ASX 200 up 0.25%: Westpac result impresses, PointsBet jumps

Pointsbet Holdings Ltd (ASX:PBH) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) shares are making waves on the ASX 200 on Monday…

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At lunch on Monday, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is on course to start the week on a mildly positive note. The benchmark index is currently up 0.25% to 7,043.7 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

Westpac half year result impresses

The Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price is charging higher on Monday following the release of its half year results. Westpac reported cash earnings of $3,537 million for the six months, which was a 256% increase over the prior corresponding period and a 119% lift over the second half of FY 2020. This allowed the Westpac board to declare a fully franked interim dividend of 58 cents per share, which represents a payout ratio of ~60%. Another positive is the bank’s cost cutting plan. Westpac is targeting an $8 billion cost base by FY 2024 to materially improve its efficiency. This compares to a ~$10.2 billion cost base in FY 2020.

PointsBet share price shoots higher

The Pointsbet Holdings Ltd (ASX: PBH) share price is shooting higher today after being the subject of a couple of bullish broker notes. Goldman Sachs has responded to the sports betting company’s third quarter update by retaining its buy rating with a slightly reduced price target of $17.20. Whereas Credit Suisse has upgraded its shares to an outperform rating with an improved price target of $16.15.

Transurban investor briefing

The Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) share price is trading lower today following the release of its investor briefing. At the briefing, the toll road operator revealed that average daily traffic across the group increased 13% during March compared to the prior corresponding period. The prior corresponding period was of course when COVID-19 first started to impact its roads.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Monday has been the PointsBet share price with a 7% gain. This follows the positive response to its third quarter update by brokers. The worst performer has been the ResMed Inc (ASX: RMD) share price with a 4.5% decline. This follows a sharp decline by its US-listed shares on Friday night.

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Pointsbet Holdings Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Transurban Group. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Pointsbet Holdings Ltd and ResMed Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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