Energy and IT surge: ASX up 0.7% at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

Energy and Information Technology are both up over 2 per cent, following gains in the sectors in the US markets on Friday.

In global news, brent crude futures and US West Texas Intermediate crude futures surged as much as 8 per cent after OPEC+ announced a surprise oil production cut of over one million barrels a day, tightening the market further and posing a risk to the global economy with potential inflationary pressures, forcing central banks to maintain high interest rates and slowing economic growth.

Bitcoin has outperformed other asset classes in Q1 2023 with a 72 per cent gain, its best quarter since March 2021. This rally comes after a period of volatility and market downturn, with long-time participants stating that volatility is expected in this asset class.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.74 per cent higher at 7,230.6.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 67 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 2.81 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.81 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW), trading 3.85 per cent higher at $23.99. It is followed by shares in Xero (ASX:XRO) and Woodside Energy Group (ASX:WDS).

The worst-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 4.31 per cent lower at $3.77. It is followed by shares in Allkem (ASX:AKE) and IGO (ASX:IGO).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets largely rose on Monday as investors further digested key manufacturing data in the region.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was 0.53 per cent higher and the Topix rose 0.57 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi was up marginally, while the Kosdaq moved 0.66 per cent higher.

Mainland Chinese markets were also up, with the Shenzhen Component gaining 0.49 per cent and the Shanghai Composite inching up 0.14 per cent.

On the other hand, the Hang Seng index fell by 0.13 per cent, while the Hang Seng Tech index saw a larger loss of 0.94 per cent.

Japan’s factory activity showed a softer contraction in five months. The manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 49.2 per cent for March, higher than February’s figure of 47.7 per cent, based on a private survey.

Company news

icetana (ASX:ICE) has secured a 600 camera expansion order for its AI video analytics solution from a large shopping mall client in Kuwait, valued at US$138,000 over the first 12 months. icetana CEO Matt Macfarlane commented: “We are always pleased to secure long term expansion contracts with our existing customers, this can only be achieved when our value proposition is strong and measurable.” Shares are flat at 3.4 cents.

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) announced an independent verification of high-grade lithium carbonate from the Kachi Demonstration Plant. In response, the Company said, “we have been quite confident in the process but are thrilled to have 3rd party validation confirm our ability to produce high purity, environmentally friendly lithium.” Shares are trading 6.74 per cent higher at 47.5 cents.

Continuing on the lithium theme, Olympio Metals (ASX:OLY) announced that it has agreed terms with Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) for Liontown to farm into Olympio’s Mulline and Mulwarrie lithium projects in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. Olympio’s Managing Director, Sean Delaney, commented: “Importantly, Olympio retains significant exposure to discovery success with the ability to contribute to funding and remain at 49 per cent once Liontown has completed the Stage 1 farm in.” Shares are trading 77.27 per cent higher at 19.5 cents.

Electro Optic Systems Holdings (ASX:EOS) announces today that it has secured a conditional contract to supply Remote Weapon Systems to Ukraine, valued at up to US$80m (or approximately A$120m). The contract is conditional on demonstration testing over the coming weeks, and subject to other customary terms for military contracts. Shares are trading 31.9 per cent higher at 60 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.5 per cent lower at US$127.30 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 06 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.79 US cents.

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