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ASX touches new highs, flattens at the close

ASX finishes flat, materials gain again, Lynas delivers records

The ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) gave up another record opening, dropping 0.4% throughout the day to finish flat.

Every sector finished lower barring materials and mining, which jumped 1% on the back of a strong update from miner Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: LYC). Energy dropped 1.4% and property trusts 0.9% after another fall in the oil price over the weekend.

  • Lynas ended the financial year with a record quarter of revenue as both demand and commodity pricing continued to strengthen. According to management, revenue hit $185.9 million, up from $110 million in the previous quarter.

    Importantly, management provided an update on both the Kalgoorlie and US projects, with the latter supported by the US Government, shares jumped 10.6% on confirmation that both had progressed to the next stage.

    On the other hand, gold miner Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX: SLR) was the biggest detractor, once again falling 8.1% following last week’s weaker than expected market update.

    A2M’s new leadership, GPT withdraws guidance, AFIC digs into franking reserve

    A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) fell 5.6% after announcing the addition of Amanda Hart as its new ‘Chief People and Culture Officer’.

    Hart joins from Dyson Australia in what appears a new role aimed at improving the company’s ‘capability building, leadership development, employee engagement’.

    Investors are clearly wary of management’s focus given the difficult conditions it continues to face in its key Daigou market.

    Property trust GPT Group (ASX: GPT) dropped 2.7% after withdrawing both its revenue and dividend guidance.

    Whilst management noted the strengthening economic conditions had contributed to a retail recovery, extended NSW restrictions made it difficult to provide forecasts.

    Listed investment company Australian Foundation Investment Co Ltd (ASX: AFI) handed in its full-year result, seeing shares rise 0.9% despite reporting a 2.2% fall in profit for the financial year down to $235 million.

    Management confirmed the dividend would remain at 14 cents per share, the same as in 2020, overcoming a swathe of dividend cuts in its core holdings in CBA (8%), Westpac (5%), and NAB (3%).

    The LIC was forced to dig into its franking credit reserve to the tune of $16 million. Interestingly, the group is turning to mid-caps for growth, adding Domino’s Pizza (ASX: DMP), Temple & Webster Group Ltd (ASX: TPW), and PEXA Group Ltd (ASX: PXA) during the quarter.

    More records, US-listed China stocks tank, Tesla profit hits US$1.1 billion

    US markets finished slightly stronger to open the week, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 added 0.2% and the Nasdaq 0.1% as investors stuck with mega-cap tech names including Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) ahead of an important week for earnings season. 

    All eyes were on the cohort of Chinese companies listed on American exchanges as the regulator continues to crack down on what it sees as too much market power. DiDi Global (NYSE: DIDI) fell another 20%.

    The bigger news, however, was the collapse of shares in tutoring companies including TAL Education Group (NYSE: TAL), which fell by 70% on Friday and another 20% on Monday after the Chinese Government is set to force them to become non-profit companies due to their importance in educating young Chinese.

    Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares jumped 2% ahead of an earnings report that saw sales double to US$11 billion and the company deliver its eighth straight profitable quarter, hitting US$1.1 billion.

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