ASX ends little changed as travel stocks punished in lockdown

Gains posted by “stay-at-home” stocks offset some of the bruising suffered by the travel and tech sectors.

Redbubble was a major beneficiary, surging 8.2 per cent to $3.71 while Kogan.com continued to trade strongly, backing up last week’s 11.1 per cent rise with a 6.6 per cent boost to $13. Temple & Webster soared 10.2 per cent to $11.52.

Other consumer discretionary stocks rose including Harvey Norman, climbing 2.1 per cent to $5.27, Premier Investments firmed 1.8 per cent to $28.28, Wesfarmers gained 1.3 per cent to $58.49 and JB Hi-Fi increased 1.3 per cent to $49.68.

 

All three major supermarket companies finished the session higher too; Woolworths advanced 2.9 per cent to $37.85 and Coles added 0.6 per cent to $16.93.

Metcash rose 0.8 per cent to $3.69 after posting strong increases in revenue and profit for the year ending June 30. The group also announced a $175 million share buyback.

Revenue (excluding charge-through sales) jumped 9.9 per cent to $14.3 billion while underlying net profit rose 27.1 per cent to $252.7 million. Metcash’s dividends for the year increased 40 per cent to 17.5¢ a share having declared a final dividend of 9.5¢ a share.

“Independent retailers have held onto the market share gains through COVID-19,” said Citi analyst Bryan Raymond. “The $175 million off-market share buyback is a positive surprise post the strategy day given the higher payout ratio and increased capex intensity.” The broker kept its “buy” rating on Metcash and its $4.10 target price.

Gold Road Resources said gold production at its Gruyere operations will fall to about 52,000 to 55,000 ounces (100 per cent basis) and output for calendar 2021 will therefore be in the lower half of guidance because of disruptions to the site’s processing plant.

 

Consequently, all-in sustaining costs (AISC) for the June quarter are anticipated to be in the range of $1675 to $1800 an ounce, resulting in AISC rising for the year. The stock plummeted 7.4 per cent to $1.31 on the news.

The Star Entertainment Group has been forced to close The Star Sydney and implement restrictions at its The Star Queensland properties in response to measures put in place by state governments. Shares in the company fell 1.4 per cent to $3.64.

China’s state planner said it expects a coal supply crunch to ease and coal prices to fall in July, the official Xinhua news agency said.

“With the growth of hydropower and solar power generation in the summer, as well as the increase in coal production and imports, the contradiction between coal supply and demand will tend to ease,” said the National Development and Reform Commission.

 

Oil stocks posted mixed results despite prices of the commodity reaching three-year highs. Santos climbed 0.7 per cent to $7.25 and Oil Search edged 0.5 per cent higher to $3.83, but Woodside Petroleum slid 0.04 per cent to $22.53, Ampol tumbled 0.1 per cent to $28.13 and Beach Energy declined 0.4 per cent to $1.29.

Commonwealth Bank was the only major bank to rise, climbing 0.6 per cent to $99.87, while NAB fell 0.2 per cent to $26.12, ANZ declined 0.3 per cent to $28.19 and Westpac dropped 0.3 per cent to $25.82.