Sellers outnumber buyers on another epic ASX earnings season day, with Westpac, Domino's standouts

Sellers outnumber buyers on another epic ASX earnings season day, with Westpac, Domino's standouts

The ASX pulled back from its recent stellar run, with Westpac, Domino’s Pizza and Rio Tinto among the big results lobbing in on an epic earnings season day.

The S&P/ASX200 closed 0.46 per cent lower at 6885.2 while the All Ordinaries Index eased 0.42 per cent to 7158.8.

CommSec analyst Tom Piotrowski said the highs of the session were in its earliest moments of trade and “sellers quickly got on top of those levels, taking advantage of the improvement”.

“In broad terms, it’s a consolidation, it’s in line with what we saw in the northern hemisphere overnight where the buying pulse was overshadowed by other factors,” he said.

“It’s worth considering that we’ve seen some pretty substantial increases over the last couple of weeks and that has given investors pause to reflect.”

OpenMarkets Group chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said the ASX didn’t get much of an overseas lead, with major Wall Street indices relatively flat in fairly muted trade.

Mr Tchourilov said Wednesday’s standouts were Westpac and Domino’s Pizza.

The big four bank gave a better than expected quarterly update, with chief executive Peter King commenting on improved credit quality, a much improved economic outlook and a significant increase in mortgage applications.

Westpac advanced 4.58 per cent to $23.54 while ANZ added 1.37 per cent to $25.82, Commonwealth Bank retreated 1.9 per cent to $84.28 and National Australia Bank inched 0.16 per cent higher to $25.60.

Domino’s cracked $100 a share for the first time — reaching $106.26 in intraday trade before finishing at $105, up 7.57 per cent — on the back of a half-year sales surge as the pandemic-driven boom in online-ordered food deliveries continues.

Rio Tinto gained 3.59 per cent to $127.47 before releasing its full-year results from London after the ASX closed.

Chief executive Jakob Stausholm said it had been an extraordinary year, with the miner’s successes “overshadowed by the tragic events at the Juukan Gorge, which should never have happened”.

The behemoth booked a 22 per cent rise in net earnings, slashed debt and declared a record final ordinary dividend of $US3.09 ($A3.99) per share plus a special dividend of 93 US cents ($A1.20) per share.

BHP rose 3.4 per cent to $48.60 while Fortescue lifted 3 per cent to $24.41 after the iron ore price improved.

Coles booked a 14.5 per cent jump in net profit to $560m and declared a fully franked interim dividend of 33 cents per share, up 10 per cent on the previous interim payout to investors.

Shares in the supermarket giant backtracked 5.39 per cent to $17.20.

Super Retail Group, which owns Supercheap Auto, Rebel and BCF, booked a tripling in statutory net profit as consumers spiffed up their cars, bought fitness wear and went boating, camping and fishing as COVID-19 restrictions eased.

Its shares appreciated 1.99 per cent to $11.81.

Another company benefiting from a COVID-19 trend — strong demand for used cars — was, which reported a 17 per cent rise in adjusted first half net profit.

Ord Minnett said it was a solid result in light of restrictions in Victoria but shares in dipped 1.58 per cent to $21.75.

Online travel group Webjet reported a massive 90 per cent plunge in first half revenue, with managing director John Guscic saying the results reflected the devastating impact the health crisis continued to have on the global travel industry.

Webjet’s online travel agency returned to profitability during the period as domestic borders started to reopen, which RBC Capital Markets said beat its expectations, but the group’s WebBeds accommodation business was a “miss”.

Shares in Webjet, which has been focusing on cutting costs and deferred its interim dividend payment, put on 5.02 per cent to $5.02.

Buy-now-pay-later provider Zip Co’s stellar run finally came to an end, with the stock plunging 14 per cent to $11.97.

“The stock is up over 80 per cent in the past three weeks alone so some profit-taking at these levels really doesn’t surprise,” Mr Tchourilov said.

The Aussie dollar was fetching 77.47 US cents, 55.77 British pence and 64.1 Euro cents in afternoon trade.