SYDNEY, AAP – Investors have deserted BHP after its full-year earnings and were not keen on CSL after the biotech forecast a tougher year ahead.
The ASX was flat after shares in its biggest company, BHP, fell 6.17 per cent to $48.16.
The iron ore miner revealed after trading closed on Tuesday that it is selling its oil and gas business to Woodside and will revert its dual listing to ASX trading only. The company also improved profit to $US11.3 billion.
Investors also appeared not to like CSL forecasting a leaner year ahead due to the costs of collecting blood plasma.
The medicines provider on Wednesday reported a rise in full-year profit of 10 per cent, helped by demand for flu vaccines.
Shares were down 1.29 per cent to $294.07.
The two market giants’ losses offset gains elsewhere across the market.
Shares in financials, industrials, telecommunications and utilities were among the best performers.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by two points, or 0.02 per cent, to 7509 at 1200 AEST.
The All Ordinaries was up 1.5 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 7774.8.
US markets fared much worse after a drop in retail sales prompted concerns about economic recovery from the pandemic.
A report showed US retail sales fell more than expected in July. Supply shortages depressed car purchases and the boost to spending from stimulus cheques faded.
The Nasdaq fared worst of the three main indices and closed lower by 0.93 per cent.
The coronavirus continues to rage in Australia after NSW reported a record daily infection count of 633. Three people died.
Millions of people across the nation remain in lockdown.
There were mixed corporate earnings reports on the ASX.
Coles reported easing sales in the first few weeks of the current financial year as trading returns to normal levels and as lockdowns in major cities drag.
Full year profit rose 7.5 per cent to $1.01 billion.
Shares were up 0.2 per cent to $18.36 each.
Betting and lotteries operator Tabcorp said the demerger of its lotteries and Keno business would take place by June next year.
The group posted a full-year net profit after tax of $269 million after a loss the prior year.
Shareholders will receive a fully franked final dividend of seven cents per share. This is higher than the same payout last year.
Shares were up 0.1 per cent to $4.85.
Woodside Petroleum swung back to a half-year profit after agreeing to buy BHP’s entire petroleum division.
Australia’s biggest oil and gas producer posted a first half profit of $US317 million ($A437 million) on the back of a rebound in oil and gas prices.
Shares were down 0.91 per cent to $20.54.
The big banks were all higher. Westpac was best of the big four and rose 1.41 per cent to $25.81.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.57 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower than 73.06 US cents at Tuesday’s close.