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2 ASX shares to buy now that are NOT mining stocks

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The share market at the moment is radically different to what investors have been used to the past few years.

Global supply shortages, post-COVID economic recovery and a military conflict in Europe are all conspiring to raise and maintain inflation.

Locally, eastern Australia has suffered from extreme weather, and that will also add fuel to the fire.

“Current flooding across the east coast of Australia hits consumer spending, agricultural production and exports,” said AMP Capital economist Diana Mousina.

“From historical experience, flooding causes short-term spikes in fruit and vegetable prices from the supply disruption.”

In such inflationary times, most ASX shares suffer as the cost of money rises. But one of the exceptions is the resources sector.

More than one expert has predicted in recent weeks that buoyant commodity prices this year will pump up investments in mining shares.

In fact, so far in 2022 the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has plunged more than 7.4%, while the S&P/ASX 300 Metals & Mining (ASX: XMM) has risen 10.9%.

But what if mining isn’t your cup of tea?

‘Strong first half’

Catapult Wealth portfolio manager Tim Haselum this week picked out 2 ASX shares that he would buy right now.

And they have nothing to do with resources or mining.

First is data centre operator NextDC Ltd (ASX: NXT), whose latest numbers impressed Haselum.

“Strong first half 2022 results highlighted a 29% jump in underlying EBITDA to $85 million,” he told The Bull.

“The result reveals tailwinds from Australia’s mass adoption of cloud technology, with plenty of room for expansion.”

Like most technology shares, the NextDC stock price has been in freefall in recent months, dropping more than 19% for the year so far.

But Haselum just sees this as an opportunity to buy.

“NextDC focuses on the premium end, where pricing is more stable with big name clients,” he said.

“The solid balance sheet provides confidence that we should see sustainable consistent growth.”

Maintaining profit growth in difficult conditions

Supply chain logistics provider Brambles Limited (ASX: BXB) is Haselum’s other pick. 

Brambles shares have dropped 9% since its early January high, but Haselum reckons the business is coping well.

“Brambles is maintaining margins and profit growth in a difficult supply chain environment,” he said.

“We see upside through its transformation productivity program.”

Like NextDC, Haselum was pleased with Brambles’ half-year results and its macro outlook.

“This global logistics company posted sales revenue growth of 8% and underlying profit growth of 4% in the first half of 2022,” he said.

“Costs should subside, as the negative effects from COVID-19 are expected to wane in the latter half of 2022.”

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