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Trending tickers: ASML | | Rio Tinto | Antofagasta

A look at the stocks making headlines on Wednesday

ASML Holding announced better than expected first-quarter earnings. Photo: Getty via Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket
ASML Holding announced better than expected first-quarter earnings. Photo: Getty via Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket

ASML Holding (ASML)

Key supplier to computer chip makers, ASML Holding, reported better than expected first-quarter earnings on Wednesday despite signs of weakness in chip markets.

It posted net profit for the quarter ended 31st March of €1.96bn (£1.73bn), while its revenue was up 91% at €6.74bn, nearly three times higher than a year ago.

The outlook for ASML also remains strong despite its clients tightening their belts.

"Overall demand still exceeds our capacity for this year and we currently have an (order) backlog of over €38.9bn," Peter Wennink, chief executive of ASML, said in a statement.

Wennink also said the company expects second-quarter net sales of between €6.5bn and €7.0bn with a gross margin between 50% and 51%.

"ASML expects R&D costs of around €990m and SG&A costs of around €275m For 2023, ASML expects continued strong growth with a net sales increase of over 25% and a slight improvement in gross margin, relative to 2022," he added.

Read more: FTSE 100 opens lower as UK inflation sparks rate rise fears

Just Eat (TKWY.AS)

Shares in Just Eat were trading down 2.07% in Amsterdam trading after it reported a 14% fall in customer orders to 227.8 million in the first quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the food-delivery company orders to be in the region of 231.1 million.

In a trading update, the company raised its 2023 guidance for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to about €275m, from about €225m previously.

Just Eat also said it expects to turn free cash flow positive by mid-2024 and plans to begin a share buyback program up to €150m.

"The buyback programme will commence on 19 April 2023 and is expected to complete no later than December 2023. The number of shares to be repurchased will be within the authorisation (10% of the issued shares) of the general meeting of Just Eat granted to the Management Board [1]. The maximum number of shares being repurchased is approximately 4.2%, based on the closing share price on 18 April 2023 of €16.26," the company said in a statement.

Rio Tinto (RIO)

Shares in Rio Tinto were down 1.53% to 5,524.00p ahead of the release of its latest quarterly results.

Its share price has been considerably volatile to trade in recent months as minings stocks have gone up and down in line with economic forecasts.

However, the mining company is one of the strongest dividend payers on the FTSE 100.

“In fact, in terms of a total payout, a year ago, it was forecast to be the largest dividend payer – paying out £7.4bn,” The Motley Fool reported.

The world's second-largest metals and mining corporation recently caught the attention of investors after it announced plans to decarbonise its operations, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto’s chief executive, also announced plans last month to strengthen the company's partnerships in China, which accounted for more than half of Rio Tinto's global revenue in 2022.

As a result of its links to China, the company had to cut its dividend in February after posting a 38% drop in annual profit, impacted by the weaker iron ore prices as demand from China slowed due to strict COVID-19 rules curtailing economic activity.

However, Stausholm said he was confident China will make a significant contribution to global economic growth again this year.

Read more: UK inflation eases but remains above 10% as food prices soar

Antofagasta (ANTO.L)

Investors were also keeping an eye on the share price of Chilean copper miner Antofagasta after it reported a fall in production for copper, gold and molybdenum for the first quarter of the year.

"Copper production in 1Q 2023 at 145,900 metric tons was in line with guidance, 5.1% higher than in the same quarter in 2022 and 25% lower than in 4Q 2022," the company said in a statement.

It said the decrease from the previous quarter reflected the expected temporary reduction in throughput at Los Pelambres mine on lower water availability, and expected lower grades and scheduled maintenance at its Centinela mine. However, it said production is expected to increase through the rest of the year.

Moreover, copper usage is expected to increase in the global move toward green energy and electrification.

“The United States passed the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022 and the European Union recently announced its Net Zero Industry Act. Together they promise to spur further investment in the many copper-intensive products and technologies integral to a net-zero world. And in November 2022, COP27 took place in Egypt, drawing further attention and commitments from governments to a net-zero future,” Jean-Paul Luksic, chairman of Antofagasta, recently said.

The mining company also reiterated that it expects copper output in 2023 to come in between 670,000 and 710,000 tonnes.

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