Miners advance, Macquarie jumps on "record quarter": ASX up 1.1% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Aussie sharemarket has opened higher thanks to gains among the heavyweight miners helping the materials sector advance. All sectors are in positive territory except consumer staples and technology. 

BHP (ASX:BHP) is leading iron ore players, trading 3.4 per cent higher at $48.98, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has risen 3.1 per cent to $118.2 and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) is trading 2.3 per cent higher at $22.02.

Gold stocks are higher, with Northern Star (ASX:NST) up 1.3 per cent at $8.50. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) has lifted 0.7 per cent to $22.64 and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is trading 0.3 per cent higher at $3.63.

Macquarie Bank (ASX:MQG) is leading the major banks, jumping 4.3 per cent at $202.35. Macquarie's commodities and global markets business was the investment bank’s bright performing division, contributing 37 per cent of the group’s profit amid strong market conditions. The company has described its financial year 2022’s third quarter as a “record” period for the group.

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) is trading 1.4 per cent higher at $21.86, ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) has added 1.2 per cent to $26.88, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is up 0.5 per cent to $27.72 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) is trading 0.2 per cent higher at $94.16. 

Energy stocks are mixed with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) up 1.4 per cent at $27.13 and Santos (ASX:STO) up 0.4 per cent at $7.60. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is trading 0.3 per cent lower at $1.52.

Elsewhere, Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) has trimmed its interim dividend after profit fell 20.8 per cent to $388 million during the first six months of the 2022 financial year. Shares are trading 5.5 per cent higher at $12.03. 

Charter Hall Long WALE REIT (ASX:CLW) lifted its distributions by 5.1 per cent to $15.24 per share for the half year ending December 31. The real estate investment trust lifted its operating earnings by 5.6 per cent from the prior year period as property valuations soared 8.3 per cent. Shares are trading 1.5 per cent higher at $4.94.

Bapcor (ASX:BAP) has appointed Noel Meehan as its new chief executive officer to start today. Mr Meehan has been acting CEO since December last year. He started with the company two years ago as chief financial officer. Shares are up 0.4 per cent at $7.11. 

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.1 per cent or 81.1 points higher at 7191.9.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 83 points.

Local economic news 

ANZ and Roy Morgan released their weekly consumer confidence report. Consumer confidence deceased 1.9 points to 99.9 during the first week of February. Consumer confidence is still a significant 11.5 points below the same week a year ago, February 6/7, 2021 (111.4) and now just below the 2022 weekly average of 101.1.

Western Australia’s border closure to rest of Australia, and the world, was planned to be reopened on February 5th but was delayed indefinitely. This same week Consumer confidence has decreased 9 points in WA and 14 points in Perth perhaps indicating "dissatisfaction" with the continuing border closure.

Driving the small decrease were changes in sentiment regarding the performance of the Australians’ personal finances compared to a year ago and over the next year.

NAB’s business survey for January was also released. Business conditions fell 5 points in January, to +3 index points, declining below their long-run average. All three components of conditions deteriorated, with large falls in profitability (down 8 points to +2 index points) and trading conditions (down 7 points to +7). Employment also fell (down 3 points to -1).

The statement said business conditions deteriorated in January as the Omicron variant caused Covid-19 cases to reach unprecedented levels, triggering consumer caution and staff shortages. Profitability, trading conditions, and employment all fell, with the impact felt across almost all states and industries. Recreation & personal services continues to be hardest hit but retail, transport, and construction all saw large negative impacts.

Meanwhile, business confidence rebounded 15 points in January to +3 index points after falling to -12 in December. Confidence rose across all industries outside mining, and across all states. Forward orders were steady at +4 index points, while capital expenditure edged down 3 points to +3. Capacity utilisation rose from 80.7 per cent to 81.6 per cent.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, up 2.1 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 0.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Imugene (ASX:IMU), trading 6.7 per cent higher at $0.32. It is followed by shares in Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) and Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), trading 8.7 per cent lower at $4.60. It is followed by shares in Block (ASX:SQ2) and Appen (ASX:APX).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1820.73 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.9 per cent higher at US$149.40 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.07 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.31 US cents.

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