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ASX climbs 0.2%, Crown soars after $8.5b bid emerges

Daily Market Update (74)

Crown offer pushes market higher, NextDC caps strong week, Accent hit by closures
The S&P/ASX200 (ASX: XJO) capped a volatile week with a positive finish, gaining 0.2 per cent with most sectors moving higher.
The highlights came from healthcare and consumer staples, which both added 0.9 and 0.7 per cent respectively.
The discretionary sector was weaker despite Crown Limited (ASX: CWN) topping the market by gaining over 16 per cent after private equity player Blackstone lobbed an unexpected third bid for the company priced at $12.50 per share.
The industrials sector was the worst hit, falling 0.6 per cent as a range of travel and infrastructure assets from Transurban (ASX: TCL) and Qantas (ASX: QAN) fell by more than 1 per cent as European cases spike and another round of lockdowns are threatened.
Rebel Sport owner Accent (ASX: AX1) gained 4 per cent despite announcing that their margins had suffered amid broad-based store closures with earnings a full $40 million below expectations.
Across the week the more defensive healthcare and technology sectors outperformed, gaining around 3 per cent each, with the energy and materials sector down 1.5 per cent as commodity prices continued their recent volatility.
On a stock level, Crown was the highlight, gaining over 18 per cent, with Appen (ASX: APX) and NextDC (ASX: NXT) up 11 and 8.5 per cent respectively after the latter forecast a c20 per cent rise in earnings.
Nasdaq gains, Dow falls, growing concern of fourth wave
Global markets are struggling under the weight of a potential fourth wave of lockdowns after the Austrian government restricted movement of its entire population as caseloads continue to grow.
The result was a rotation back into the ‘stay-at-home’ trade, at least for the day, with the Nasdaq hitting an intraday high and gaining 0.4 per cent as tech dominated once again.
The Dow Jones fell 0.7 and the S&P500 0.1 as the threat of expanding restrictions hit the oil and manufacturing sectors.
Shares in Footlocker (NYSE: FL) fell heavily, sinking more than 10 per cent after delivering just a 2 per cent increase in same store sales as supply chain issues hit their ability to ramp up sales.
That said, the companies’ margins expanding, and management confirmed they were ‘ready for the holiday season’.
Accounting and software platform Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) gained over 8 per cent and finished near a record after the owner of Quickbooks and Mailchimp reported a 70 per cent increase in sales. This exceeded US$2 billion and further upgraded their outlook.
Over the week, the story was similar with the Dow falling 1.4 per cent, the S&P gaining 0.3 and the Nasdaq continuing to outperform, up 1.2 per cent.
RBA goes bank, oil retreat continues, gold rally continues, infrastructure bill passes
The Reserve Bank of Australia was on the front foot this week delivering a strong message to industry participants on cryptocurrency and the outlook for the global economy.
On the crypto side, a board member warned about speculation in the sector and the threat that a move by global central banks to launch their own digital currencies would have on value of so-called payment alternatives.
Similarly, the RBA Governor delivered a wide-ranging speech highlighting the key differences between the domestic and overseas economy, why wage growth is set to remain sluggish and continued to reiterate that rates will be going nowhere until at least 2024.
President Biden managed to pass his Build Back Better infrastructure Bill which will set of a boom in decarbonisation-related infrastructure spending whilst providing important benefits to families.
Hidden in the policy was further regulation on the digital asset sector, but it appears well-timed to support a stuttering economy.
Oil’s retreat continues, with volatility picking up as various countries seek to pressure OPEC+ to increase supply as the commodity acts as a handbrake on the global economy.
On the other hand, gold bullion continues to benefit from the stronger USD and concerns about inflation, moving back toward $2,660 in AUD.

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