Two women look at a share price board outside the ASX in Sydney.

Medibank apologizes for ‘cyber incident’ and halts trading as ASX rises on Wednesday

Australian shares rose on Wednesday after US stocks closed higher on strong gains while oil prices fell overnight.

The ASX 200 opened higher to end the day up 0.3 percent at 6,800 points.

All orders were also up about 0.3 percent to 6,999.

This came despite early morning forecasts that the ASX would open lower.

Core Lithium’s stock rose 8.2 percent after forecasts showed the price of the mineral used in batteries for renewable energy would continue to rise.

Pilbara Minerals was up 6.2 percent, Pendal Group was up 5.5 percent, IGO Limited was up 5.4 percent and Star Entertainment was up 5.1 percent.

Megaport was the biggest loser, down 22 percent.

St Barbara Limited fell 5.7 percent, Imugene fell 4.1 percent, Netwealth Group fell 2.8 percent and Magellan Financials fell 2.5 percent.

Energy and information technology is in the red. Utilities and industrials were the top performers.

Medibank on trading stop after “cyber incident”

Meanwhile, Medibank is on a trading pause until Friday.

That was after it was hit by a “cyber incident” reported last week. It then went into a trading freeze for a short time.

In a market update Wednesday, Medibank confirmed “unusual activity over the past week on a portion of its IT network” and that the “unusual activity [was] consistent with the precursors to a ransomware event”.

“This initial finding was shared with the Australian Cyber ​​​​​​Security Centre, which provided additional guidance to Medibank in support of this conclusion.”

The ACSC is a Commonwealth agency.

“When the unusual activity was detected on a portion of its network, the company took precautionary measures to temporarily block and isolate access to ahm and international students’ customer policy management systems while the activity was investigated,” the statement said .

It followed the Optus data breach and other online security issues that have plagued other companies.

Medibank said “there is no evidence that customer data was removed from the network”.

“Medibank systems were not encrypted by ransomware during this incident and there is no indication that the incident was caused by a government threat actor.”

In it, Medibank boss David Koczkar apologized.

“We are sorry that this incident has occurred and understand that this news may have caused concern and inconvenience to some of our customers,” he said.

“We have taken the necessary precautions to protect the data of our customers, individuals and other stakeholders, and we will continue to do so.”

US stocks close higher

Netflix’s subscriber numbers fell as competitors entered the market.(Reuters: Mike Blake)

Netflix shares rose more than 10 percent after the bell on news of better-than-expected earnings and earnings.

The streaming giant has added 2.41 million subscribers worldwide.

It follows a sudden drop in accounts in the first half of the year as the company’s subscriber base shrank by 1.2 million.

The platform has benefited from COVID lockdowns but has slipped amid growing competition for online video viewers.

Netflix now has a total of 223.1 million subscribers around the world.

A volatile session on Wall Street follows, with all three indices closing higher.

The Dow Jones index closed down 337 points, or 1 percent, at 30,523.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent to 3,719, while the Nasdaq also rose 0.9 percent to 10,772.

Goldman Sachs Group rose 2 percent after reporting a lower-than-expected fall in earnings.

A rise in net interest income softened the blow of a slowdown in investment banking.

Lockheed Martin rose 8.49 percent after the gunmaker reported stronger quarterly earnings.

The gains helped lift the benchmark index.

“Therefore the rally took place yesterday and the rally takes place today. None of the six-month views we’re getting from earnings-reporting companies are overly dour, and that contradicts every last person who says we’re going to have a recession in six months,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners.

“Companies are really, really good at putting catastrophes and crises aside, forecasting now within their pipeline.”

oil falls

Oil prices fell overnight on concerns over higher US supply and China’s economic slowdown, which dampened fuel demand.

Brent crude fell 1.7 percent to $90.03 a barrel, while West Texas crude fell 3.1 percent to $82.82 a barrel.

Spot gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,651.50 an ounce as the US dollar fell.

Europe indices rise after UK abandons tax cuts

In Europe, equities rallied as investors reacted to the UK’s new Treasury Secretary scrapping tax cuts and Europe considering cutting energy prices.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.3 percent, the German DAX 0.9 percent and the British FTSE 0.2 percent.


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