• ASX dragged down by Mining and Energy stocks
  • ANZ and Suncorp given green light to merge
  • BHP, Megaport down after earnings report


The ASX 200 closed slightly lower on Tuesday, dragged down by Energy and Mining stocks following an extended selloff in commodity prices overnight.

Overnight, iron ore shed -3%, copper dropped -1%, and crude prices eased by -0.5% as markets focused on China’s ailing property market.

Lithium stocks also struggled today, with Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and IGO (ASX:IGO) down by around 3% each.

Traders meanwhile skimmed through the RBA meeting minutes for the February 5-6 monetary policy meeting.

In the minutes, the RBA says it’s unwilling to rule out another cash rate increase, citing sticky inflation.

“Given this, members agreed that it was appropriate not to rule out a further increase in the cash rate target,” said an excerpt from the minutes.

Meanwhile, the Australian competition watchdog, the ACCC’s decision to ban the merger between ANZ (ASX:ANZ) and Suncorp (ASX:SUN) was overturned by a tribunal appeal court today.

The court ruled that “the small increase in the market share of ANZ, if the proposed acquisition proceeds, would not have a meaningful impact on the degree or likelihood of the major banks engaging in successful coordination.”

ANZ fell by -3%, while SUN rose 5.5% on the news.



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Fleet services company McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) rose 12% after announcing statutory NPAT (total operations) of $37.6m ,up 5.8% on pcp. Interim fully franked dividend was declared at 76.0 cps, versus 58.0 cps in the pcp.

ARB Corporation (ASX:ARB) reported $52.9m in interim NPAT for H1, up 12.35 from a year ago. Fully franked interim dividend was declared at 34c , up from 32c a year ago.



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Star Entertainment (ASX:SGR) crashed -22% after confirming that the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) has appointed Adam Bell SC to preside over the NICC’s  second probe into Star’s operations. The NICC will launch an unexpected 15-week inquiry into The Star to assess the progress made since the company was overhauled following its 2022 report. The casino also said that in light of that, it will not be releasing its H1 results on 21 February.

US$5.6 billion of after tax impairments on BHP’s (ASX:BHP) nickel business and its Samarco liabilities has obliterated the world’s biggest miner’s profit, down 86% in the first half to US$927 million. It came despite steady underlying profit of US$6.6b and a 6% rise in revenue to US$27.232b.  BHP cut its dividend from 90c a share in the 2023 half-year to 72c, the US$3.6b ($5.5b) payout representing 56% of underlying profit.

Read more here: BHP Results: No clarity on nickel future as impairments obliterate 86 PER CENT of the Big Australian’s profit

Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) fell heavily after its H1 profits were down significantly by -47%.
According to its filing today, total revenue for the half came in at $4.3 billion, up 5% on the pcp. However, bottom lines EBITDA and Net Profit sank. EBITDA declined by -20% to $737m, while net profit tumbled by -47% to $202m. Sonic paid an interim dividend, up 2.4% to 43 cents per share.

Megaport Ltd (ASX:MP1) reported $4.449m in interim NPAT from a $13.479m net loss a year ago. The company’s revenue increased 35% to $95.1m, generating EBITDA of $30.1m, a record. Net cash flow was $12.5m. FY24 revenue and EBITDA guidance is being restated at $190-$195m and $51-$57m, respectively.

Ansell Ltd’s (ANN) sales for H1 fell -6% on pcp to $835.3m. EBIT was $91.5m, down -14.5% from same time last year. An interim dividend of US16.50¢ per share has been declared. Ansell is narrowing its guidance range for FY24 Adjusted EPS to US94¢ to US110¢, excluding one-off costs. FY24 Statutory EPS is now expected to be in the range of US54¢ to US70¢.