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ASX update; Alibaba on the prowl

Defensive assets

The bull fights back, Alibaba on the prowl, Fed not enough to slow tech sell off, ASX to fall

The ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) followed the strong overseas lead to finish 1.1% higher for the day. Every sector delivered a solid return, with IT, +2.4%, and Communications, +2.1%, leading the way.

Employment advertising monopoly, Seek Ltd (ASX:SEK) was one of the biggest contributors rallying 9.4% after management were forced to comment on rumours sweeping the market overnight.

According to reports, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Inc. (NYSE:BABA) is considering a strategic stake in Zhaopin subsidiary as it enters another phase of growth; reiterating SEKs position as a growth leader.

  • Value investors are once again flocking to Boral Ltd (ASX:BLD) with Seven Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:SVW) angling for a board seat.

    Shares improved 2.9% as a number of activist investors continue advocating for a sale of the struggling US division along with the realisation of a number of well-located quarry properties.

    The company remains a rare pure play exposure to the likely infrastructure boom post COVID-19.

    QBE heads to court in the UK, Kogan delivers another record, coal on the nose

    QBE Insurance Ltd (ASX:QBE) is facing the first real test of its business insurance unit, with UK courts suggesting claims for COVID-19 related shutdowns may in fact be payable.

    Shares finished down 0.9% with the company announcing it would challenge the decision. Retailers were lead higher by Kogan Ltd (ASX:KGN), up 6.1%, after announcing profits doubled 2019 levels in August and customer growth hit another record adding 152,000 new customers in the month alone. 

    The rumour mill around AMP Ltd (ASX:AMP) has moved into overdrive, with reports suggesting JC Flowers, a US private equity player, are running the numbers on the companies wealth management division after missing out on the sale of MLC.

    Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX:WHC) fell 5.2% following the Federal Governments plan to build their own gas-fired power plant in Newcastle in an effort to streamline the full transition towards renewables.

    Rates at zero until 2023, Tik Tok on hold, tech sell off continues

    The Federal Reserve buoyed markets with their announcement that interest rates will be held near zero until at least 2023.

    Chairman Powell also noted the economic had been faster than expected but is now slowing and in desperate need of greater fiscal stimulus.

    News that Oracle Incs (NASDAQ:ORCL) offer for Tik Tok may not pass muster with the White House sent the Nasdaq down 1.7% and the S&P 500 0.5%.

    European markets finished 0.6% higher prior to the Fed decision with the return to normality post-pandemic evidenced by Zara owner Inditex (MC:ITX) reporting strong online trade sending shares 8.1% higher.

    Retail sales continued to increase in the US, albeit at a slower rate than expected, growing 0.6% in August. This was the first assessment post the stimulus checks showing just how important they remain to get the economy to other side.

    Australian unemployment data is due at lunchtime today, economists are expecting an increase to 7.7%, I’d expect a little worse than that given the lack of additional business support measures announced thus far.

    Drew Meredith

    Drew is publisher of the Inside Network's mastheads and a principal adviser at Wattle Partners.

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