JB Hi-Fi jumps, Redbubble tanks as ASX finishes barely changed

Rebecca Le MayNCA NewsWire
The Australian sharemarket traded in the green before going south in late trade. James Gourley / NCA NewsWire
Camera IconThe Australian sharemarket traded in the green before going south in late trade. James Gourley / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

The Australian sharemarket traded in the green before going south in late trade, but JB Hi-Fi was among the best performers after reporting strong demand for consumer electronics and home appliances.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed just 8.5 points lower at 7408.8, while the All Ordinaries Index eased 3.5 points to 7735.8.

There was no lead from Wall Street, which was closed for the Martin Luther King Jr Day public holiday.

OMG chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said Chinese President Xi Jinping staged an extraordinary intervention, urging Western nations not to raise interest rates, claiming such a move could “challenge global economic and financial stability”.

“The move comes a day after the Chinese Central Bank slashed its own interest rates on several forms of short-term borrowing, in response to the Beijing property crunch and economic slowdown due to Omicron,” Mr Tchourilov said.

Locally, mining stocks were a standout.

PETROL PRICES
Camera IconAmpol reported a huge jump in its Lytton refiner margin. Brenton Edwards / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Calidus Resources leapt 9.72 per cent to 79 cents after announcing a new lithium exploration joint venture in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Other big movers in the sector were New Century Resources, up 9.6 per cent at $2.74, Poseidon Nickel, up 5 per cent at 10.5 cents, and Liontown Resources, up 6.3 per cent at $1.76.

BHP added 1.19 per cent to $46.70, but Fortescue slipped two cents to $20.75.

Rio Tinto weakened 0.35 per cent to $109.65 after its fourth quarter production results showed a 4 per cent drop in Pilbara iron ore production due to issues including above average rainfall and cultural heritage management in the wake of its Juukan Gorge cave blast debacle.

“Oil prices continued to surge, with West Texas Intermediate crude pushing above $US84 a barrel, nudging a price high that hasn’t been seen since 2014,” Mr Tchourilov said.

Strike Energy rocketed 9.3 per cent to 23.5 after it started drilling a well for a gas target on the weekend, but Beach Energy was 0.34 per cent lower at $1.45, while Woodside eased four cents to $25.20.

Woodside announced it had entered the front-end engineering design phase on a hydrogen project for the first time, awarding a contract for services for its proposed H2OK project in Oklahoma.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Camera IconJB Hi-Fi’s total sales for the December quarter were up almost 22 per cent over a two-year period. David Geraghty / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Fuel refiner and retailer Ampol put on 2.39 per cent to $31.27 after reporting a huge jump in its Lytton refiner margin in the December quarter to $US11.24 per barrel, up from $US6.76 per barrel for the third quarter.

“As city traffic volumes return towards more normal levels, we expect Ampol fuel sales volumes to increase,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Gordon Ramsay said.

JB Hi-Fi, which owns The Good Guys, reported a 1.6 per cent dip in total sales for the December quarter compared to the same period last year but up almost 22 per cent over a two-year period.

Online sales soared, up more than 62 per cent on last year and representing almost one-quarter of sales.

JB shares jumped 6.86 per cent to $49.84.

Redbubble, the print-on-demand online marketplace, reported a 25 per cent slide in first half gross profit, sending its shares plummeting 22.4 per cent to $2.32, making it the biggest loser on the All Ords.

Bookmaker PointsBet Holdings retreated 3.65 per cent to $6.07, “which follows a general downtrend that started back in November” and made it the worst performing stock on the ASX200 on Tuesday, Mr Tchourilov said.

ANZ lifted three cents to $28.75, Commonwealth Bank slipped 0.37 per cent to $100.79, National Australia Bank backtracked four cents to $29.41 and Westpac shed 0.28 per cent to $21.41.

The Aussie dollar was fetching 71.94 US cents, 52.74 British pence and 63.1 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

Originally published as JB Hi-Fi jumps, Redbubble tanks as ASX finishes barely changed

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