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ASX retreats from 14-month peak

Daily Market Update

Market weakens on China tensions, local tech dumped, hot IPO market cooling

The ASX200 (ASX:XJO) fell 0.5%, weakening throughout the day as news continued to worsen. 

Initially, it was US payment giant PayPal (NYSE:PYPL) delivering a strong earnings result but announcing they would soon be bringing their BNPL offering to Australia in direct competition with Afterpay (ASX:APT).

Shares in APT fell 7.0% and the IT sector 3.6% as investors grow concerned that PayPal will seek exclusive deals with key global merchants despite their first-mover advantage.

The highlight once again was the materials sector which added 0.8% on the back of a strong day for BHP Group (ASX:BHP) which was 2.0% higher, overcoming news that the Chinese Government had ceased high-level discussions with Australia as our trade relationship continued to deteriorate.

On the positive side, the news sent the AUD tumbling to $0.77 US cents, offering a boost to both commodity companies and those with overseas operations.

Gold has continued to rally after struggling through the vaccine-led market rally.  

Adore Beauty dumped, Nearmap tanks on legal challenge, NAB doubles dividend

Online beauty product seller Adore Beauty (ASX:ABY) which listed in October at a price of $6.75 has nearly halved in six short months.

Today they disappointed investors by delivering an earnings update suggesting earnings would grow between 43% and 47%, not enough to meet the $188 million target, sending the shares down over 19%.

It didn’t stop there for Australian tech darlings on high multiples, with Nearmap (ASX:NEA) falling 23.3% after announcing it had received a legal challenge over a patent used for one of their ‘roof mapping’ applications.

As highlighted regularly in this column, the quality of recent IPOs and many smaller Australian businesses, in general, is at a much different level to companies operating in the US with huge addressable markets, but attract significantly higher valuations and therefore sometimes higher risk.

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) rounded out the bank reporting season, doubling their interim dividend to 60 cents per share after doubling cash profit to $3.34 billion for the first half of 2021.

Importantly, the company had no ‘extraordinary’ or ‘significant’ items and welcomed APRA’s decision to approve IOOF Ltd’s (ASX:IFL) takeover of their MLC business; shares fell 3% despite the positive news.

Jobless claims hit new low, PayPal driving innovation, vaccine producers sold off

Applications for unemployment benefits across the US hit another pandemic low last week as the economy continued to reopen.

The good news sent markets higher across the board with the Dow up 0.9%, the S&P500 0.8%, and the Nasdaq continuing to struggle adding just 0.4%.

The Biden Administration also confirmed that they would keep in place curbs on Chinese companies’ ability to accept US capital, a Trump-era policy.

As highlighted above, digital payments processor PayPal (NYSE:PYPL) surged after announcing record transaction levels of US$285 billion in the first quarter, up 50%.

This was driven by a 2% increase in active accounts to 392 million, which powered a 31% increase in revenue to US$6 billion.

The firm is benefitting from the stickiness of online sales now expecting 55 million new accounts, and revenue to climb 20% to US$26 billion for the year.

The company recently expanded into allowing users to buy and sell with cryptocurrencies and has announced an aggressive expansion of its BNPL facility.

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