The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO) and All Ordinaries (ASX: XAO) struggled to maintain positive sentiment on Wednesday with weakness in the technology and financial sectors sending a 0.5 per cent gain to a 0.2 per cent loss. Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) was the one positive for investors.
Energy and utilities remain in focus, gaining 1.5 and 2.1 per cent with NZ energy provider Mercury (ASX: MCY) and fuel refiner Ampol (ASX: ALD) gaining 4 and 3.8 per cent, respectively. The tech sector dropped to a 1.5 per cent loss with Computershare (ASX: CPU) dropping 3 per cent on hopes rate hikes may not be as aggressive as expected. The top performer was Coronado (ASX: CRN) a coal miner that had fallen 7 per cent the prior day after the Queensland Government announced new royalties; shares gained 7.5 per cent.
St Barbara (ASX: SBM) fell 18.1 per cent as another gold miner highlighted the production issues that can reverse a great thematic. The fall was due to the company announcing a strategic review and potential exit from their Simberi mine in PNG.
Crown gets license, Humm directors desert management, Downer payday
Whilst the company is no longer trading on the ASX after the takeover by Blackstone, Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN) received positive news in the approval of their Sydney gaming license. The approval is conditional and will be reviewed after 18 months to ensure appropriate changes have been made after being found unfit to hold a license some 12 months ago.
Shares in BNPL lender Zip Co (ASX: ZIP) fell more than 11 per cent despite management suggesting the company is significantly more resilient against higher interest rates than many predicted; shares now trade at just 47 cents. Humm Group (ASX: HUM) fell 3.8 per cent after a mass exodus of Directors was announced following the unsuccessful sale of their BNPL business to Latitude Financial.
Medibank (ASX: MPL) announced it would return another $205 million to customers after having smaller claims than expected during COVID-19. Shares in Downer (ASX: DOW) finished 2.8 per cent higher after the company announced it had been awarded two road maintenance contracts by Auckland Transport valued at in excess of $800 million with five-year returns beginning in July.
Global markets fall, Altria tanks
All three US stock market benchmarks finished lower despite a broadly stronger day for the market with commentary from Fed Chair Jerome Powell contributing to a more positive outlook. The Chair suggested the economy was strong enough to overcome recent rate hikes and confirmed the bank was not specifically seeking to create a recession. The result was all three benchmarks falling just 0.1 per cent.
US President Joe Biden flagged a ‘gas tax holiday’ as potential support for the higher cost of living pressures, along with growing pressure on refiners to ramp up volumes. The bond yield continues to fall.
Meanwhile makeup group Revlon gained another 49 per cent, becoming a ‘meme’ stock on hopes it will be brought out of bankruptcy. Tobacco company Altria saw shares fall more than 9 per cent after the FDA delivered a report suggesting their Juul Labs e-cigarettes could be banned in the US. Finally, niche retailers are seeing the greatest strength with Chef’s Warehouse gaining 4.5 per cent after raising sales guidance on the back of higher demand for their speciality products.