The ASX was in a holding pattern today, awaiting major macroeconomic news, but a popular part of the tech sector was firing on all cylinders. The Australian share market was in a holding pattern awaiting major macroeconomic news later this week, but the buy now, pay later sector was red hot. The S&P/ASX200 finished down just 2.9 points at 6976.9, while the All Ordinaries Index lifted a mere 5.8 points to 7231.
CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian said the local bourse got off to a strong start but later faded, mirroring US and European markets overnight that “largely ran on the spot”. “One of the reasons is basically we’ve got a busy tail end of the week ahead,” Mr. Daghlian said. In the US on Tuesday night, an update on inflation will be released, while the latest employment figures will be reported in Australia on Thursday.
On Friday, some of the biggest banks in America will reveal quarterly results, and the latest on China’s economy will also emerge. OpenMarkets Group chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said it was mostly a tranquil session on the local bourse. “Under the hood, however, the BNPL space is firing on all cylinders, led by Zip Co, which released a quarterly announcement,” Mr. Tchourilov said.
Zip reported record transaction numbers for the March quarter – up a whopping 195 percent year-on-year – while quarterly revenue was its highest ever at $114.4m, up 80 percent. Both customer numbers and merchants on the platform increased by more than 80 percent. “Their US-based Quadpay business continues to perform extremely well and has acquired over 670,000 new customers already this year,” Mr. Tchourilov noted.
“It’s a great result for them, especially when you factor in how rampant COVID-19 still is in some parts of North America. “Many businesses are still struggling, while Quadpay has seen 150 percent increase in US users year-on-year, and record revenues have beat street expectations.” He said the news justified Zip shares surging almost 17 percent to a five-week high of $9.73.
“The whole sector is flying off the back of it,” Mr. Tchourilov said. Larger rival Afterpay gained 3.12 percent to $124.98. At the same time, Splitit announced a new global partnership with UnionPay International, part of China UnionPay, saying the deal was a significant milestone in its Asia Pacific expansion strategy. Shares in Splitit advanced 8.33 percent to 84.5 cents.
Waste management group Cleanaway advised its planned purchase of Suez Group’s Australian recycling and recovery business had been rubbished by Suez agreeing to a mega-merger with fellow French giant Veolia. Still, it would acquire two landfills and five transfer stations from Suez for $501m. Mr. Daghlian described the latter deal as a “bit of a consolation prize”. Shares in Cleanaway rose 2.43 percent to $2.53.
Online book retailer Booktopia, which unveiled a new deal to become the exclusive supplier to education tech platform Zookal on Monday, added 1.67 percent to $2.44. Renewable energy company Delorean Corporation plunged 20.24 percent to 33.5 cents after making a stellar ASX debut on Monday, when its shares rocketed 110 percent but were still upon its initial public offer price of 20 cents.
ANZ inched three cents higher to $28.90, Commonwealth Bank added 0.54 percent to $87.19, National Australia Bank eased four cents to $26.79, and Westpac was one cent lower at $25.31. Rio Tinto backtracked 1.18 percent to $113.53, BHP erased 1.06 percent to $45.69, and Fortescue declined 0.93 percent to $20.36. The Aussie dollar bought 76.14 US cents, 55.34 British pence, and 63.96 Euro cents in afternoon trade.