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Mining giants dazzle the market but COVID jitters still in the mix

Record dividends and stellar earnings from some of Australia’s largest companies were welcomed warmly by investors and analysts alike this week. However, the spectre of COVID-19 still looms large over the ASX. Here’s what you need to know about week two of February earnings.

Miners deliver record payouts, plus some drama

BHP – NPAT: $US3.9 billion, Dividend: $US1.01 per share
Rio Tinto – Underlying profit: $US12.4 billion, Dividend: $US5.57 per share
Fortescue Metals Group – NPAT: $US4.08 billion ($5.2 billion), Dividend: $1.47 per share

The nation’s miners delivered a dividend windfall for investors this week, with both BHP and Rio announcing record payouts off the back of surging iron ore prices. Rio Tinto’s new boss Jakob Stausholm expressed hope the miner could restore trust after last year’s disastrous destruction of Aboriginal rock shelters, while BHP boss Mike Henry was confident on future commodity demands as COVID-19 vaccines roll out.

Fortescue Metals also paid out a record half-year dividend, though the company also delivered shock news of cost blowouts at its Iron Bridge project in WA.

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