Miners rise on ASX as BHP sells stake in Queensland coal mines

The Australian share market has closed in the red after a mixed session, with health and tech stocks dragging, while mining and energy stocks have been on the rise.

Key points:BHP is selling its 80 per cent stake in a Queensland metallurgical coal joint venturePriceline owner API has recommended shareholders vote in favour of a buyout offer from WesfarmersTravel stocks rose as Sydney Airport's board backed a $24 billion takeover deal

The ASX 200 index lost 0.1 per cent, or just four points, to finish at 7,452.2 points.

Gains in the materials and energy sectors helped offset some of the losses elsewhere, although miners closed off their highs.

BHP shares gained 0.8 per cent to finish at $36.38.

The mining giant announced the sale of its stake in a Queensland metallurgical coal joint venture for up to $US1.35b ($1.8 billion).

Stanmore Resources will buy BHP's 80 per cent stake in BHP Mitsui Coal for an initial payment of $US1.1 billion cash, a further $US100 million in six months and a potential $US150 million follow-up payment after two years, depending on coal prices.

Shares in Stanmore Resources leapt 14 per cent higher.

"The transaction is consistent with BHP's strategy," the miner's head of Australian minerals, Edgar Basto, said.

"As the world decarbonises, BHP is sharpening its focus on producing higher-quality metallurgical coal sought after by global steelmakers to help increase efficiency and lower emissions."

The joint venture includes the South Walker Creek and Poitrel mines in Queensland's Bowen Basin.

Other miners also made gains, including Rio Tinto (+0.4pc), Fortescue (+0.4pc) and South32 (+1.4pc).

Gold mining stocks were among the best performers on the benchmark index, with St Barbara (+5.2pc), Perseus Mining (+3.4pc) and Evolution Mining (+4pc) rising strongly.

Financial stocks were mixed, as ANZ (-1.6pc) and Macquarie Group (-0.8pc) dropped as they traded without access to their latest dividend payments, while Westpac (+1.3pc) and AMP (+1.7pc) climbed.

The healthcare sector retreated, due to falls for CSL (-0.8pc), Resmed (-2.3pc) and Sonic Healthcare (-2.2pc).

Wesfarmers shares lost half a per cent, as the company secured a deal to take over pharmacy group API for $764 million.

Shares in API lifted 3.7 per cent on the news, which follows rival bidder Sigma withdrawing its proposal to merge with API last week.

API owns brands including Priceline, Soul Pattinson Chemist and Pharmacist Advice.

The company's board has recommended shareholders vote in favour of the Wesfarmers deal.

Travel stocks rise on airport deal

Sydney Airport shares lifted 2.8 per cent after its board backed a takeover by a group of superannuation funds and infrastructure investors.

The $24 billion buyout deal, one of the largest in Australian corporate history, will need the approval of the competition regulator and the Foreign Investment Review Board, as well as shareholders.

Three planes sit at the gates of Sydney airport
Sydney Airport's board has recommended shareholders accept the takeover offer.(ABC News)

The Sydney Aviation Alliance comprises Australian investors IFM Investors, QSuper and AustralianSuper and US-based Global Infrastructure Partners.

Sydney Airport shares are now up around 30 per cent since January, after plunging during the depths of the pandemic.

Other travel stocks lifted, including Flight Centre (+5.7pc), Webjet (+4.8pc) and Qantas (+4.1pc).

US jobs growth lifts global markets

On Friday, global markets rose, following a rebound in jobs growth in the United States.

Non-farm payrolls increased by 531,000 in October and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 per cent.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent for the session, adding 2 per cent over the week.



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