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ASX 200 morning report – MFG, LNK & GNC shares in focus

The domestic market managed to eke out a small gain, recovering from as much as 1% down to send the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) 0.2% higher on Wednesday.

Positive signs from Asia, including a broadly expected jump in Chinese inflation, contributed to a settling of nerves with the materials sector recovering 0.9%.

The standout was the ASX healthcare sector, which gained 1.7% after investors flocked to CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) sending the share price 2.1% higher. Real estate also gained, up 1.3%.

Link shares halted

Link Administration Holdings Ltd (ASX: LNK) was the biggest detractor, falling 15.1% and entering a trading halt for a short period of time with management unable to explain the sell-off.

The weakness came ahead of a $5.50 takeover offer, with the sellers obviously predicting something that the market is not yet aware of. The Link share price finished the day at $4.22.

Magellan hires new CEO

Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MFG) outperformed, gaining 0.8% after the group finally confirmed its new CEO, hiring the Future Fund’s ex-Chief Investment Officer David George for the role in what will likely be the first of a number of moves towards a more consistent and balanced business.

ASX CHESS replacement deferred

Shares in ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX) gained 0.8% despite management confirming the long-expected news that the “go-live” date for its blockchain-driven CHESS replacement system has been delayed. It will no longer be ready for the April 2023 release date.

Nearmap legal stoush continues, CSR reports

The Nearmap Ltd (ASX: NEA) share price fell 1.3% after the company confirmed it had extended court proceedings against a key competitor regarding its patents.

CSR Limited (ASX: CSR) gained 0.5% as the company released its full-year results, reporting a $193 million profit, up 20% on last year’s result, on the back of another 9% jump in revenue. The dividend was also increased to 18 cents per share.

GrainCorp delivers record result

GrainCorp Ltd (ASX: GNC) delivered a record half year result, with profit nearly five times higher at $246 million from $51 million in the year prior. The group is seeing massive demand for Australian grain, oilseeds and vegetable oil.

GrainCorp is benefitting from exceptional planting conditions on the back of La Nina and delivered a 12-cent special dividend. Management also confirmed guidance for a profit of between $310 million and $370 million, shares fell 1%.

ASX 200 today

Looking ahead, the ASX 200 is expected to open lower this morning, following a negative lead from US stock markets overnight as inflation data topped analyst estimates. To find out more, check out my US stock market report.

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