CSL shares tumble despite first-half earnings beat

Why are investors hitting the sell button today?

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CSL Ltd (ASX: CSL) shares are under pressure for a second day in a row.

On Monday, investors were selling the biotechnology company's shares following a major trial failure.

Today, the selling has followed the release of CSL's highly anticipated half-year results.

How did CSL perform during the first half?

CSL had a relatively strong six months, reporting double-digit revenue and profit growth in constant currency.

The company posted an 11% increase in revenue to US$8.05 billion and a 13% jump in net profit after tax before amortisation (NPATA) to $2.06 billion.

This allowed its board to increase CSL's interim dividend by 12% to the equivalent of A$1.81 per share.

It also allowed management to reaffirm its FY 2024 guidance. It continues to expect NPATA expected in the range of approximately US$2.9 billion to US$3.0 billion in constant currency, representing growth over FY 2023 of approximately 13% to 17%.

Why are CSL shares falling?

Interestingly, CSL shares are falling today despite the company's result actually coming in slightly ahead of expectations for the half.

According to FactSet, the market was expecting revenue of US$7.94 billion and net profit of US$1.84 billion. Whereas CSL reported a statutory net profit of US$1.9 billion and revenue of US$8.05 billion.

It's possible that the weakness has been driven by commentary around the outlook for the CSL Vifor business. Management warned:

For CSL Vifor, we are operating within an evolving iron market. While there are challenges for near-term growth, we are well positioned for iron competition in the EU and further geographic expansion. Our focus remains on unlocking value by leveraging capabilities across the CSL group.

This isn't the sort of thing you want to hear 18 months after acquiring a business for A$16.7 billion.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has positions in CSL. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended CSL. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended CSL. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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