ASX 200 lunch time report: Bega, Costa, & NAB shares higher

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has continued its strong run and is up a further 0.2% to 6,259.6 points at lunch.

Here’s what has been happening on the market on Thursday:

Rio Tinto and BHP shares slide lower.

The market has pushed higher on Thursday despite declines by mining giants Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP). The Rio Tinto share price is down 5% and the BHP share price is 1% lower at lunch after their shares traded ex-dividend.

Bank shares push higher.

Three of the big four banks are pushing higher today, with the National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price leading the way with a gain of over 1%. Investors have responded positively to news that current director and interim group chief executive officer, Philip Chronican, has been named as the next chairman of NAB.

Santos announces bond transaction.

The Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) share price has edged lower despite announcing that it has priced a US$600 million senior unsecured fixed rate bond transaction in the US$ Regulation S market. According to the release, the bonds have been priced at a fixed coupon of 5.25%, for a period of 10 years, maturing on 13 March 2029. The book was approximately five times oversubscribed and received strong support from a mix of global asset managers and insurance companies from Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Thursday has been the Bega Cheese Ltd (ASX: BGA) share price which is 3.5% higher at lunch. On Wednesday the diversified food company’s shares sank to a 52-week low and a level which some investors appear to believe represented good value. Not far behind Bega is the Costa Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: CGC) share price with its 3% gain. Going the other way is the Rio Tinto share price, followed by the Speedcast International Ltd (ASX: SDA) share price which is down over 3%. Part of this decline is attributable to its shares going ex-dividend this morning.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended COSTA GRP FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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