Australian sharemarket breaks closing, intraday records as company reports impress investors amid more M&A

The Australian sharemarket hit another fresh record high on the back of continued positive earnings reports, and mergers and acquisitions action.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished 0.5 per cent stronger at 7431.4 while the All Ordinaries Index rose 0.44 per cent to 7704.

OMG chief executive Ivan Tchourilov noted the S&P/ASX 200 also reached an all-time intraday high of 7447.9.

It comes after fresh record closing highs on Thursday and Friday.

According to CommSec, the S&P/ASX 200 index has been gaining ground for 10 straight months, up 12.8 per cent this calendar year and up 1.6 per cent in July.

The mining sector was yet again a big contributor to the gains.

“The common theme of the earnings reporting season so far has been strong performance in the materials sector,” Mr Tchourilov said.

“Oz Minerals, BlueScope and BHP were among the big leaders today, with international demand for iron and steel outweighing a slowdown in domestic construction work due to Covid lockdowns.”

OZ Minerals surged 6.53 per cent to $23.48 after its June quarter report showed a rise in both gold and copper production, while costs fell.

Australian sharemarket breaks closing, intraday records as company reports impress investors amid more M&A

Camera IconOZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. Credit: Supplied

BlueScope leapt 6.4 per cent to $24.43 after booking a record preliminary unaudited second half result, with earnings beating its guidance.

BHP gained 2.79 per cent to $53.36 while rival Rio Tinto appreciated 1.8 per cent to $132.47.

“The materials sector performance was eclipsed today, however, by monumental gains in aged care companies such as Japara Healthcare, Regis Healthcare and Estia Healthcare,” Mr Tchourilov said.

Japara rocketed 18.46 per cent to $1.38 after backing an improved takeover offer of $1.40 cash per share by Calvary, also known as the Little Company of Mary Health Care.

“This represents a significant premium on yesterday’s close at $1.165,” Mr Tchourilov said.

“Shareholders of closely correlated peers Estia and Regis Healthcare have been direct beneficiaries of Calvary’s show of confidence in the aged care industry.”

Estia advanced 8.64 per cent to $2.39 while Regis soared 12.57 per cent to $2.15.

Imugene, which is developing therapies that seek to activate the immune systems of cancer patients to treat and eradicate tumours, went into a trading halt pending an announcement about a capital raising.

Australian sharemarket breaks closing, intraday records as company reports impress investors amid more M&A

Camera IconThere were big gains among healthcare stocks. Credit: istock

Takeover target Oil Search dipped 0.5 per cent to $3.93 despite its second quarter report showing it was on track to deliver full-year production and capex guidance.

The report made no mention of suitor Santos, which last week revealed its merger proposal had been spurned by the Oil Search board.

RBC Capital Markets maintained its outperform rating for Oil Search, which oil and gas analyst Gordon Ramsay said had a standout long-term growth profile in the Australian energy sector, partly driven by its proposed Pikka oil development in Alaska.

Ord Minnett said the report showed a strong quarter with production, sales and revenue all above its expectations.

Santos lifted 1.39 per cent to $6.55.

Furniture and homewares e-tailer Temple & Webster booked a record full-year result, with earnings before interest and tax up a whopping 141 per cent.

This financial year is off to a strong start for the company, with revenue up almost 40 per cent for the first 24 days of this month, and the retailer says its growth goes beyond the pandemic-sparked online shopping and home sprucing boom.

Australian sharemarket breaks closing, intraday records as company reports impress investors amid more M&A

Camera IconTemple & Webster has been a big beneficiary of the online shopping and home sprucing boom, booking a record full-year result. Supplied via NCA NewsWire Credit: Supplied

Temple & Webster shares rose as high as $13.33 in early trade before closing 7.4 per cent higher at $12.47.

Mining services company Aquirian made a stellar ASX debut, surging 20 per cent to 24 cents after raising $8m in a significantly oversubscribed IPO.

Bank stocks contributed a big boost to the market, with ANZ putting on 0.87 per cent to $27.91, Commonwealth Bank gaining 1.58 per cent to $100.71, National Australia Bank edging 0.15 per cent higher to $25.98 and Westpac improving 0.69 per cent to $24.79.

The travel sector was in the green despite NSW recording its biggest spike in new locally acquired Covid-19 cases since the Delta outbreak began last month – 172, plus two more deaths – but Victoria announced the lifting of its fifth lockdown.

Flight Centre added 0.76 per cent to $14.52, Qantas rose 1.96 per cent to $4.69 and Webjet firmed 0.83 per cent to $4.88.

Mr Tchourilov said A2 Milk Company was among this week’s biggest losers, spilling 30 cents to $6 on Tuesday without any release of information to the market.

“Maybe there’s no point crying over it, but it’s worth noting that a number of recent divestments from substantial holders and the prospect of an extended lockdown have dampened its recent gains,” he said.

The Aussie dollar was buying 73.66 US cents, 53.3 British pence and 62.45 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

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