ASX 200 tumbles 1.8% at open as Dow sees biggest fall in 2 years

Australian equity markets opened sharply lower on Thursday tracking the overnight selloff in Wall Street stocks as the Dow Jones index registered its biggest single day fall in two years. The benchmark ASX200 index was trading 1.75% lower at 7,056.80 in the first few minutes of trading with all the 11 constituent sectors being in the red. 

On Wednesday, the ASX 200 index closed 0.99% higher to 7,182.7 points. 

Although the selloff on the ASX was led by Consumer Staples sector, which was down over 4%, Consumer Discretionary, IT, Energy, Materials and Telecom stocks also contributed massively to this decline, falling between 3.26%-2%. The ASX All Ordinaries index was down 1.98% at 7,279.8 points.

Renewed fears over global inflation impacted investors’ appetite for growth stocks, while China’s economic slowdown is expected to impact export-centric mining stocks.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 3.57% to 31,490.07 points, while the S&P 500 was lower by 4.04% to 3,923.68. The NASDAQ Composite ended the session 4.73% down at 11,418.15 points.  

Coming to the top ASX 200 gainers, Imugene Limited (ASX:IMU), Ramsay Health Care Ltd. (ASX:RHC) and Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL) were leading the pack with 5.882%, 3.612% and 1.645% gains, respectively. On the flip side, JB HI-FI Limited (ASX:JBH) and Novonix Limited (ASX:NVX) were the top losers, falling 7.238% and 6.616%, respectively.   

Oil prices also declined overnight as concerns related to the supply crunch eased after government data revealed that US refiners ramped up output. The WTI crude closed at US$109.59 per barrel, down 2.5%.  

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Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL)

The share price of ASX-listed gambling machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Limited remained on investors’ radar on Thursday after the company announced its results for the half-year ended 31 March 2022. 

In what may be called impressive results, the company’s net profit after tax during the period jumped 46.5% to AU$530.7 million. The gaming company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) touched AU$970.3 million, up almost 30.3%, after excluding significant items. Besides, the Group’s operating revenue also rose 23.1% to AU$2.7 billion.

In a separate announcement today, Aristocrat informed that it would implement an on-market share buy-back program of approximately AU$500 million. This will be a part of the company’s proactive capital management strategy.

Nufarm Ltd. (ASX:NUF)

Shares of agricultural chemicals company Nufarm grabbed the spotlight today after the group announced robust performance for the six months ended 31 March 2022. 

The company’s underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation jumped 41% on pcp, revenue was up 31%, while underlying net profit after tax (uNPAT) increased 112% on pcp. The company has declared an unfranked interim dividend of 4 cents per share (cps).

Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB)

The shares of Webjet Limited remained in focus on Thursday after the company announced its financial results for FY22. The company has said that it saw a profitable 2H22 driven by WebBeds and Webjet OTA.

During the period, the company’s TTV and revenue were up materially compared to the 12 months to 31 March 2021 (up 262% and 466%, respectively), while expenses were only up 7%. 

The company has not provided any FY23 earnings guidance.

Sims Ltd. (ASX:SGM)

Sims share price will remain in focus today after the company revealed via an ASX announcement that it has acquired a deep water site in Brisbane for consideration of AU$88million.

As per the announcement, the acquisition aligns with the company’s strategy to grow in large coastal markets using top tier processing facilities and bulk export optionality.

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