Beach Energy tumbles, Sims soars on half-year result: ASX closes 0.5% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

After spending all of Tuesday’s session in the red, the Australian sharemarket closed lower as energy stocks weighed amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine, while technology added the most points. 

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) was the worst-performing stock, tumbling 10.5 per cent to $1.46, while Santos (ASX:STO) fell 4.2 per cent to $7.40 and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 2.5 per cent lower at $26.74.

BHP (ASX:BHP) is set to pay a record US$1.50 interim dividend after posting a US$9.44 billion half-year profit underpinned by a surge in the price of key commodities. The miner's after-tax profit soared 144 per cent from the first half of the previous financial year from US$3.88 billion amid stronger pricing in iron ore, coal, oil, and copper. Shares in BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.3 per cent lower at $48.18, while Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) dropped 5.1 per cent to $21.59 and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 2.3 per cent lower at $118.75.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) led the major banks lower, down 3.4 per cent to $23.07. ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) fell 1.4 per cent to $27.80, Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) declined 0.6 per cent to $99.49, Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) was down 0.2 per cent to $193.88 and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) closed 0.03 per cent lower at $30.42.

Onto the gold front, Northern Star (ASX:NST) rose 0.7 per cent to $9.06, while Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) fell 0.5 per cent to $3.94 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closed 0.25 per cent lower at $23.64.

Elsewhere, a robust TV advertising market underpinned Seven West Media's (ASX:SWM) performance in the first half of the financial year, with revenue and earnings soaring. The company’s revenue rose 28 per cent to $820 million, while net profit grew by 3.2 per cent to $120 million. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, The Voice and AFL grand final helped boost viewers and ratings growth. The company has upgraded its full-year group EBITDA guidance to between $315 million and $325 million from its prior $260 million. Despite the stellar results, Seven West has not declared an interim dividend. Shares closed 8.8 per cent lower at $0.68. 

Sims (ASX:SGM) has delivered earnings above guidance for the half year ending December last year, driven by increased sales and material prices. The metal-recycling company reported sales revenue of $4,265 million, up 73.9 per cent from the prior corresponding period, while underlying earnings before interest and taxes rose 541.3 per cent to $361.7 million. Shares jumped 13.7 per cent to $17.04, and was the best-performing stock. 

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.5 per cent or 37 points lower at 7,207.

Local economic news

ANZ and Roy Morgan released its weekly consumer sentiment report. Consumer confidence increased 3.3 points to 103.2 during the second week of February and is now at its highest since the first week of January 2022. Consumer confidence is still 6.7 points below the same week a year ago, February 13/14, 2021 (109.9) but is now above the 2022 weekly average of 101.5.

The report said consumer confidence this week was up around the country with the largest increases in Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Driving the increases were changes in sentiment regarding the performance of Australians’ personal finances compared to a year ago and over the next year.

Company news 

Elsewhere, Seek (ASX:SEK) has lifted its interim dividend after posting strong sales and profit for the first half of the 2022 financial year. The online job platform’s sales revenue rose 59 per cent to $517.2 million, while profit jumped 152 per cent to $126.7 million as businesses recovered from Covid-related cuts. The company declared a first half interim dividend of 23 cents per share, its best one in three years. Shares rose 6.4 per cent to $29.56.

Meanwhile supply chain disruptions, raw materials shortages and increased demand hurt sales in GWA Group (ASX:GWA). The company’s revenue grew 2.1 per cent to $201.3 million while EBIT increased 1 per cent to $30.2 million. The bathroom fittings company declared its highest dividend in two years despite this slight lift. Shares closed 2.3 per cent lower at $2.52. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 31 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 0.25 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 17 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 44 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 0.97 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 3.1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sims (ASX:SGM), closing 13.7 per cent higher at $17.04. It was followed by shares in Brambles (ASX:BXB) and Seek (ASX:SEK).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), closing 10.5 per cent lower at $1.46. It was followed by shares in Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) and Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.7 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.97 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1878.78 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.5 per cent lower at US$149.40 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 8.9 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.82 lower at US$92.68 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.16 US cents.

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