Why are these blue chip ASX stocks in the news today?

The S&P/ASX 50 Index (ASX:XPL) was spotted down 1.652% at 6889.9 at 2:45 p.m. AEST today (May 19). Despite today’s drop, XPL has gained more than 2% over the past 12 months. However, since the start of the year, the XPL index has fallen by more than 4%.

This article focuses primarily on ASX 50 Materials & Energy companies such as Rio, Woodside and Santos and their performance on the ASX today.

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)

Shares of ASX-listed mining company Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) were spotted down 1.809% at AU$106.89 per share at 1:30 p.m. AEST on the ASX today (May 19). Around 527,000 shares of Rio have changed hands so far on the ASX.

Rio today announced its revised financing plan with Turquoise Hill Resources. The revised funding plan will allow Rio to offer liquidity of up to A$400 million in short-term advances. On the other hand, Turquoise’s special committee evaluated Rio’s all-cash proposal of C$34 per share to acquire 49% of the outstanding issued shares of Turquoise, which are not currently owned by Rio.

Rio’s share price has fallen more than 13% on the ASX in the past 12 months. On the other hand, Rio’s share price has gained more than 7% since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, the materials sector S&P/ASX 200 (ASX:XMJ) was spotted down 1.583% at 16930.5.

Read more: Shanghai to ease COVID-19 lockdown: How it may impact ASX iron ore stocks

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)

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Shares of ASX-listed oil producer Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) were spotted down 2.763% to AU$29.91 per share at the time of writing. About 2.5 million shares of Woodside have been traded so far.

On May 17, 2022, Woodside announced that it had received approval from the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administration for its proposed merger with the oil business of BHP Group (ASX: BHP). However, Woodside still needs shareholder approval to execute this merger. Shareholder approval will be sought today (May 19) at Woodside’s 2022 Annual General Meeting. The company expects to complete the merger on June 1, 2022 after obtaining all necessary approvals.

Woodside’s share price has gained more than 31% on the ASX in the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, the energy sector S&P/ASX 200 (ASX:XEJ) was spotted down 1.734% at 10032.7 today.

Santos Limited (ASX:STO)

Stock prices RIO, WPL, STO

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Shares of Santos Limited (ASX: STO) were spotted down 0.665% at AU$8.205 per share at 2:09 p.m. AEST on the ASX today (May 19). About 7.6 million shares of Santos have been traded so far in today’s trading session on the ASX today.

On May 17, 2022, Santos, in a joint venture with State Gas Limited (ASX:GAS), named the preferred bidder for two new areas under the Queensland Government’s latest oil land release scheme .

Currently, the company is focusing on its market buyback plan. Santos has bought a total of 13,395,392 treasury shares so far, with around 1,473,925 shares bought alone the day before.

The stock buyback plan reflects the good financial health of a company. As a result, this justifies Santos’ heavy trading volume on the ASX today. In addition, Santos also paid a 70% frank interim dividend of AU$0.118 per share based on its earnings to its eligible shareholders in March 2022.

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