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Seek (ASX:SEK) under short attack


Sentiment shifts US market rallies, JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) sold off, Seek (ASX:SEK) under short attack

It’s looking like a tough end to October after what has been a very strong month. 

The ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) fell 1.6% on Thursday due to a weak global lead. 

  • As highlighted, new economic restrictions are combining with a market that has rallied heavily, seeing a spike in volatility. 

    The energy sector, -2.9%, has been the hardest hit with the oil price falling below USD$40 once again. 

    Seek Ltd (ASX:SEK) was the news of the day as it has come under a highly publicised short attack from ‘Blue Orca‘, an activist firm. 

    Shares were down as much as 11% before being halted down 5.7% for the day, after it was claimed their Chinese job site was full of ‘junk listings’ that maintain the illusion of growth; strong words. 

    That said, the business recorded revenue of $749.6 million in 2020 which cannot be easily fabricated, so expect a strong reply from management overnight.

    JBH delivers but disappoints, ANZ’s dividend intact but profit falling

    Management of retailer JBH announced a strong report for the first quarter of the new financial year, with sales up 26.7% across all their stores. 

    The highlight was Australia where sales increased 27.3% despite its entire Melbourne store network being closed for an extended period. 

    Following the trend of recent months, whitegoods retailer The Good Guys, is seeing a large share of diverted travel spending, sales were up 30.9%. 

    Key brokers have suggested that the growth rate implies a real slowing in sales in August and September, prompting a 6.2% sell off in the share price. 

    ANZ Banking Group Limited (ASX:ANZ) was the latest to deliver their full year result, announcing a 42% fall in cash profit to $3.7 billion with statutory profit down a similar level to $3.57 billion. 

    The biggest driver was the $2.74 billion in impairments as they sought to write off potential bad debts and some $815 million in value of their failed Asian expansion. 

    Importantly a dividend of 0.35 cents per share was announced, down from 0.80 cents and some 80% of loan deferrals are set to return to normal repayments.

    US GDP surprises, China to become a tech powerhouse, market rallies ahead of tech earnings

    The US economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter, adding 7.4% for a 33.1% annual rate. 

    It has now recovered almost two thirds of the ground lost due to economic shutdowns and has done so without additional stimulus. 

    Similarly to Australia the driver has been consumer spending, spurred on by travel restrictions, with durable good spending up 82.2% in the quarter alone. 

    The result was a strong rally in sharemarkets, the NASDAQ finishing 1.9% higher and the S&P 500 1.2%as confidence returns. 

    China released the first details of their next five year plan, targeting quality rather than speed of economic growth with country to become a powerhouse of technology. 

    Both Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) are due to report after market close, and adding 4.7% and 3.1% respectively.

    Drew Meredith

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

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