ASX 200 climbs 1%, Westpac rises, Western Areas jumps

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX:XJO) went up around 1% today. The Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) share price grew 1% despite ASIC action.
The post ASX 200 climbs 1%, Westpac rises, Western Areas jumps appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) went up by around 1% today to 6,999 points.

However, the ASX 200 did actually surge beyond 7,000 just before midday.

Here are some of the other highlights from the ASX:

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

Westpac was in the news today for two different reasons. On the positive side of things, the Westpac share price went up 1.5%, making it one of the largest contributors to the ASX 200 today.

However, it also made some headlines for the wrong reasons.

The major bank announced that ASIC has started proceedings against the company in relation to the sale of consumer credit insurance (CCI) products to 384 customers.

ASIC’s proceedings relate to allegations that Westpac supplied CCI to certain customers who had not requested or agreed to acquire the product.

Westpac said that ASIC is seeking declarations of contraventions of certain civil penalty provisions and unspecified monetary penalties relating to the period from 7 April 2015 to 28 July 2015.

The bank is carefully considering these claims and is committed to working constructively with ASIC through the court process.

Westpac has not sold CCI products since 2019.

Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA)

The Western Areas share price went up around 6% today in reaction to a preliminary March quarter production for the Forrestania operations, and is pleased to report an improvement in both mine and milled physicals.

Western Areas reported that total nickel mined increased 20% quarter on quarter to 4,236 tonnes. The mined ore grade was 3.6%, up 27% quarter on quarter. Nickel produced in concentrate was 4,267 tonnes, up 21% as a result of higher mined grades and mill recoveries.

Dan Lougher, the managing director of Western Areas, said that the March quarter production was a significant improvement quarter on quarter:

As previously flagged to the market, we re-entered the higher-grade areas of the Flying Fox mine this quarter, and saw improved mined nickel grades from Spotted Quoll. This result was setup by the significant development and rehabilitation of existing ore drives achieved during the previous December quarter, which allowed access to and mining of higher grade ore tonnes in the March quarter.

We remain focused on continuing this positive momentum into a strong final quarter for the year, and expect that the development and rehabilitation work already undertaken will contribute to that goal.

Vitalharvest Freehold Trust (ASX: VTH)

The Vitalharvest share price climbed again today after another bid for the agricultural real estate investment trust (REIT).

Roc has decided to increase its offer again to $1.16 per unit, equating to an offer of $329.6 million for the assets.

The Vitalharvest board has determined that the modified Roc offer is superior to the Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management (MAFM) offer and is on terms capable of acceptance.

This offer performs the payment of the 2.5 cent per unit interim distribution for rent received to 31 December 2020.

MAFM has until 5pm on 14 April 2021 to provide a matching or superior further revised offer.

Scentre Group (ASX: SCG)

The Scentre share price went up after the business gave some comments about leadership remuneration as well as giving some distribution guidance at its AGM.

Scentre said that it had an average of 46 million customer visits per month in the last quarter.

The business said that cashflow momentum has continued into 2021 with gross rental cash inflow for the three months to 31 March 2021 being more than $600 million.

Scentre said that it expects to distribute at least 14 cents per security for 2021 and that the distribution will grow in future years.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

The post ASX 200 climbs 1%, Westpac rises, Western Areas jumps appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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