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ASX 200 morning report – TLS, JBH & CHC shares in focus

In what can only be described as a remarkable turnaround, the Aussie sharemarket is closing in on breakeven for 2022, with the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) gaining another 0.7% on Wednesday.

A positive lead from the US and signs of a ceasefire in Ukraine saw every sector barring energy and materials rally, with technology the standout, gaining 3.8%.

Block Inc (ASX: SQ2) reached another record high, up 6.1%, whilst Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MFG) gained another 8.5% on the strong performance of a number of key holdings within its global equity funds.

Xero Limited (ASX: XRO) and Megaport Ltd (ASX: MP1) also gained more than 5% each despite bond yields hitting the highest point since 2014.

Telstra CEO steps down

Everyone was focused on Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) with the share price falling 0.8% after CEO Andy Penn announced he would be stepping down from September this year.

He will be replaced by Vicki Brady, who occupies his previous role as CFO and will embark on a new era for the simplified and restructured group.

ASX retailers win from budget

JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) appears to have caught a post Budget rally with investors believing that the additional payments to low and middle-income Australians will be directed into their coffers. JB Hi-Fi shares gained more than 1% to a new 12-month high.

ASX healthcare shares to benefit

RBC Capital Markets has suggested the likes of Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL), Healius Ltd (ASX: HLS) and Australian Clinical Labs Limited (ASX: ACL) could be underappreciated winners from the Budget after the government allocated another $546 million in Medicare funding towards COVID-19 testing.

Charter Hall, Regal in the headlines

Property fund manager Charter Hall Group (ASX: CHC) gained 1.1% after announcing it had agreed to purchase Irongate Group, a $1.6 billion property manager in a partnership with the Dutch pension fund PGGM for a cost of $1.90 per share; the group appears set on gaining more diversification.

Regal Investemt Fund (ASX: RF1) has managed to extract a stronger price out of the embattled hedge fund manager VGI Partners Ltd (ASX: VGI), with the latter agreeing to give up another 6.7% ownership in the company as part of a merger.

Star faces class action

The news for Star Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX: SGR) is going from bad to worse with a class action launched in Victoria following the CEO’s decision to quit this week.

Shares of the casino operator fell 1.8% and are down 15% this year with allegations that it failed to comply with continuous disclosure requirements regarding its systems and management of regulatory risks.

ASX 200 today

Looking ahead, the ASX 200 is set to edge higher when the market opens this morning, despite a negative lead from US stock markets overnight.

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Disclosure: At the time of publishing, Drew owns shares in Magellan.