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(Australian Associated Press)
Technology providers prevailed and media companies’ earnings fell foul of investors as the ASX notched three days of gains.
Cargo management vendor WiseTech Global was the talk of the market on Wednesday after shares gained 28.45 per cent to $46.50 following its full-year report.
Shares earlier traded for a record $57.31 after WiseTech promised a final dividend more than double the previous one.
Investors may expect more lofty payouts after earnings were forecast to improve by up to 38 per cent this financial year.
The WiseTech performance, along with artificial software vendor Appen gaining eight per cent, helped IT shares prove the top category of the day.
Media stocks were not so well-liked.
Self-made billionaire Kerry Stokes is retiring from the board of his media and investment company, Seven Group Holdings.
Mr Stokes will step down as executive chairman after 11 years, following an annual general meeting in November.
The group also revealed full-year underlying net profit improved seven per cent to $504.6 million.
Yet investors sent shares lower by 7.56 per cent to $21.15.
Nine received greater punishment despite swinging to a $184 million annual profit after lifting advertising revenues.
The newspaper publishing division improved digital subscriptions and licence revenue and expanded earnings by 25 per cent.
Still shares fell 9.73 per cent to $2.69.
The big miners offset most of the losses on the market as they gained from a rebound in iron ore prices.
Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto closed higher by more than two per cent. BHP rose more than one per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 28.9 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7531.9.
The All Ordinaries closed up 35.9 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 7809.6.
The biggest losses were in telecommunications. Telstra dropped 2.54 per cent to $3.83.
The gains for the wider market were helped after US markets the S&P 500 and Nasdaq had all-time closing highs.
Investors appear comfortable ahead of US Federal Reserve officials preparing for the Jackson Hole Symposium later this week.
Chair Jerome Powell is due to talk with world bank leaders and will likely discuss the economic challenges of widespread coronavirus outbreaks.
These challenges remain at the fore in Australia, where millions of people in NSW and Victoria continue enduring lengthy lockdowns.
June quarter construction figures proved much weaker than expected. The data has raised concerns the economy stalled or went backwards.
Yet most investors’ interest continues to be in earnings.
On Thursday, earnings are due from companies including artificial software vendor Appen, Qantas, Whitehaven Coal and Woolworths.
Earlier, not all technology providers were winners.
Afterpay posted lower full-year earnings after a Rebel Wilson-led advertising campaign proved costly.
The pay-by-instalments provider revealed earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were down 13 per cent to $38.7 million.
The decline was due to increased spending on staff and promotional efforts to gain more customers.
Shares lost 1.18 per cent to $133.50.
Shares in financial software vendor Bravura Solutions crashed by 15.96 per cent to $3.16 after it revealed boss of 10 years, Tony Klim, was leaving.
Chief operating officer Nick Parsons will replace him.
The company’s full-year earnings, profit and revenue all fell, but met forecasts.
Medibank Private posted a 40 per cent jump in full-year net profit as attention on health during the pandemic boosted demand for health insurance.
Medibank will pay a fully-franked final dividend of 6.9 cents a share, up from 6.3 cents a year ago.
Shares were up 0.57 per cent to $3.55.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.47 US cents at 1728 AEST, higher than 72.34 US cents at Tuesday’s close.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 28.9 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7531.9 on Wednesday.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 35.9 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 7809.6.
* At 1728 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was higher by two points, or 0.03 per cent, to 7474 points.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 72.47 US cents, from 72.34 cents on Tuesday
* 79.54 Japanese yen, from 79.40 yen
* 61.71 Euro cents, from 61.61 cents
* 52.83 British pence, from 52.70 pence
* 104.35 NZ cents, from 104.26 cents.