The Australian stock market has mustered up a rally this morning, rising 0.8 per cent, despite earlier expectations of a weak start and weak leads from Wall Street. Gains by power players BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) have propelled the market to a 7-month high, on the back of RBA Governor Philip Lowe’s open stance on rate cuts. Major banks are also in positive territory.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 52 points up at 6,231. On the futures market the SPI is suggesting a rise of 57 points.
Local economic news
The unemployment rate increased to 6.9% in September, 0.1 per cent below consensus. Around 29,500 jobs were lost during the period. However, the total number of monthly hours worked had increased by nearly 9 million hours, as casual work and became more popular.
BHP (ASX:BHP) has officially confirmed news of deferral requests from Chinese coal importers, after the company’s annual AGM.
Commodity researcher S&P Global Platts has also reported that Chinese authorities have instructed their major coal players to halt imports from Australia. BHP (ASX:BHP) is making contact with its long-standing Chinese partners to investigate the reason behind these delays. BHP Chief Executive Mike Henry referred to the impact of COVID-19, but also mentioned the strong economic recovery in China. The unfavourable news has come amidst rising tensions between Beijing and Canberra.
Shares in BHP are trading 2.7 per cent higher at $37.01
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Energy adding 2.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Info Tech, the only one with losses shedding 0.8 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) rising almost 9 per cent to $1.03, followed by shares in Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) Pendal Group (ASX:PDL).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IDP Education (ASX:IEL) dropping 8.3 per cent to $18.48, followed by shares in Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,894 an ounce.
The iron ore price has lost 1.3 per cent to $119.52
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall of 2.1 per cent
One Australian dollar is buying 71.38 US cents.