CSL surges, Santos falls despite higher dividend: ASX up 0.5% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Aussie sharemarket is climbing higher this morning thanks to gains across the healthcare sector, and several companies who reported on its first-half earnings. Most sectors are in the green, except materials and energy weighing. 

CSL (ASX:CSL) has declared the same interim dividend from a year ago despite profit falling during the first half of the 2022 financial year amid the pandemic. The bio-tech giant declared an interim dividend of $1.04 and a net profit after tax of US$1.76 billion, down 3 per cent from the prior year period. CSL said the results were in line with expectations, although it had experienced growth in a number of its products. Shares are up 6.8 per cent to $259.47. 

Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) reported a fall in sales revenue, impacted by the US commercial portfolio divestment in March last year, the decline in shipments to Mainland China, and reduced commercial volumes in the UK and Australia. Its net sales revenue declined 10.1 per cent to $1,267 million. The company said the decline was partly offset by strong premium portfolio performance and reduced cost of doing business. Shares are up 10.3 per cent to $11.63, and is the second-best stock. 

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) is leading the market, trading over 14 per cent higher at $1.58 after signing a supply agreement with Tesla. Keep an eye out for a story this afternoon. 

Elsewhere, Vicinity (ASX:VCX) has unveiled a return to interim profit, thanks to a boost in property revaluations. However, the shopping centre's owner has flagged that pandemic related challenges continue to loom into the second half. The group reported net profit after tax of $650.2 million for the six months to December, a rebound from its $394 million loss in the prior corresponding period. An interim dividend of 4.7 cents per share is set to be paid in March. Shares are up 9.1 per cent to $1.83. 

Major banks are higher except Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) down 1.2 per cent to $98.28, while Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) is leading, up 1.2 per cent to $196.15. Westpac (ASX:WBC) has added 0.7 per cent to $23.22, ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) is up 0.6 per cent to $27.96 and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is trading 0.5 per cent higher at $30.58.

Energy stocks are mixed with Santos (ASX:STO) down 3.2 per cent to $7.16, despite delivering record cash flow and underlying earnings in the half year driven by higher oil and gas prices. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has fallen 0.6 per cent to $26.59, while Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is trading 0.7 per cent higher at $1.47.

Heavyweight miners are lower, led by BHP (ASX:BHP) down 2.4 per cent to $47.01. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) has declined 1.7 per cent to $21.23 and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is trading 0.6 per cent lower at $118. 

Onto gold stocks, Northern Star (ASX:NST) has fallen 1 per cent to $8.97, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is down 0.5 per cent to $23.53, and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is trading 0.3 per cent higher at $3.95.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.5 per cent or 32.3 points higher at 7239.2.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 50 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Health Care, up 4.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), trading over 14 per cent higher at $1.58. It is followed by shares in Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) and Imugene (ASX:IMU).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL), trading 17.3 per cent lower at $12.28. It is followed by shares in HUB24 (ASX:HUB) and EML Payments (ASX:EML).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1852.22 an ounce.
Iron ore is 8.8 per cent lower at US$136.20 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 2.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.49 US cents.

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