ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) midday update: Whitehaven sinks, BHP to unify

Here’s what is happening on the ASX 200 today…

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A stressed businessman in a suit shirt and trousers sits next to his briefcase with his head in his hands while the ASX boards behind him show BNPL shares crashing

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At lunch on Friday, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is on course to end the week on a very disappointing note. The benchmark index is currently down 1.6% to 7,223.2 points.

Here’s what is happening on the ASX 200 today:

Whitehaven shares tumble on guidance downgrade

The Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) share price is tumbling lower today after downgrading its production guidance. The coal miner revealed that it now expects coal production of 19 to 20.5 Mt in FY 2022. This is down from 20 to 21.5 Mt previously. In addition, coal sales have been downgraded and costs have been upgraded. This has been driven by La Niña and COVID impacts.

BHP shareholders approve unification

The BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) share price is falling on Friday despite announcing the results of its unification vote. According to the release, the Big Australian will scrap its dual listing after shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of its unification. BHP has been tipped to go on a buying spree post-unification to boost its future growth.

Allkem shares fall on broker downgrade

The Allkem Ltd (ASX: AKE) share price is falling on Friday after being downgraded by the team at UBS. According to the note, the broker has downgraded the lithium miner’s shares to a neutral rating with a price target of $11.20. While UBS is positive on lithium prices and expects Allkem to benefit greatly, it doesn’t see enough value in its shares now to maintain a buy rating.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Friday has been the Boral Limited (ASX: BLD) share price with a 2.5% gain on no news. Going the other way, the worst performer has been the Whitehaven Coal share price with an 8% decline following its guidance downgrade.

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