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ASX 200 dips, Sydney Airport falls, AGL rises

ASX 200
Credit: Cimexus

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) went down by 0.6% today to 6,708 points.

Here are some of the main highlights from the ASX today after a sizeable tech selloff in the US share market overnight:

Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)

Sydney Airport announced its monthly passenger update for February 2021. It said that total passengers were down 79.8% year on year to 623,000. This reflected a 70% decline of domestic passengers to 596,000 whilst international passengers were down 97.5% to 27,000.

In the 2021 year to date, total passengers were down 87.8% to 853,000.

The ASX 200 business said that the recovery in domestic passenger traffic from January was driven by unrestricted travel between all states and territories from late February. However, the downturn in international passenger traffic is expected to persist until government travel restrictions are eased.

In reaction to this update, the Sydney Airport share price fell more than 2%.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG)

Fortescue made two announcements today. Firstly, it said that it was launching a bonding offering of US$750 million of senior unsecured notes. Those proceeds will be used to repay the miner’s US$750 million 2022 senior unsecured notes.

It then announced it had successfully completed a US$1.5 billion offering of senior unsecured notes at an interest rate of 4.375%, maturing in April 2031.

Fortescue said the transaction was launched at US$750 million but due to the strength in demand this was upsized to US$1.5 billion. The extra money may also be used for general corporate purposes and repaying debt.

The CEO of Fortescue, Ms Elizabeth Gaines, said:

Fortescue continues to deliver outstanding operational and financial performance which underpins our ongoing support from the US debt capital markets. Our balance sheet is structured on low cost, investment grade terms, maintaining flexibility to support ongoing operations and the capacity to fund future growth.

Tough day for gold miners

Many of the ASX 200 gold miners were some of the worst performers in the index today.

The Silver Lake Resources Limited. (ASX: SLR) share price dropped 4.4%, the Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) share price fell 3.4%, the Perseus Mining Limited (ASX: PRU) share price dropped 4% and the Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR) share price fell 3.2%.

Smelter plant saved

Alumina Limited (ASX: AWC) said that Alcoa Corporation, which is a US business, announced today on behalf of the Alcoa Portland Aluminium joint venture partners, a five-year agreement with AGL Energy Limited (ASX: AGL), Alinta Energy and Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) covering the power requirements for the Portland Aluminium Smelter.

The Alumina CEO Mike Ferraro said:

Alumina Limited welcomes the power supply agreements which enable the continuing operation of the Portland smelter and underpin its improved competitive position. In addition, both the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments have in principle committed welcome funding packages to ensure the smelters operations can continue and contribute to the stability of the South East Australian power grid.

This is a very good result for the dedicated employees and the local dedicated employees and the local Portland community and will help provide stability for the electricity grid. The Portland smelter is now deriving more than 30% of its consumed electricity from renewable sources and this figure is expected to grow.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of Fortescue Metals Group 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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