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ASX up 0.2%; materials and energy lift market

Daily Market Update (11)

ASX higher as travel recovers, Kogan can’t live up to the hype, lockdowns hit Boral
 
The ASX200 finished 0.2% higher on Tuesday, continuing the positive start to the week with energy and materials leading the way, up 2.8% and materials 0.8%.
 
BHP (ASX: BHP) has started to recovery improving 1% as the iron ore price settles. It was a positive day for the travel sector as the vaccination rate speeds up and Qantas (ASX:QAN) launched their tearjerker advertising campaign, shares finished 5.5% higher with Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) also adding 6.6%.
 
But all eyes were on e-commerce retailer Kogan (ASX: KGN) which appears to have fumbled the opportunity offer by the pandemic.
 
Shares tanked by another 15.8%, down 60% from the high, after the company reported an 87% fall in profit to just $3.5 million and suspended its final dividend.
 
The weaker profit was caused by ‘supply chain interruptions’ with previously announced overstocking needing to be written down, whilst incentive payments to the founders also came at a cost.
 
Earnings were over 50% lower despite a 52% increase in sales to $1.18 billion with investors most concerned about the anaemic growth in 2021.
 
June quarter sales excluding the acquisition of Might Ape actually fell 14%. Seek Ltd (ASX: SEK) also weakened slightly despite returning to profit in 2021, reporting $752 million, as revenue grew by 1% to $1.59 billion.
 
The company is benefitting from a lack of jobs and plenty of workers, with their core business growing 17% and supporting a 20 cent per share dividend. 
 
Boral’s $50m hit, Hub 24 dividend hike, Ansell’s renaissance
 
Now majority owned by Seven Group (ASX: SWV) Boral Ltd (ASX: BLD) flagged a $50 million hit from rolling lockdowns on the eastern seaboard, with growing concern about the lack of consistency.
 
Shares fell 5.6% after the company opted to keep the dividend on hold with revenue down another 6.7% to $5.3 billion. Profit continues to improve, hitting $639 million, a $1.7 billion turnaround from 2020.
 
Boral remains likely to offer capital returns in the coming months and highlighted that their earnings are centred more around construction, not residential activity, which will have a positive tailwind post the pandemic.
 
Platform operator Hub 24 (ASX: HUB) reported a record level of organic growth, with profit growing 50% to $15 million on the back of record inflows of $8.9 billion.
 
Total funds under management hit $58.6 billion for the platform consistently voted as Australia’s best by advisers. Investors cheered the 50% increase in the dividend sending shares 7.7% higher.
 
Glovemaker Ansell (ASX: ANN) has capitalised on the pandemic, returning a record final dividend to shareholders on the back of a 25% increase in sales to US$2.02 billion.
 
Profit improved by 57% as the combination of higher production, supported by their essential worker status, and increasing prices became a near perfect storm. Shares were 9.9% lower despite the US$43.6 cent dividend.
 
Nasdaq hits 15,000, budget bill approved, Palo Alto delivers
 
The Nasdaq reached another new high, hitting 15,000 points overnight after gaining 0.5% as earnings season came to an end.
 
The move from 14,000 to 15,000 took longer than in recent memory with some 136 trading sessions required.
 
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones were comparatively weaker up 0.2 and 0.1% respectively as the cyclical trade tailed off.
 
The record comes amid valuation concerns yet around 90% of companies delivered earnings updates this month with earnings close to doubling, up 95%, in the last 12 months. This suggests the index is being driven by growing companies rather than just valuations.
 
The House of Reps passed the US$3.5 trillion budget bill focused on social security with a final vote on the US$1 trillion infrastructure package lined up for September.
 
On a company specific level Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PAN) was up over 18% with the cybersecurity group reporting a 30% increase in revenue to US$1.22 billion.
 
The company is clearly benefitting from the forced move online and the growing risk of cyber-attacks.

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