ASX 200 lunch time report

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Medibank Private Ltd (ASX:MPL), and Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX:VEA) shares are in the news today. Here’s why…

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So far it has been a disappointing start to the week for the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO).

At lunch the ASX 200 is down 0.45% to 5,705.3 points due largely to weakness in the energy, utilities, and tech sectors.

Here’s what has been happening on the ASX 200 on Monday:

Fairfax Media-Nine Entertainment merger approved.

A last minute plea from former Domain Holdings Australia Ltd (ASX: DHG) CEO, Antony Catalano, to delay the Fairfax-Nine merger vote was knocked back by the Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ) board. As a result, shareholders have voted in favour of its merger with Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (ASX: NEC) this morning.

Royal Commission resumes.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price has edged lower on Monday. Its CEO, Matt Comyn, has taken to the stand at the Royal Commission today and is being quizzed by Rowena Orr QC on the bank’s remuneration. Comyn has admitted that there are inherent risks to incentivising people with variable remuneration.

Viva Energy downgrades guidance.

The Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX: VEA) share price has crashed 14% lower after providing an update on its Refining business and earnings guidance. The Refining business has underperformed due to the disruption in electricity supply from the external power grid in August. As a result, net profit after tax is expected to be $280 million in FY 2018. This compares to its prospectus forecast of $324.1 million.

Medibank Private loses Garrison Health Services contract.

The Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL) share price has tumbled lower in late morning trade after the private health insurer advised that it has lost its Garrison Health Services contract. The operating profit from the Garrison Health Services contract in FY 2018 was approximately $30 million. Management expects exit costs associated with the loss of the contract to be in the order of $5 million in the second half of FY 2019.

Best and worst performers.

Viva Energy Group has been the worst performer on the ASX 200 so far today with Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) shares the next worst performer with a 7% decline. Going the other way is the Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd (ASX: CWY) share price which is up 5.5% at lunch. The waste management company’s shares were given a boost today after Credit Suisse upgraded its shares to an outperform rating.

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