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ASX 200 drops 0.3%

ASX 200
Credit: Cimexus

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) fell by 0.3% today to 6,800 points.

Here are some of the highlights from the ASX:

Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: LYC)

The Lynas share price was the best performer within the ASX 200 today, rising by more than 13% after making an announcement about a rare earth facility in the US.

Lynas said that it has entered into an agreement with the United States government to build a commercial light rare earths separation plant in the US. This agreement is in collaboration with the US Department of Defence.

The project is scheduled to be completed in accordance with the Department of Defense timetable and as part of the Lynas 2025 plan. Detailed costings are still being finalised, though it’s expected that the Department of Defence funding will be capped at approximately US$30 million. Lynas is expected to contribute a similar number.

The ASX 200 share’s plant is expected to be located in Texas. Once operational, the plant is expected to produce approximately 5,000 tonnes per annum of rare earths products. It will be able to receive material directly from the cracking and leaching plant that Lynas is developing in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The Texas facility could end up housing both heavy rare earths and light rare earths processing facilities. The facilities will serve both the Defence Industrial Base (DIB) and the growing commercial market, including electric vehicles and green technologies made in the US as well as in global markets.

Amanda Lacaze, the Lynas CEO and managing director, said: “As the only non-Chinese commercial producer of separated rare earths products to the global marketplace, Lynas is delighted by the opportunity to develop a light rare earth separation facility in the US.

“Rare earth materials are critical inputs to many industrial supply chains…This agreement is consistent with the US government’s commitment to rebuild the domestic industrial base, while working effectively with partner nations. The Texas plant will ensure the US has a secure domestic source of high quality separated rare earth materials. This secure supply will provide the essential foundation for the renewal of downstream speciality metal making and permanent magnet manufacturing in North America.”

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd (ASX: FPH)

The Fisher & Paykel Healthcare share price was another of today’s top performers after giving a trading update.

The ASX 200 company said that operating revenue for the nine months ended 31 December 2020 was up 73% in constant currency.

In the hospital product division, which includes products used in acute and chronic respiratory care and surgery, operating revenue grew 113% over the first nine months of the previous financial year in constant currency. Hospital hardware grew 446% and hospital consumables grew 54%.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare also reported that in the homecare product group, which includes products used in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and respiratory support in the home, operating revenue grew 6% over the nine months to 31 December 2020.

The company said that it expects revenue and net profit after tax for FY21 to be higher than implied by previous assumptions.

Aussie Broadband Ltd (ASX: ABB)

The Aussie Broadband share price rose by 7.7% after giving a trading update.

The telco said that it’s expecting its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to be in a range of $6.9 million to $7.4 million for the FY21 half-year. Excluding IPO costs, EBITDA is expected to be in a range of $8 million to $8.5 million for the half-year.

Total broadband connections have gone up 31% over the last six months and 88% over the last 12 months to 342,634. Over the past six months, residential broadband connections saw 30% growth to 313,193 connections and business broadband connections saw 49% growth to 29,441.

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Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Aussie Broadband Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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