursday finishing 0.1% higher, powered by the ASX utilities sector which gained 2.6%. The sector is benefitting from growing demand for energy and improving gas prices with Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) a major contributor, gaining 3.0%.

The ASX energy sector also rallied as the oil price remains elevated, with Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) adding 2.8%.

Crown not fit but retains license

But all eyes were on Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN), which is under a bid from Blackstone group, as gained 0.2% despite the Western Australian Royal Commission finding the company unfit to have a casino license. The license was retained and the company looks set to change hands this year.

NAB doubles buyback, ANZ’s digital dollar

As highlighted yesterday, National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) has doubled its on-market share buyback, announcing another $2.5 billion in excess capital will be used to bring its capital ratio back to 10.5%. NAB shares finished 0.2% higher.

ANZ Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) shares were 0.6% lower after the company launched its own ‘stablecoin’, a digital version of the AUD for online transactions.

JB Hi-Fi sales remain resilient

JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) continues to overcome the threat of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Ltd (ASX: KGN), with management highlighting heightened demand and strong sales growth in the third quarter.

Sales growth of 11.3% has been delivered for the year to date in Australia, with the white goods retailer The Good Guys even adding 5.7%. On a year-to-date basis, sales growth is lower at just 1.5% due to the strong comparable in 2021.

The company has continued to focus on cost control, meaning it has been able to maintain margins in a competitive environment, with the news sending the JB Hi-Fi share price 4.3% higher. The company refused to offer guidance for the final quarter.

Brickworks profit jumps

Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW) delivered its largest first-half profit on record, an 800% increase on the prior year to reach $581 million.

The sale of shares in Washington H Soul Pattinson & Co Ltd (ASX: SOL), the listed investment company that merged with Milton Corporation Limited (ASX: MLT) were a key contributor.

But even once excluded, profit was 270% higher after the company increased the cost of bricks, roofing tiles and masonry to maintain margins. Brickworks shares jumped 5% on the upgrade.

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