Beach Energy surges, Crown accepts 8.9b takeover bid: ASX closes 0.4% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket maintained momentum in the afternoon session, as energy stocks soared amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Banks lifted as the earnings season continued, with results from Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) leading the major banks higher.

Half-year results from Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) showed its net profit rose while its net interest margin fell for the 6 months ending December last year. Despite this, the nation’s fifth-largest bank is set to reward shareholders with a dividend. The bank’s net profit jumped 31.7 per cent to $321.1 million while its net interest margin declined 14 basis points to 2.09 per cent. The group has flagged lower revenue for the second half. Shares closed 4.2 per cent higher at $9.65. 

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) rose 9.4 per cent to $1.63, and was the best-performing stock. The company delivered rapid profit growth for the half year ending December last year, following a surge in the price of oil. Santos (ASX:STO) added 4 per cent to $7.72 and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 3.6 per cent higher at $27.43.

Gold stocks rallied, as Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) rose 7.9 per cent to $3.96. Northern Star (ASX:NST) added 5.9 per cent to $9.00 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closed 4.3 per cent higher at $23.70.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) led the major banks higher, adding 4.8 per cent to $23.88. National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) rose 2 per cent to $30.43, ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) was up 1.4 per cent to $28.20, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) climbed 1.5 per cent to $100.04 and Macquarie (ASX:MQG) closed 0.5 per cent higher at $194.22.

BHP (ASX:BHP) led iron ore players lower, closing 1.1 per cent lower at $48.33. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) fell 0.6 per cent to $121.58 and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) closed 0.4 per cent lower at $22.75.

Elsewhere, Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) accepted an $8.9 billion takeover offer from US investment firm Blackstone, following its latest bid. The casino giant has entered a scheme implementation deed, under which Blackstone will acquire all shares in Crown for $13.10 cash per share. Shares closed 2.1 per cent higher at $12.65. 

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.4 per cent or 27 points higher at 7,244.

Company news 

JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) has unveiled a $250 million off market buyback after posting weaker overall sales for the half year ending December last year. The electronics retail giant posted a 1.6 per cent fall in sales to $4.9 billion despite soaring online sales, while net profit fell 9.4 per cent to $287.9 million. Shares closed 5.4 per cent higher at $51.71. 

Boral (ASX:BLD) posted revenue growth despite construction shutdowns and wet weather over the period. For the first half of this financial year, sales revenue rose 1 per cent from continuing operations of $1.5 billion, while earnings before interest and tax, excluding property fell 23 per cent to $78 million. Shares closed 1.9 per cent lower at $3.72. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 91 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 13 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 43 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 30 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Energy, up 3.4 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Health Care, down 1.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), closing 9.4 per cent higher at $1.63. It was followed by shares in Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Novonix (ASX:NVX), closing 10.8 per cent lower at $5.81. It was followed by shares in Imugene (ASX:IMU) and Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 1.2 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1853.66 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.3 per cent lower at US$150.15 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 6.9 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.36 higher at US$92.78 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.20 US cents.

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