Australia shares dip as investors dump BHP on spin-off fears

August 20, 2014
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* ASX 200 dips 0.1 percent, BHP posts biggest one-day fallsince March on spin-off fears, missed expectations

* Media sector, food and beverage companies have mixedresults

* 100 shares higher, 77 shares lower, 23 shares unchanged (Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

By Thuy Ong and Gyles Beckford

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Australian stocksslipped on Wednesday as investors dumped shares of BHP Billiton (NYSE: BBLnews) after the global miner missed earnings expectations, though anupbeat finish on Wall Street helped temper losses as investorsdigested a raft of earnings.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.1 percent or 7.6points at 5,616.24 by 0238 GMT. The benchmark added 0.7 percenton Tuesday, its fourth consecutive session of gains.

BHP Billiton Ltd lost 4 percent, its biggestone-day fall since March 10, after it reported an 8 percent risein second-half underlying attributable profit to $5.69 billion,which was just below forecasts.

Analysts said investors also were wary of BHP’s plans tospin-off businesses worth an estimated $16 billion.

“That’s taking a big chunk off the market, even thoughpeople really didn’t change their valuations much after theirreport, it’s been sold off on the back of how that spin-off isgoing to work,” said Chris Kimber, managing director at KimberCapital (Other OTC: CGHCnews) .

Among other miners, rival Rio Tinto Ltd (Xetra: 855018news) slipped 0.7percent, while OZ Minerals Ltd lost 1.4 percent.

Elsewhere, MacMahon Holdings Ltd (Other OTC: MCHHFnews) rocketed 25percent to A$0.1375, its highest since February, after the mining contractor swung to a full-year profit despite shrinkingsales revenue.

Among food and beverage stocks, Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd tumbled 3.3 percent after it reported a 16 percent fallin first-half net profit and warned full-year profits would be”materially lower” than last year.

Wesfarmers Ltd gained 2 percent to an all-time highof A$44.88 after it reported a 19 percent rise in annual netprofit.

Elsewhere, Transpacific Industries Group Ltd tumbled 5.2 percent to $0.92, its lowest since Sept. 13, as itsaid it is undergoing a voluntary grounding of its entire fleetfollowing a fatal accident in South Australia on August 18.

New Zealand stocks shrugged off early weakness to post asecond day of solid gains, with the benchmark NZX-50 index rising 0.6 percent to 5,147.94 amid a flow of leadingcompany results.

Top-stock Fletcher Building Ltd (NZSE: FBU.NZnews) was up 0.6 percentat NZ$9.14, after reporting a modest lift in full year profit atthe bottom end of its guidance, as a strong New Zealand dollarovershadowed underlying earnings growth.

It said it expected further earnings growth on strongerconstruction activity.

Online trading and marketing operator Trade Me (NZSE: TME.NZnews) wasup 0.6 percent to NZ$3.54, although its full year profit roseonly 2 percent and it warned of subdued earnings.

Medical equipment maker Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Ltd jumped 2.3 percent to a life-time high of NZ$4.94 as itraised its profit guidance on solid first-half growth. (Editing by Kim Coghill)

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  • BHP Billiton

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