Following a flat Monday for the ASX, the premiere index here in Australia set another record high in trading today as the ASX 200 inched 0.3% higher and closed at 7562.6 points. Today, Pilbara Minerals and Pointsbet Holdings were the top performers and Gold was on the receiving end with Ramelius Resources being the worst performer with -5.9%.
The earnings season has gotten off to a terrific start as several big name companies have reported solid earnings – resulting in the ASX to keep its momentum going for 2021. Year to day, the ASX 200 has returned 13% to investors, and we are still in August. Dividends have been the biggest focus in this earnings season as several companies have and are expected to lift dividend payouts following the rather dry year we saw in FY20 due to the effects of the pandemic.
ANZ is an Australian multinational banking and financial services company that operates in 33 markets globally with representation in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Pacific, Europe, America and the Middle East. Coming off an extremely difficult year for the banks and investors in banks with dividends being cut, ANZ’s interim dividend for 2021 was 70 cents per share. The company’s strong earnings, improving environmental conditions and a combination of their strong capital management has given them the confidence to pay this interim dividend. In H1FY21, ANZ’s statutory profit after tax was up by 45% at $2.9mn, driven by a net credit provision release of $491mn. The company has not faced any large credit losses due to the pandemic, in fact they have $4.3bn in their reserve if conditions deteriorate. The company’s capital position and strong balance sheet gives them the flexibility to return surplus capital to shareholders. With low interest rates continuing to offer favourable operating environments, the run for the banks does not look like it’s over yet, and ANZ is one stock that fits into most investor portfolios. ANZ shares ended the day marginally in the red zone as the ANZ share price dipped by 0.03% and closed at $28.88 a share.
Suncorp Group Ltd. is a financial services company, which engages in the provision of banking, wealth, and insurance products and services. It operates through the following segments: Insurance; Banking and Wealth; Suncorp New Zealand. SUN shares surged over 7% yesterday as the company reported its brilliant FY21 financial performance. SUN shares set a new 52-week high yesterday and today, SUN shares inched marginally higher. Suncorp Group announced a strong FY21 result with cash earnings of $1,064 million, up 42.1%. The result demonstrates the program of simplifying and refocusing Suncorp is gaining traction. Group net profit after tax increased by 13.1% to $1,033 million. The Board has declared a fully franked final ordinary dividend of 40 cents per share. This brings the total fully franked ordinary dividends for FY21 to 66 cents per share. In addition, the Board has declared a fully franked 8 cent special dividend and has announced an on-market share buyback of up to $250 million. The performance was also not just a one off. SUN shares have returned 44% in the past year and 31% in 2021 alone. With operating conditions still remaining favourable, SUN shares may have further wind in its sails. SUN shares closed $12.80 a share today.
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