It's been a shaky, but still negative day of trading so far this Friday for the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO). Although the ASX 200 has rebounded off of the lows we saw just after market open, the index still remains down by 0.01% at present. But let's talk about the Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX: NCM) share price.
Newcrst shares should be having a horrid time today. However, this ASX 200 gold miner is defying a significant drag on its share price, as well as a drop in the global gold price, to push higher today. Right now, this gold stock is up a healthy 0.95% at $25.10 a share. That's after Newcrest closed at $24.86 yesterday and opened at $25.25 a share this morning.
This is rather strange because, by all logic, Newcrest shares should be copping a beating right about now. That's because Newcrest has just traded ex-dividend for its upcoming final shareholder payment.
Newcrest share price rises, despite ex-dividend date
Earlier this month, Newcrest reported its full-year earnings for the 2023 financial year. As we covered at the time, these earnings saw Newcrest reveal a 7% rise in full-year revenue to $4.5 billion, but a 10.8% drop in underlying profits to $778 million.
However, there was good news for dividend investors. Newcrest announced that its final dividend for 2023 would come in at a fully-franked 20 US cents. That brings Newcrest's total dividends for the financial year to 55 US cents, a 16% rise on last year's payouts.
We don't yet have a final figure in Aussie dollars, but at today's exchange rates, that dividend would come out at around 31 cents per share.
Saying that, as of today new Newcrest investors won't be eligible to receive this latest dividend payout. That's because this Friday is Newcrest's ex-dividend date. Anyone who owned this company's shares as of yesterday's close will be seeing this dividend arrive in their bank accounts in exactly one month's time on 18 September. But anyone who buys shares from today onwards will not.
Due to this inherent loss of value, whenever a dividend share goes ex-dividend, we normally see a fall in the company's shares. However, that clearly isn't happening today.
What's going on with ASX 200 gold shares this Friday?
And we can't point to the gold price for an explanation either, which would be the usual suspect for an unusual move in a gold miner's share price. As my Fool colleague James covered this morning, gold prices actually fell overnight, with the yellow metal most recently asking US$1,918.80 an ounce.
So what on earth is going on here?
Well, we can't be sure. But what we do know is that, in addition to the Newcrest share price, most other ASX gold shares are also flying high today. Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) sales are up more than 1% at present. As are Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR) shares and the Ramelius Resources Ltd (ASX: RMS) share price. Silver Lake Resources Ltd (ASX: SLR) shares are up almost 2%.
It's possible that gold miners are reacting to the signs of extreme weakness currently coming out of the Chinese economy. It looks as though there is now a serious risk that one or both of the Chinese property giants Evergrande and Country Garden are heading for default.
Gold is the classic safe haven asset and investors often flock to gold and the companies that mine it when there is fear in the financial markets. That could be why the Newcrest share price is pushing higher today, despite the passing of the company's ex-dividend date.