Some upbeat earnings announcements from Financials and Telco stocks were not enough to lift the ASX 200 today.

The index traded sideways and has ended flat on Thursday at 7,577.

Telco was the best performing sector, up by more than 2%, while Utilities underperformed and fell by more than 1%.

The Telco sector was lifted by sentiment as Telstra (ASX:TLS) declared a $1.35bn on-market share buyback, distributing half of the proceeds it received from its 49% stake in InfraCo Towers of $2.8bn back in June.

Telstra shares rose by 3%, and were among the best performing large cap stocks today.

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Agriculture giant Graincorp (ASX:GNC) rose by 11% after upgrading its FY21 earnings guidance and raised it to $310-$330 million (previously $255-$285 million).

Graincorp CEO Robert Spurway said current heightened demand for Australian grain has bolstered an outstanding year for the agribusiness segment.

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) rose by 8% after announcing a H1 FY21 statutory net profit after tax of $441 million, compared with a net loss after tax of $712 million in the previous corresponding period (pcp). The company will also pay an interim dividend of 11c per share, up from 4c in the pcp.

The sentiment also lifted the shares like Insurance Australia (ASX:IAG) higher by 5.5%, following its own 170% increase in cash earnings to $747m announced yesterday.

The insurance sector is generally in the best shape particularly during the pandemic, as claims have dropped due to lesser activities in general.

Other financial stocks that rose include troubled wealth manager, AMP (ASX:AMP), which climbed 3% despite announcing a fall in profit of 28% to $146m, and declaring no dividends.

 

BIG CAP LOSERS

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Mining major Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) led the laggards with a ~7% slump after going ex-dividend.

AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) was down by 5% after reporting a $2.05bn loss after tax for full year FY21. Without the one-off significant item, the company has returned a profit after tax of $537 million, down 33.5% on pcp.