CSL soars, helps ASX gain one per cent: Wednesday 16 Feb

Market giant CSL soared after its first-half profit while easing tensions in Europe helped a broad-based rally on the ASX.

Biotech CSL rose eight per cent to $263.69 after investors accepted a lower profit due to the challenges of collecting blood in a pandemic.

Fortescue Metals reported lower first-half profit due to less demand for iron ore but most of the market rose on hopes Russia is backing down from invading Ukraine.

Healthcare and property shares were the top two categories and gained six per cent and three per cent respectively.

The commodity-based categories of energy and materials were the only ones to slip and dropped less than one per cent.

Russia is a major oil producer and investors fear prices could rise higher if troops push into Ukraine. The Brent oil price was $93.43 per barrel.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 78 points, or 1.08 per cent, to 7284.9 points on Wednesday.

The All Ordinaries index closed higher by 82.7 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 7573 points.

Wall Street provided a good lead, largely due to progress in peace talks in Europe.

Also in the US, the minutes of the January Federal Reserve meeting will soon be published.

Investors will be scouring the documents for clues on the size and number of imminent rate rises.

In ASX earnings, Fortescue profit fell 32 per cent after a period in which iron ore traded for substantially less than the same period a year earlier.

Fortescue leaders talked up the prospect of Chinese steel production improving after the Winter Olympics in Beijing but investors were unconvinced.

Shares fell two per cent to $21.15.

Its major mining peers were both lower. BHP dropped one per cent to $47.33. Rio Tinto shed less than half a per cent to $118.56.

Treasury Wine Estates was one of the favourites of the day after the company battled against Chinese tariffs on Australian wine.

Net profit slipped seven per cent but investors were encouraged by sales improving in most regions outside Asia.

Treasury Wine Estates was up 11 per cent to $11.77.

Outside of earnings news, Genworth Mortgage Insurance surged after Ares Management Corporation took a minority stake

Ares recently bought parts of wealth manager AMP.

Genworth was higher by six per cent to $2.81.

In banking, the majors were all higher by about one per cent each except for the Commonwealth Bank. The CBA traded ex-dividend and fell almost one per cent to $98.57.

On Thursday, companies reporting earnings include casino operator Star Entertainment and telecommunications giant Telstra.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.61 US cents at 1728 AEDT, higher than 71.13 US cents at Tuesday’s close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 78 points, or 1.08 per cent, to 7284.9 points on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries index closed higher by 82.7 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 7573 points.

* At 1728 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down four points, or 0.06 per cent, at 7199 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.61 US cents, from 71.13 cents on Monday

* 82.83 Japanese yen, from 82.18 yen

* 63.05 Euro cents, from 62.76 cents

* 52.85 British pence, from 52.58 pence

* 107.76 NZ cents, from 107.44 cents.

 

Steven Deare
(Australian Associated Press)

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