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ASX 200 morning report – ANZ, AVZ & TPW shares in focus

The first day of a new interest-rate environment was a slight downer for the Australian share market, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) easing 11.5 points, or 0.2%, to 7304.7 points. The gauge has lost 1.8% this week, to be down 1.9% since the start of the year.

The S&P/All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO), which tracks 500 stocks, fell 22.8 points, or 0.3%, to 7564.8.

The Financials sub-index added 0.7%, with all four of the big banks rising after lifting their variable-rate loan rates following Tuesday’s hike in the cash rate.

National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) shares added 1%, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) both gained 0.7%, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) advanced 0.4%.

ANZ reports

ANZ announced its half-year results, revealing a 4% lift in cash profit from continuing operations for the six months ending March 31, to $3.1 billion, coming in slightly above analyst estimates.

The bank said it did not expect its mortgage book to grow as fast as the market until the end of the current half, as banks enter a new period of rising interest rates.

ANZ dropped its cost reduction target, which had it aiming to cut total expenses from $8.7 billion in 2021 to $8 billion at the end of the 2023 financial year, citing inflationary pressures.

ASX winners

Again, winners were scarce, but investment platform operator HUB24 Ltd (ASX: HUB) gained 3.9%, packaging group Orora Ltd (ASX: ORA) advanced 3.4% after an upbeat report, and British digital bank Virgin Money UK CDI (ASX: VUK) added 3%.

Insurance Australia Group Ltd (ASX: IAG) also rose 2.9% while grain handler and marketer GrainCorp Ltd (ASX: GNC) continued its strong recent form, rising 2.2%.

AVZ Minerals share price whipsaws

Shareholders in African potential lithium producer AVZ Minerals Ltd (ASX: AVZ) had an interesting day, with the shares surging 19% higher to $1.18 in early trade after the company said the Democratic Republic of Congo had awarded a mining licence to Dathcom, a company in which AVZ holds a large stake.

The AVZ share price then plunged to 80 cents – down 19.2% on the day – as the market digested ownership issues revealed lower down in the release.

Down by the snake

Temple & Webster Ltd (ASX: TPW) shares dropped 7% despite the online furniture retailer announcing revenue was up 23% for the first four months of 2022, versus the same period last year.

Elsewhere in retail, JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) lost 4.8% after the electronics heavyweight elected not to give full-year sales and earnings guidance.

Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX: FLT) surrendered 6.7% after forecasting a full-year loss of between $195 million and $225 million.

Big Mining was also on a downer, with BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) losing 0.6%, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) down 0.7%, and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) easing 2.4%.

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