Guzman y Gomez share price surges 36% in ASX debut

The Australian share market has finished basically where it began – but investors’ strong appetite for shares in a popular Mexican-themed restaurant chain kept the trading action somewhat spicy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 on Thursday finished three-tenths of a point lower at 7,769.4, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 1.6 points at 8,012.1.

US equity and bond markets were closed overnight for the Juneteenth holiday, keeping the ASX somewhat directionless.

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But Mexican-themed restaurant chain Guzman y Gomez made a strong debut on the bourse at noon, with its shares finishing at $30, up 36.4% from their $22 issue price.

The $335.1m float – upsized from an initial public offering of $242.5m – is the ASX’s biggest in three years, with the surging share price giving the 210-restaurant chain a market capitalisation of more than $3bn.

Overall, four of the ASX’s 11 sectors finished higher, four were lower and three were basically flat.

Health care was the biggest mover, dropping 1.0% as Cochlear fell 4.8% to a three-week low of $315.01. There was no immediately obvious reason for the sell-off, Cochlear’s biggest daily loss since 6 February.

Helia Group was the biggest ASX200 gainer, rising 16.2% to $3.88 after a major sell-off on Wednesday prompted by uncertainty over a major contract renewal for the mortgage lenders insurance provider.

Commonwealth Bank was the leader among the four big banks, rising 0.6% to $127.75. Westpac followed with a 0.5% rise to $27.25, while ANZ added 0.2% to $29.19 and NAB edged 0.1% higher at $36.19.

In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP was flat at $42.75, while Fortescue added 0.2% to $21.90 and Rio Tinto climbed 0.4% to $119.67.

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Uranium miners gave back some of their Wednesday gains that came after the Coalition detailed its pro-nuclear policy, with Deep Yellow and Paladin Energy both dropping 1.7% and Boss Energy dipping 1.0%.

Pharmaceutical company Botanix was in a trading halt as it announced it had obtained US approval for its topical gel designed to treat excessive underarm sweating.

Botanix said Sofdra is the first new chemical to treat the socially challenging medical condition known as primary axillary hyperhidrosis, with its CEO, Dr Howie McKibbon, calling the approval transformative for the company.

In foreign exchange, one Australian dollar was buying 66.67 US cents, down slightly 66.72 US cents at Wednesday’s ASX close.

It had hit a fresh nearly 17-year high against the yen, having appreciated nearly 10% against Japan’s struggling currency so far this year.


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