All sectors trading higher: ASX up 1.3% at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.3 per cent higher at 7,312.50.

Materials, Energy and Real Estate are leading the way, whilst Utilities has contributed the fewest gains.

The Westpac Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index rose by 9.4 per cent to 85.8 in April, compared to 78.4 in March. The increase is largely due to the Reserve Bank's decision to pause rate rises. The survey was conducted from April 3-6, which coincided with the board meeting on April 4. This is the highest level of consumer confidence since June 2022, but still 10.4 per cent lower than April 2022 when the RBA started raising rates.

Evergreen Lithium's (ASX:EG1) shares jumped 18 per cent to 29.5 cents on its debut on the ASX, higher than its initial public offering price of 25 cents. The company aims to follow the success of its peers Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) and Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR). It raised $7 million at 25 cents per share during its IPO to fund exploration activities at the Bynoe and Fortune lithium projects in the Northern Territory and the Kenny project in Western Australia. The aim is to take advantage of rising demand for lithium in battery metals.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 86 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, up 1.93 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains is Utilities, up 0.43 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM), trading 4.35 per cent higher at $29.51. It is followed by shares in Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) and Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN).

The worst-performing large cap is Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL), trading 1.94 per cent lower at $5.805. It is followed by shares in Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) and Infratil (ASX:IFT).

Asian markets

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific rose on Tuesday as the Bank of Korea held interest rates at 3.5 per cent, in line with expectations. South Korea’s central bank held rates for the second consecutive time as the nation grapples with an inflation rate of 4.2 per cent.

South Korea’s Kospi rose further after the move and traded 0.96 per cent higher and the Kosdaq inched up 0.3 per cent.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 and the Topix gained 0.85 per cent led by technology and consumer cyclicals.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.4 per cent, led by healthcare, property and utilities sectors.

China’s inflation reading came in lower than expected at 0.7 per cent. The Shanghai Composite gained fractionally and the Shenzhen Component rose 0.1 per cent.

Company news

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has received approval from the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to commence activity at the Makuutu Rare Earths Project. In response, MD Tim Harrison commented, “The process of de-risking the operation and providing MREC samples is essential to the next stage of attracting supply chain partners and moving towards a Final Investment Decision.” Shares are trading 8.7 per cent higher at 2.5 cents.

Continuing on the rare earth thematic, Arafura Rare Earths (ASX:ARU) has signed an offtake agreement with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S over a five year term. In response, MD Gavin Lockyer said, “Siemens Gamesa is the world’s leading manufacturer of offshore wind turbines, and this agreement compliments our strategy to create supply diversification into the renewable & E-mobility sectors”. Shares are trading 8.9 per cent higher at 52.3 cents.

Labyrinth Resources (ASX:LRL) announced the completion of the first stage of its growth strategy, in which they have updated their indicated and inferred mineral resource at their Comet Vale Gold Project in WA. In response, Chief Executive Matt Nixon said, “The underground resource grade of 7 grams per tonne shows the high-grade nature and genuine potential of this deposit in a world class gold belt.” Shares are trading 27.3 per cent higher at 1.4 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.3 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.55 US cents.

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