The ASX rose at the open as expected, after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed higher, while a lift in the oil price is helping our local energy stocks rise. But today’s shiner, the mining sector, not only as the iron ore price and futures lifted but lithium companies are charging ahead. The likes of South32 (ASX:S32) are soaring over 6 per cent higher and Pilbara Miners (ASX:PLS) is up over 1 per cent. Heavy weights like BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio (ASX:RIO) are following.
In fact most of the sectors are charging ahead today, excepts staples with Woolworths (ASX:WOW) falling 2 per cent with USB reporting that their half year results, released today were not on par with expectations.
Also capping gains today is a basket of companies that went ex-dividend including Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) which is trading over 3 per cent lower.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 37 points higher or 0.6 per cent, at 5,931. And on the futures market the SPI in indicated a rise of 35 points.
Salmon farming company Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) reported its net profit after tax rose 27 per cent in the first half of this finanical year to $26 million, while its revenue also rose, up 24 per cent to $271 million. It comes on the back of better than expected demand and returns for its salmon. Its shares are trading 5.8 per cent higher at $3.85.
Southern Cross Austereo (ASX:SXL) reported a 21 per cent slump in its net profit in the half year ending December to $38 million. And its revenue fell too, down 5 per cent to $333 million. And its shares are trading about 9 per cent lower at $1.08.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is S&P/ASX materials adding 1.48 per cent to 11,708 points while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX consumer staples shedding 0.4 per cent to 10,360 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is NEXTDC (ASX:NXT), rising 17.43 per cent to $7.14, followed by shares in Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC) and South32 (ASX:S32).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), dropping 11.9 per cent to $2.63 followed by shares in Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) and Southern Cross Media Group (ASX:SXL).
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,330 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.37 US cents.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed: Bitcoin has dropped 8.64 per cent to US$9,783, Tether has gained 1 per cent to around US$1 and Ethereum has shed 6.37 per cent to US$799.