Fortescue stars, miners lift market

·4-min read

Fortescue Metals' soaring annual profit has helped iron ore miners carry the Australian market to minor gains.

Fortescue shares gained 6.6 per cent after full-year profit and the final dividend more than doubled. The profits were helped by hefty iron ore prices.

BHP and Rio Tinto shares rose by more than two and three per cent respectively as a mini-revival in the price of iron ore continued.

The miners compensated losses in most categories.

Consumer discretionaries fared worst. Wesfarmers lost more than three per cent after Friday's hefty annual profit failed to meet investors' expectations.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 16.2 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 7504.5.

The All Ordinaries closed up 28.5 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 7788.6.

There was a good lead from US markets, after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell gave investors no cause for alarm during the Jackson Hole symposium on the weekend.

Mr Powell said the winding back of economic stimulus could begin this year.

The central bank's first step would be easing bond buying.

This may come sometime in the next four months, but Deep Data Analytics chief executive Mathan Somasundaram said investors had been fearing a schedule.

"The market is so addicted to stimulus that every day with it is a good day," he said.

"So when Powell didn't announce tapering straight away, commodity (prices) bounced and that is generally good for our (ASX) market."

Yet Mr Somasundaram said the winding back of stimulus would eventually worry investors and show in the indices.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed last week at record highs, while the ASX is near all-time highs.

A slowing global economy means stocks may have a long way to fall.

"At some point the market will panic over the next few months," Mr Somasudaram said of winding back stimulus.

"The question is when."

More big companies outlined challenges ahead as the final week of the Australian earnings season began.

Coronavirus-related restrictions and a jump in restructuring and regulatory costs dragged Crown Resorts to a full-year loss of $261.60 million.

Crown said COVID-19 restrictions continue to affect performance in the new financial year, after the flagship Melbourne casino was closed for several months in the year to June.

Shareholders will not be paid a dividend.

Crown shares were down 0.11 per cent to $9.31.

Funeral provider InvoCare says the coronavirus Delta strain is likely to hamper sales late this year, despite a return to first-half profit.

The company said it could not forecast earnings this financial year due to lockdowns and limits on funeral size.

However a return to profit gave investors confidence.

Shares were up 8.68 per cent to 12.15.

In technology, electronics design software vendor Altium plummeted more than 14 per cent.

Mr Somasundaram said expectations were high for Altium and a global shortage of computer chips was not helping business.

The company made a statutory profit of $US35.3 million and will pay a partly franked final dividend of 21 Australian cents per share.

Data analytics software vendor Nuix dropped 10.8 per cent to $2.56 after posting a full-year loss of $1.6 million.

ASIC has been investigating the company over possible breaches of the Corporations Act. Company leaders have also left.

Nuix listed on the ASX late last year.

In banking, the big four were all lower. ANZ fared worst and shed 1.13 per cent to $28.00.

Energy shares were also up after oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico were shut down due to a hurricane.

Santos shares gained more than two per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.95 US cents at 1723 AEST, higher than 72.50 US cents at Friday's close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 16.2 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 7504.5 on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 28.5 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 7788.6.

* At 1723 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was higher by nine points, or 0.12 per cent, to 7452 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.95 US cents, from 72.50 cents on Friday

* 80.10 Japanese yen, from 79.76 yen

* 61.84 Euro cents, from 61.63 cents

* 53.03 British pence, from 52.89 pence

* 104.28 NZ cents, from 104.31 cents.

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