The ASX 200 was mixed today, it finished down 0.1%

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX:XJO) was mixed today. It finished down 0.1%, though the Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) share price went up 2%.

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) was mixed today. It finished down 0.1% to 6,167 points.

Here are some of the highlights from the ASX today:

National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB)

NAB announced some more costs for FY20 today.

The bank said that its profit will be reduced by a net increase in provisions for customer-related remediation matters amounting to $380 million before tax, or $266 million after tax. Of this, $245 million before tax ($172 million after tax) is for wealth-related matters which are now included in NAB’s discontinued operations. The other $135 million before tax ($94 million after tax) is for banking-related matters.

There is also going to be a net increase in payroll remediation provisions of $128 million before tax ($90 million after tax). The ASX 200 bank said that it has identified a range of potential incorrect payments dating back to October 2012.

In addition to the above, there is an impairment of property-related assets of $134 million before tax ($94 million after tax).

NAB said that the above provisions and impairment is expected to reduce the bank’s common equity tier 1 (CET1) capital ratio by approximately 15 basis points (0.15%).

The impairment of the property assets relates to the fact that more of NAB’s employees are expected to adopt a flexible and hybrid approach to working over the longer term. This is expected to include a mix of working remotely and in offices for the purposes of collaboration, planning and creating the right culture.

In reaction to today’s update, the NAB share price went up by 0.6%. 

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN)

The ASX 200 airline company held its annual general meeting (AGM) today.

Whilst delivering his speech, CEO Alan Joyce spoke about a number of points.

He blamed the closed borders for negatively impacting the FY21 first quarter earnings by $100 million. The border closure impact is expected to continue into the second quarter.

If the borders had stayed open, Qantas thought its domestic operations would be operating at about 60% of pre-COVID levels by now. But it’s currently operating below 30%.

Assuming Queensland opens to New South Wales in the coming weeks, Qantas expects domestic capacity to reach up to 50% by Christmas.

Qantas also revealed that when South Australia opened to New South Wales, 20,000 seats were sold across Qantas and Jetstar in just 36 hours.

With most international travel off limits for a while, the airline is expecting to see a boom in domestic tourism once more borders open up.

Mr Joyce said that Qantas has identified $15 billion in cost savings over the next three years, mostly through reduced flying activity. It’s also targeting $1 billion of ongoing cost improvements from FY23.

Qantas said that its cashflow from continuing operations is positive before one-offs like redundancies. Mr Joyce boasted that Qantas could continue keep flying at this level for a very long time if it had to.

Loyalty and Qantas Freight are the two reasons why the ASX 200 company continues to be cashflow positive.

The Qantas share price went up by 2.7% in reaction to this news.

BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL) reveals a strong update

Steel business BlueScope announced an update today.

It advised today that it expects that its underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) will be around $340 million for the first half of FY21. This would be a 30% increase compared to the second half of FY20.

All of its divisions are performing well with a segment result that will be similar or better compared to the previous half.

BlueScope managing director and CEO Mark Vassella said: “Despite the global disruption caused by COVID-19, we’ve had a solid performance from all our operating segments for the three months to 30 September. This is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of BlueScope’s strategy and the resilience of our asset portfolio.

“Benchmark steel spreads have improved and demand in most of our markets is robust and the balance sheet is in excellent condition.”

The BlueScope share price went up 11%. It was the best performer in the ASX 200. 

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