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ASX edges up 0.2% as banks offset AMP and Afterpay

Daily Market Update

ASX delivers a gain, AMP CEO to resign, wealth platforms take a major hit 

The ASX200 (ASX:XJO) managed to register a slight gain, finishing 0.2% higher behind strength in the banking and healthcare sectors, with National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) up 0.5% and CSL (ASX:CSL) 1.4% amid a search for quality.

The news of the day was the rumoured departure of ‘saviour’ CEO Francesco De Ferrari, with the company entering a trading halt after falling 3.8% during the day.

The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX:ASX) is likely to face additional pressure after its upstart competitor Chi-X was purchased by global giant CBOE, with significant technological investment set to follow; shares fell 1.0%.

Suncorp (ASX:SUN) was the first of the banks to begin outlining the cost of the Northern floods, confirming they had received 5,400 flood-related claims already, sending shares close to 1% lower.

Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) once again confirmed why investors seeking commodity exposure should do so directly, not through mining companies, with shares falling 26.2% after losing their mining lease in Ghana.

Hub 24 (ASX:HUB), Netwealth (ASX:NWL) tank, building to power the economy

The lowlight of the day was the wealth platform sector as both Netwealth (ASX:NWL) and Hub 24 (ASX:HUB) fell 13.7% and 14.0% respectively.

The trigger was an announcement by the former that their wholesale interest agreement with the ANZ Bank would be coming to an end in 12 months’ time.

Under the deal, NWL is able to receive an interest rate of 0.95% on balanced held in their custodial accounts, whilst paying close to 0% back to account holders.

Brickworks (ASX:BKW) was one of few highlights, jumping 4.7% after announcing a 22% increase in net profit to $71.2 million and lifting its dividend by 5%.

The company has benefitted from a stimulus-led housing recovery, with Australian earnings up 60% to $16 million supported by the Home Builder program.

The CEO did however note concerns around the outlook for 2022 should migration and international student arrivals remain at current levels.

Construction material suppliers Boral Ltd (ASX:BLD) and AdBri (ASX:ABC) benefitted from the report, jumping 5.3% and 1.3% respectively.

US markets stage U-turn, finishing higher, Suez remains blocked 

All three US benchmarks finished higher on Thursday, the Dow Jones up 0.6%, S&P500 0.5%, and Nasdaq 0.1% despite having a weaker start.

The oil price has fallen even though the Suez Canal remains blocked for the second straight day. It has been estimated that some 2 million barrels of oil are delayed every day by the stoppage.

President Biden delivered his first press conference since taking office, offering similar rhetoric to Donald Trump.

He indicated that China ‘will not be the most powerful country’ on his watch and would be outspending them on innovation and infrastructure to ensure this.

In a wide-ranging conference, he also pointed to action should North Korea continue to test missiles.

Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) was a key gainer, adding 3.3% after announcing it planned to resume delivery of its 787 Dreamliners, highlighting an end to the year from hell for planemakers.

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