At lunch on Thursday, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is on course to record a solid gain. The benchmark index is currently up 0.4% to 7,407.6 points.
Here’s what is happening on the ASX 200 today:
Market reacts positively to Rio Tinto half year update
The Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) share price is storming higher today after the market responded positively to its half year results. The mining giant reported a 156% increase in underlying earnings to US$12.2 million and a 262% jump in its free cash flow to US$10,181 million. This allowed the Rio Tinto Board to declare a massive US$5.61 per share interim dividend. Strong demand and pricing drove the stellar growth.
IRESS shares jump on takeover approach
The IRESS Ltd (ASX: IRE) share price is rocketing higher today after confirming the receipt of another takeover approach earlier this month. The release explains that EQT Fund Management returned with a confidential, unsolicited, non-binding and indicative proposal to acquire IRESS via a scheme of arrangement at a price of between $15.30 and $15.50 cash per share. This represents a 22.3% to 23.9% premium to the IRESS share price at yesterday’s close. Last month IRESS rejected a $14.80 per share proposal.
Macquarie Q1 update
The Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) share price is trading largely flat at lunch after a solid first quarter update was offset by plans to lower its dividend payout ratio. Macquarie revealed that its operating businesses delivered a net profit that was significantly up on the first quarter of the prior corresponding period. However, the company intends to reduce its annual dividend payout policy range to 50% to 70%. This is to allow additional flexibility to support business growth and compares to its previous target range of 60% to 80%.
Best and worst ASX 200 performers
The best performer on the ASX 200 on Thursday has been the IRESS share price by some distance with a 12% gain. This follows the receipt of EQT’s takeover approach. The worst performer has been the Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) share price with a 7% decline following the release of a disappointing second quarter update. That update revealed weaker production and higher costs.