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S&P/ASX 200 flat at lunch, utilities the strongest sector, WES shares punished

Wesfarmers today revealed a proposed bid for rare earth producer Lynas at a 44% premium.
market concept
The ASX200 is up only 2.4 points or largely flat at 6,128.6 points

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) (ASX:XJO) is trading near its high for the day but the index is still flat compared to yesterday’s close of 6,126.2.

The trading range has been relatively narrow, with a low of 6,116.8 and a high of 6,129.4 as at 12.30pm.

Investors tell Wesfarmers they don’t like the deal

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX:WES) revealed a proposal in pre-market to acquire Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) for $2.25 per share in cash, a 44.7% premium to the last close.

Shareholders of Wesfarmers have let their thoughts be known with the stock down 3.9% to $33.66 around midday – they obviously don’t think this is a good use of capital.

Lynas, a producer of rare earths, which has a relatively high short interest of around 8%, went into a trading halt to respond to the proposal and its shares are yet to trade.

At 12.38pm the company came out and said it is assessing the proposal but did note that it was unsolicited, highly conditional, and non-binding.

Lynas shares will recommence trading at 12.59pm at a healthy discount to the $2.25 indicative offer but it will be interesting to see if a short squeeze occurs.

Utilities the strongest sector

Utilities is the strongest performing sector, up 0.7%, led by AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) and APA Group (ASX:APA).

The utilities sector is seen as defensive which means it sees inflows during times when risk is perceived as being high.

Other defensive sectors include healthcare, consumer staples, telcos and REITs.

Defensive stocks are considered less cyclical, meaning when the business cycle turns negative, they aren’t as affected.

Take AGL Energy for example, when the GFC hit, most of us were still paying our power bills.

Coles partners with Ocado to rejig online shopping

Other pre-market news this morning included Coles Group Ltd (ASX:COL) revealing an agreement with English online supermarket Ocado.

Investors cheered the news with shares up 2.6% to $12.00 in the early afternoon.

Coles will use the Ocado Smart Platform.


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