The Australian sharemarket rallied after another round of benchmark heavyweights reported profit results, but it was the quarterly numbers from US chipmaker Nvidia that captured the market’s attention.

The S&P/ASX 200 climbed 33.7 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7182.1, led by a surge in the technology sector with eight out of 11 industry groups finishing in the green. The All Ordinaries gained 0.5 per cent.

The sharemarket got an early boost from a strong set of results from Nvidia, released after the close of US trading. The latest quarterly report and its earnings outlook trumped analysts’ already lofty expectations, thanks to a surge in demand for its artificial intelligence processors.

“Artificial intelligence remains in focus this global earnings season,” said Wilson Asset management fund manager Catriona Burns in a note to clients. Nvidia’s results “confirms that exceptionally high levels of demand continue for the company’s industry-leading GPUs, which are the key input required for developing Generative AI models”.

Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang said he expected the AI boom to last well into next year, with the company’s sales forecast exceeding market expectations along with its plan to buy back another $US25 billion ($39 billion) of its shares.

The news sparked a rally in tech stocks globally with the local sector on the ASX 200 jumping 4.2 per cent. WiseTech paced the advance, rallying 8.1 per cent to $75.25 as bargain hunters snapped up the stock after a profit warning on Wednesday erased $5.6 billion of its market value.

Xero gained 3.5 per cent to $122.75, Megaport added 3.6 per cent to $12.43, and Altium climbed 4.9 per cent to $48.19.

Elsewhere, Qantas, Whitehaven Coal, Ramsay Healthcare and Tabcorp were among companies to publish their latest financial numbers on Thursday in what has been a busy week of reports.

Qantas added just 0.8 per cent to $6.22, despite a surge in travel demand, and higher airfares helped the airline to record full-year underlying annual profit of $2.47 billion.

Dividends reinstated

Tabcorp rallied 4.3 per cent to $1.09 after the wagering giant posted a $66.5 million net profit for the full year that beat consensus estimates. It also increased total revenue share to 34.6 per cent from 33.6 per cent.

TPG Telecom rallied 2.2 per cent to $5.55, despite reporting a 71 per cent slump in interim profit to $48 million. The telco said it planned to “simplify” its brands to boost profit margins and is targeting slashing the number of plans offered to just 100 from 6000 in 2020.

The Reject Shop added 2.6 per cent to $5.85 after the country’s largest discount variety retailer reinstated dividend payments and said it would undertake a further on-market share buyback of up to $10 million, after posting higher sales and profits.

Ramsay Healthcare was among the worst performers on the ASX, slumping 12 per cent to $48.71. The company has halved its final dividend to 25¢ and said its post-pandemic recovery in earnings from its hospitals and day surgeries would take longer because of higher labour, interest and construction expenses.

Whitehaven Coal lost 5.1 per cent to $6.92 as the miner temporarily suspended its share buyback program to preserve cash for a tilt at BHP’s coking coal mines. The company reported a full-year profit of $2.66 billion, but declined to confirm whether it had bid for the assets.

Costa Group plunged 11 per cent to $2.96 after a profit warning issued by Australia’s biggest horticultural company cast more doubt over whether New York-based PE firm Paine Schwartz Partners would push ahead with a takeover offer.

Lovisa Holdings lost 6.2 per cent to $21.23 after the budget jewellery retailer cut its final dividend as sales growth slowed in the second half and into the new financial year. Comparable store sales in the first seven weeks of 2023-24 fell 5.8 per cent, and total sales rose 13.1 per cent. Both missed consensus forecasts.

And among the listed money managers, Perpetual declined 6.5 per cent to $23.31 after the firm missed underlying full-year profit forecasts. In contrast, Regal Partners rallied 5.5 per cent to $2.50 after it almost doubled its underlying interim net profit to $13.1 million.