ASX to open lower; Wesfarmers, CSL set to report



  • Futures at 5am AEDT pointeed to a drop of 34 points, or 0.5 per cent, at the open.
  • All major Wall Street indexes were lower on Thursday morning.
  • Wesfarmers, CSL amongst major corporates set to report today.

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Sonic profits boom on testing

By Emma Koehn

Pathology tester Sonic Healthcare has revealed bumper half-year numbers, with net profit up 166 per cent to $678 million off the back of $4.4 billion in revenue for the half.

The $16 billion operator, which is one of the largest health stocks on the ASX, had a bumpy 2020 after COVID-19 shutdowns paused medical testing in a range of jurisdictions. Sonic has been able to offset that decline by processing COVID-19 tests, however, with virus surges in the US helping to keep its laboratory business strong.

Excluding COVID-19 testing, Sonic’s base business revenue declined one per cent for the six months to December.

Chief executive Colin Goldschmidt told investors in a statement to the ASX this was still a strong result, because it was a “very significant improvement versus the dramatic falls in base business we experienced from mid-March through May 2020”.

Sonic declared an interim dividend of 36, an increase of 2c compared with last year’s interim payout.

ASX set to open lower as Wall Street slides

By Damian Troise

Wall Street was lower in afternoon trade on Wednesday (US time), as investors digested data that showed that showed the US economy is in need of more stimulus. Energy prices were steady after rising sharply the day before, due to the frigid weather that’s impacted much of the US

The S&P 500 index was down 0.3 per cent in early afternoon trade, dragged down by technology and industrial companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 31,495 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq was down 0.9 per cent.

It sets up the ASX for losses this morning, with futures at 5am AEDT pointing to a drop of 34 points, or 0.5 per cent, at the open.

Two stocks in the Dow that were helping the index were Verizon Communications and Chevron. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment company announced it made significant new investments in those companies.

The Commerce Department said US retail sales soared a seasonally adjusted 5.3 per cent in January from the month before. It was the biggest increase since June and much larger than the 1 per cent rise Wall Street analysts had expected.

The jump was largely driven by the $US600 ($774) stimulus checks that went out to most Americans in late December and early January. The data shows that recession-hit Americans are eager to spend cash on necessities, and aren’t saving the funds — which is the goal of stimulus checks.

Good morning

By Dominic Powell

Hello and welcome to another busy day for reporting season.

Your editors today are Dominic Powell in the morning with Simon Johanson picking up the blog later on.

Good Morning.

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