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The Australian market falls, weighed down by financials and energy

Daily Market Update

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped by 0.4 per cent with ten out of eleven sectors falling. The energy sector mirrored the softer oil prices, experiencing a 0.9 per cent decline. Brent crude approached $US81 per barrel, having lost approximately 12 per cent in the last three weeks due to escalating concerns about global demand and the de-escalation of risk associated with the Israel-Hamas conflict. Individual stock performances included Santos fell 1.7 per cent, Woodside slid 0.7 per cent and Karoon declined -2.5 per cent. On Monday morning, Marion Kohler, the Reserve Bank’s acting assistant governor, stated that Australia’s inflation rate remains “still too high.” Indicating that the subsequent phase of lowering it to the target is expected to be more prolonged than the initial phase. In corporate updates, ANZ experienced a 3 per cent decline after announcing a final dividend of 94¢, partially franked, scheduled for payment on December 22. The major bank disclosed a record full-year cash profit of $7.4 billion, marking a 14 per cent increase compared to the previous year. However, this was still not enough to meet analysts’ expectations and thus weighed on Australian financials overnight.

Australian Company News

Ramsay Health Care saw a 2.8 per cent decrease to $52.44 as the private hospital operator confirmed reports of its agreement with Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby to sell their hospital unit to Columbia Asia Healthcare for approximately $2 billion. TPG Telecom witnessed an 11.7 per cent tumble to $4.81, ranking as the worst-performing stock on the ASX 200. This decline followed the telco’s announcement that it has terminated discussions with Vocus regarding a deal to sell its Vision Network and other enterprise assets. Boral experienced a 5.1 per cent rally to $4.93 after revising its financial year 2024 earnings guidance. The company anticipates underlying earnings before interest and tax to fall within the range of $300 million to $330 million. Incitec Pivot saw a 1.4 per cent increase, reaching $2.94, following reassurances from its interim CEO, Paul Victor, assuring investors that the company’s plan to demerge its explosives and fertiliser businesses was progressing as planned. Victor noted that due diligence on the fertilisers arm had been completed by a potential buyer. Metcash experienced a slight decline of 0.3 per cent, settling at $3.71. The retailer announced its decision to elevate its ownership of Total Tools to 100 per cent, up from the previous 85 per cent. Elders exhibited a notable surge of 18.3 per cent, reaching $7.31, despite reporting a 38 per cent decrease in statutory profit after tax to $100.8 million in its full-year results. The company disclosed sales revenue at $3.3 billion, reflecting a 4 per cent decrease.

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