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ASX set for seventh month of straight gains

Mixed day but higher finish, new highs for stalwarts, Woolworths disappoints

The ASX200 (ASX:XJO) managed another small gain, adding 0.3%, powered ahead by the technology sector; Afterpay (ASX”APT) and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) adding 3.5% and 2.5% respectively.

With half the sectors down, it was the consumer businesses that were the biggest detractors, Woolworths (ASX:WOW) falling 3.9% after delivering lackluster third quarter sales figures.

  • Investors had been pre-warned that the cycling of 2020 lockdown comparables would be difficult to match, yet food sales still managed to reach $11.1bn in the quarter, a fall of just 0.7%.

    Total sales for the quarter were actually 0.4% higher reaching $16.6 billion as liquor sales continue to recover and hotels begin to reopen at capacity.

    Big W remains the unexpected highlight, sales jumped 18.3% to $1 billion benefitting from the Work from Home upgrades spreading across the economy.

    According to management, the group remains on track for the demerger of the hotels and liquor business this financial year.

    Today also saw shares in both Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) and Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) hit new 12 month highs.

    Property recovery continues, wine exports smashed, IOOF outflows continue

    Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield remains heavily impacted by the pandemic, evidencing how long the recovery is likely to be.

    The company reported they had 42 days of restricted trading during the quarter compared to 13 days in 2020, with 0 days of normal trading.

    The result was turnover dropping 42% to EUR$452 million from EUR$790 million and gross rental dropping 34%; shares dropped 4.5% on the news.

    After responding to ASIC’s remediation report earlier this week, IOOF Ltd (ASX:IFL) shares finished flat despite seeing net outflows across most of their key businesses.

    $1.4 billion left their financial advice business as advisers continued to depart, investment management fell $507 million, and pensions and investments down $782 million.

    Market movements were able to add $5.4 billion in total assets under management. The group continues its March to become the top, large corporate financial advisory firm in the country.

    Rally continues on strong GDP, Apple smashes expectations 

    The Nasdaq broke its two-day losing streak jumping 0.22% overnight after Apple Inc. released stunning aftermarket results.

    It was a similar story for the S&P500 and Dow Jones which both added 0.7% after US GDP expanded at an annualized rate of 6.4% during the quarter.

    Apple Inc. (NYSE:APPL) reported a 54% increase in second-quarter sales to US$89.6 billion, close to 10% above even the loftiest expectations.

    The result was driven by strong sales growth in the new 5G iPhone lines along with iPad and Mac sales. iPhone sales surged 66%, however, analysts are becoming wary that the current global chip shortage may impact sales in future quarters.

    The company earned US$24 billion in cash flow in the quarter alone, upped its dividend by 7%, and is planning another $90 billion in share buybacks.

    Facebook similarly hit a record high after announcing a 48% increase in first-quarter sales, as advertisers and retailers return to the platform en masse.

    Revenue climbed to US$26.2 billion and monthly active users were up 10%. Price per ad increased by 30% and the number of ads delivered was up 12%.

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