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ASX falls 2.3pc; Afterpay below $120, AMP up 6pc

Updated

Key Points

  • US 10-yr treasuries +9pc to 1.52pc
  • Aus 10-year treasuries +11pc to 1.92pc
  • Gold -1.5pc to $US1796
  • AUD -1.1pc to buy US$78.8c

Market indices

  • S&P/ASX 200
  • 6664.80
  • -160.6 (-2.35%)
6,665 at 11.20am
10am11am12pm1pm2pm3pm4pm6,6506,7006,7506,8006,850

Updated Feb 26, 2021 – 11.41am. Data is 20 mins delayed.

Bubs revenue growth ahead

Vesna Poljak

The infant formula maker Bubs Australia forecast "modest" half-on-half revenue growth in the second half of 2020-21 and its shares are up nearly 3 per cent to 56.5¢.

Without making a detailed forecast, chairman Dennis Lin said all segments experienced a sales recovery. Bubs first-half revenue fell 23 per cent to $22.2 million on a "gross" basis - without rebates and marketing - but in the second quarter it reported 36 per cent growth on the first quarter result.

Its loss widened to $12.9 million from $7.6 million and no dividend was paid.

Roc offer for Vitalharvest at $1.08

Vesna Poljak

Roc Private Equity has offered $1.08 cash for each unit of Vitalharvest Freehold Trust, or alternatively all of the assets for $314.8 million cash, and the target is considering the proposal.

The stock has raced to $1.065 this morning.

As Larry Schlesinger writes, this throws a spanner in the works for Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management's offer at $1 cash for each unit, or $300 million for the works.

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Tech sector slumps 5 per cent

Tom Richardson

A 9 per cent fall in Afterpay shares has led the tech sector 5.2 per cent lower in morning trade as growth investors worry over what rising risk free rates mean for valuations.

WiseTech is 5 per cent lower at $26.35, with Xero down 3 per cent to $116.05.

Elsewhere in the popular buy now, pay later sector; Zip Co has added to yesterday’s losses with a 7.3 per cent fall, with Sezzle off 8.6 per cent on its results.

The only sector in the black is utilities with APA Group up 0.2 per cent and AusNet Services up 0.3 per cent.

Explosives business Orica is down 18.7 per cent on a market update and the chief executive’s resignation.

Grange Resources books $204.2 million profit

Tom Richardson

Tasmania-based iron ore pellets miner Grange Resources has revealed the results of a surging iron ore price by lifting net profit 163 per cent to $204.2 million on sales up 43 per cent to $526.3 million for calendar 2020.

Average realised prices for its iron ore pellets over the December quarter increased to $US174.69 per tonne, compared to $US130.22 per tonne in the September quarter. It had cash on hand of $203 million at the period end.

It will pay a final dividend of 2 cents per share, with shares last closing at 44 cents.

Omni Bridgeway takes provisions

Vesna Poljak

Omni Bridgeway's first-half loss blew out to $153.3 million and it will not pay an interim dividend. It's also still considering a change of listing, and possible move to the US in April.

The litigation funder estimates 8 per cent of its portfolio value could be completed in 2020-21, and 33 per cent in 2021-22. There have been some completions since the end of the half.

It carved out a $133 million provision related to several cases, the biggest being the Supreme Court of Western Australia dismissing claims related to the Westgem litigation ($57.3 million), although Omni has lodged an appeal. A ruling in favour of the defendant is the trigger for impairment, according to the company's accounting policies. If the appeal succeeds, which it believes it may, the impairment will be reversed.

The net loss attributable to ordinary equity holders was $69.9 million for the half.

Omni is newly funding a prawn white spot class action on behalf of the seafood industry against the Commonwealth of Australia for alleged biosecurity breaches. This is an investment in its fifth fund.

Mesoblast in trading halt ahead of capital raising

Tom Richardson

Shares in biotech Mesoblast have been placed in a trading halt as the loss-making biotech prepares to reveal details of a private placement to a targeted industry investor to raise capital.

No further details were provided over the terms of the placement.

Difficult half: iSentia swings to $5.9 million loss

Tom Richardson

Media monitoring and analytics business iSentia has swung to a $5.9 million loss after a shock cyber-security hack sliced $3.3 million off revenue for the half-year to December 31, 2020. It reported underlying EBITDA of $5.9 million on final revenue down $10.4 million to $41.8 million.

Chief executive Ed Harrison labelled it a difficult half, as the cyber incident delayed projects and redirected resources away from sales growth.

It also exited its loss-making North Asia operations in September 2020.

Shares are down 96 per cent over the past five years to last close at 13 cents.

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Harvey Norman profit soars, dividend increases

William McInnes

Harvey Norman has increased its dividend with profit soaring through the first half of the 2021 financial year, with sales remaining strong.

The company’s total aggregated company-operated and franchisee sales revenue climbed 25.8 per cent to $5.12 billion while net profit after tax and NCI rose 115.8 per cent to $438.17 million.

“The solid results delivered this half is a testament to the strength and resilience of the integrated retail, franchise, property and digital strategy and its ability to adapt and transform to the changing retail landscape and continue to navigate the uncertainties presented by COVID-19,” said Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey.

“The results achieved in the first half confirm the strength of our model.”

The company said positive momentum had continued into the second half, with aggregated sales revenue up 21 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

Harvey Norman declared an interim dividend of 20¢, its biggest interim dividend on record.

US 10-year yield back above S&P dividend yield

Tom Richardson

A potential turning point for markets as the benchmark risk free bond yield tops the yield on the US benchmark S&P500 equity index.

Telix’s loss balloons to $44.5m

Tom Richardson

Oncology research business Telix Pharmaceuticals has reported a calendar 2020 net loss of $44.5 million versus $16.5 million in calendar 2019. It said revenue climbed 50 per cent to $5.2 million over 2020. By the end of 2020 total accumulated losses stood at $93 million.

Telix has multiple molecularly targeted oncology radiation therapies at the clinical stage and anticipates completion of its ZIRCON phase III trial into renal cancer imaging in 2021.

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Summary | 1 Annotation
integrated retail, franchise, property and digital strategy
2021/02/26 00:51