Energy outlook dampens market, as Ampol pays special dividend, Bendigo buoys financials
Markets remained mix to open the week, with concerns around the peak in energy prices and the upward march of interest rates pushing both the energy and property sectors down 1 per cent each. Bendigo Bank (ASX:BEN) buoyed the financial sector with a solid profit result, gaining 1.9 per cent and sending the sector 0.9 per cent higher. The bank followed the Commonwealth Bank in delivering an 18 point increase in the net interest margin to 1.88 per cent, they announced a 22 per cent increase in cash earnings as revenue benefited from strong loan growth, the dividend was boosted by another 10 per cent on the result. Shares in Ampol (ASX:ALD) gained 1.7 per cent despite delivering a record earnings result, growing 95 per cent to $1.32 billion for the half. The result was buoyed by a 78 per cent increase in revenue but just 19 per cent in volumes, as higher oil and gas prices boosted the bottom line. The return of aviation and diesel sales supported a special dividend of 50 per cent per share.
Ingham’s upgrade spurs rally, Bluescope sinks on passed peak, NIB margins hit
Poultry producer Ingham’s (ASX:ING) recovered strongly, gaining 11.7 per cent and topping the market after several brokers upgrades earnings expectations on higher chicken prices. It was the opposite story for insurer NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF) which fell by 11.6 per cent despite growing insurance premiums at twice the rate of the market. Profit improved by just 13 per cent to $125 million benefitting from a 9.7 per cent increase in revenue, but analysts were clearly concerned about the thinning profit margins. The company also announced a continued expansion into NDIS service providers. Bluescope (ASX:BSL) management have flagged the potential that the steel cycle is now well passed its peak, noting that customers were holding back on orders, which resulted in a 63 per cent fall in profit to $598 million. The dividend was flat with revenue falling one per cent, which sent shares down by 10 per cent on the day.