Seek (ASX:SEK), BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) upgrade guidance, unemployment surprises, US markets offer positive lead
The Australian market (ASX:XJO) eked out a fourth straight gain finishing 0.2% higher with the financial and IT sectors the biggest contributors; up 1.2% each.
For the financials Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) led the way adding 2.3% after the release of better than expected unemployment figures.
The poll showed unemployment increased just 0.1% to 7.0% in October with the economy creating 178,000 new jobs offsetting a sharp increase in those looking for work.
Seek Ltd (ASX:SEK) provided an update to the market, raising their full year guidance after seeing revenue at levels well above they assumed amid the pandemic.
Revenue is now expected to hit $1.6 billion for 2021 and earnings $400 million compared to the $1.47 billion and $330 million predicted early this year.
Management have suggested the growth is coming from the rehiring spree across China and Australia as employers seek to find replacement for the many people across the economy laid off in March; a positive outlook for the economy but the valuation is looking stretched.
Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) hit by court loss, Bitcoin nearing record high
The insurance sector including QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) and Suncorp (ASX:SUN) was hit heavily today with a court ruling falling against IAG having the potential for far reaching impacts.
The NSW Supreme Court of Appeal rejected the company’s view that the business interruption caused by the pandemic was an ‘excluded event’ and therefore not insurable, meaning these companies may face major claims in the months ahead.
IAG entered a trading halt with QBE down 3.9%.
Steel producer BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) jumped 5.3% after offering a positive guidance update pointing to a 40% improvement in earnings from last year to $475 million; the result is also 80% above the previous six months.
Management highlighted that all divisions are now performing near capacity with Australia’s fiscal support seeing construction remain strong but particular coated and paint products used in home renovations.
The Asian business is expected to double in the second half as a result of their own success in returning to COVID-normal whilst the US is nearing full capacity despite the threat of further lockdowns.
The company is nearing recent highs and offers solid exposure to a construction driven recovery.
Overseas markets mixed, AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) treatment shows positive signs, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) smashes expectations
It was another mixed but positive day for overseas markets, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq heading 0.4% and 0.8% higher.
The market remains hamstrung between increasingly stringent lockdowns, including school closures in New York, and further signs of suitable COVID-19 treatments, with AstraZeneca’s success boosting immunity in older patients reported in a peer reviewed journal overnight.
They expect to release their own phase 3 trial results in the coming weeks.
Semi-conductor chip designer NVIDIA, which powers nearly every digital product from mobile phones to vehicles surged after smashing expectations seeing revenue hit a record of $4.73 billion for the quarter, a 57% increase.
The result was powered by record revenue from gaming products, +37%, and data centres, +37%, with its profit margin even improving to 65.5% reflecting the incredible power of scale for this tech-driven business.
Afterpay (ASX:APT) has been one of those rare share market success stories, where a start-up