- The Australian benchmark, ASX 200, erased opening losses to trade flat at 7,509 by lunch.
- Blue-chip miner BHP topped the losers’ list on plan to sell its petroleum business to Woodside.
- Eight of the 11 sectors traded lower, while utilities, telecom and consumer staples gained the most.
- Beach Energy topped the gainers’ chart by rising over 8%.
- Shares of Domino’s Pizza jumped over 4% to hit a fresh 52-week high on robust earnings.
Australian shares traded flat by afternoon, erasing opening losses, on the back of gains in utilities, consumer staples and financial stocks. However, weak cues from Wall Street and continued rise in COVID-19 cases restricted the market’s gain. In the last 24 hours, NSW recorded 633 new local inflections and three deaths, while Victoria reported 24 new cases.
The ASX 200 was trading 2 points lower at 7,509 by lunch. Extending previous session losses, the index opened lower today and declined as much as 0.5% to hit a low of 7,470. The index, however, soon pared losses and rose nearly 0.2% within the first hour of trade.
Investors also reacted to corporate earnings with some big players such as Domino’s Pizza, Woodside, Nearmap, Oz Minerals, CSL and Super Retail announcing their results this morning.
Shares of BHP topped the losers’ list as investors gave a thumbs down to the company’s decision to sell its petroleum business to Woodside Petroleum to create a new, bigger petroleum entity.
On the sectoral front, eight of the eleven sectors were trading in the green. The utilities sector was the best performer with a 2% gain, followed by telecom and consumer staples, which rose over 1% each. Among others, financial, A-REIT, industrial, information technology and consumer discretionary were notable gainers.
Bucking the trend, the material sector was the worst performer with 1.8% loss, led by a sell-off in mining stocks. It was followed by health care, which dropped 0.85%.
Top gainers and losers
Oil producer Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) topped the gainers’ chart by rising over 8%. The stock has been dropping for the last two sessions after it reported a fall in revenue and profit for the financial year 2021.
Some of the other notable gainers were Domino’s Pizza (ASX: DMP), energy firm Origin Energy (ASX:ORG), infant formula company A2 Milk (ASX: A2M) and biopharma major Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV).
On the losing side, blue-chip miner BHP Group (ASX: BHP) declined the most, falling over 5%. Some of the other worst performers were financial firm Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL), metal recycling firm Sims (ASX:SGM), gold miner Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and building products manufacturer Fletcher Building (ASX:FBU).
Shares in news
Shares of index heavyweight BHP Group (ASX: BHP) dropped over 5% after the mining giant said it will end the dual listing of its shares on London's FTSE100 index. The company has also announced to exit from its US$13 billion petroleum business to focus on core assets.
Shares of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) rose 0.7% after the lender issued Pillar 3 capital update. It reported a common equity tier 1 (CET1) ratio of 12.2%. The CET1 ratio is used to measure the financial strength of a bank.
Oil and gas major Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) shares fell 2% despite increasing its interim dividend. The energy major has declared an interim dividend of 30 cents per share for the first half of the year, compared to 26 cents a year ago.
Shares of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) rose over 1% after the lender launched its new buy now, pay later product StepPay.
Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR) shares gained nearly 2% after the gold miner unveiled its earnings report. The firm’s profit after tax dropped 62% to AU$98.2 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2021. Revenue climbed 5% to AU$598.3 million, while EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) rose 12% to AU$290.8 million.
The share price of Deterra Royalties (ASX: DRR) rose over 2.5% following its earnings report. The resource-focused royalties business has reported revenue of AU$145.2 million for the 2021 financial year, while net profit after tax stood at AU$94.3 million. This is the first earnings report post the demerger of the business. The company has also declared a final fully franked dividend of 11.52 cents per share.
Australian biotechnology firm CSL Ltd (ASX: CSL) gained over 1% after it declared record dividend. The health care major announced a final dividend of AU$1.61 per share (or US$1.18 a share) for the financial year 2021, its biggest dividend on record.
Shares of Domino’s Pizza (ASX: DMP) jumped over 4% to hit fresh 52-week high on robust earnings. Underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 27% to AU$293 million in the financial year 2021, while food sales surged 14.6% to AU$3.74 billion.
Shares of Nearmap (ASX: NEA) gained 0.5% after aerial imagery technology beat its annual contract value (ACV) guidance for FY21, driven by a record performance in North America.