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.