BHP slips on ratings cut, Woodside jumps, Bubs & Australian Dairy soars: ASX falls 0.9% at noon

Women in leadership took the spotlight after news of several executive leadership changes. Despite the ASX 200 falling to a four-day low, the spark of energy shares and Aussie baby formula products soon to hit the shelves in the US helped soften the fall.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.9 per cent or 65 points lower at 7,169. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 67 points.

Energy outperforms by 2.4 per cent while information technology lags by 1.9 per cent. Others in the losers corner are healthcare, industrials, consumer staples and financials by up to 1.5 per cent each. The rest are trading lower.

Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) is the best performer, soaring 4.9 per cent at $31.68, followed by Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), and IGO (ASX:IGO). Life360 (ASX:360) sinks 5.9 per cent at $3.22, followed by Block (ASX:SQ2), and Nanosonics (ASX:NAN).

Overshadowing the news that Sheryl Sandberg will step down as Meta’s chief operating officer, Penny Wong made history as both the first Asian-born and openly gay woman to become Australia’s top diplomat.

Investors also sold on the news by 1.5 per cent to $80.18 that ASX (ASX:ASX) has named its first female managing director and chief executive officer Helen Lofthouse to start in August after seven years of tenure with the sharemarket operator.

Meanwhile, shares in (ASX:KGN) dip by 0.3 per cent to $3.53 on news that Gracie MacKinlay is promoted to chief executive officer of New Zealand founded eCommerce platform, Mighty Ape.

However, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) appointed managing director and chief executive officer Dale Henderson has been well received with shares up 0.4 per cent to $2.31.

Market participants received a second day of positive news on the strength of the economy. Following the better-then-expected GDP figures, Australia’s trade surplus widened to $10.5 billion in April from an upwardly revised $9.74 billion in the previous month, beating market expectations of a surplus of $9.3 billion. This is the largest trade surplus since January, as exports rose while imports fell. Exports grew by 1 per cent over the month to a new record high of $50.38 billion, while imports fell 0.7 per cent to $39.9 billion in the same period. For the first four months of the year, the trade surplus increased to $40.8 billion from $25.20 billion in the same period of 2021.

The infant formula producers rebound with shares in Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB), soaring 12 per cent to 65.5 cents. Australian Dairy Nutritionals (ASX:AHF) is on the move, up 7.6 per cent to 8.5 cents while the A2 Milk (ASX:A2M) is flat.

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) leads the lenders lower by 2.4 per cent at $183.87 while Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) is shedding the least by 0.6 per cent at $23.96.

BHP Group (ASX:BHP) fell 1.1 per cent to $45.15 amid S&P Global downgrading its credit rating to “A-”, following BHP’s petroleum merger with Woodside. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is trading 1.3 per cent lower at $113.45 while Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) sheds 0.5 per cent to $20.66.

Elsewhere, Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) fell 0.5 per cent to $47.35 after chief Rob Scott said the group is set to focus on new growth areas, including the Mt Holland lithium project, its health division, and leveraging its brands and stores with digital unit OneDigital.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1846.02 an ounce.
Iron ore is flat at US$136.55 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.38 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.73 US cents.