Market Close: Materials drag ASX into the red as IT climbs on a steady trajectory

ASX News Market Summary
23 May 2024 16:40 (AEST)

The ASX200 closed around half a per cent down.

IT had a stellar day, the sector closed 2.2% up, followed by healthcare, 1.31%, and staples 1.1%.

On the other end of the spectrum, materials was unwanted ballast and shed 2.15%%. Consumer discretionary wasn’t far off and lost just over a per cent.

In the green

Payroll software company Xero (ASX:XRO) shot up more than 8% on its full year results ending on March 31st.

It reported full year net profit after tax of A$161.09 million compared to a loss of $104.71 million the prior year.

Its operating revenue was also up 22%.

XRO closed at $134.84.

Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) was up more than 8% on news it’s selling off its European fund management platform and interests for A$457 million.

The decision puts Cromwell in a strong financial position to execute its planned forward strategy with fresh capital in its war chest.

CMW closed at 47 cents.

And fund management firm Australian Ethical Investment (ASX:AEF) was up more than 5% after confirming it will acquire Altius Asset Management from Australian Unity, which will help grow its funds under management from $10.3 billion to $12.3 billion.

The transaction will also result in a sustainable fixed income team of seven, an expanded bond fund portfolio, and Australian Unity becoming one of Australian Ethical’s largest institutional clients.

AEF closed at $4.62.

In the red

BHP Group (ASX:BHP) had the world’s eyes on it today – it shed nearly 3% on news a third and improved takeover offer was rejected by Anglo American. The deal was valued at AU$73.9 billion.

Despite refusing to budge, Anglo gave BHP a week’s extension to put another bid on the table.

BHP closed at $44.91.

Agriculture-focused group Nufarm (ASX:NUF) shed more than 7% on its half year results.

The company reported revenue of $1.76 billion – down 10% from the previous year, and its EBITDA was also down 31% on the prior year.

Its crop protection revenue for its North American, European and APAC region had all seen a drop.

NUF closed at $4.73.

And popular discount retailer The Reject Shop (ASX:TRS) shed more than 5% on its half year trading update.

Whilst the company confirmed that sales were up 4.1% in the second half compared to the first half, it is currently facing “a number of macro and inflationary pressures” including higher wages, domestic supply chain costs and shrinkage.

TRS closed at $3.50.

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