Metals & business data fire up ASX to post-pandemic highs: Aus shares 1.1% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Michael Luu

The Australian sharemarket opened the week on a high note, following soaring metals prices and upbeat data on favourable business conditions and confidence. Shares in major miners surged in sync with rises in iron ore, copper and gold prices, as BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) gained 2.8 and 3.1 per cent respectively to record highs by lunchtime. The strong rally by materials launched the benchmark index to a post-pandemic high of 7165 points at 11:35am.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.09 per cent or 77.30 points higher at 7158.10.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 80 points.

Economic news

Australia’s business environment continued to recover strongly while trading activity, profitability and employment gained steam, as reflected by the latest data from the NAB business conditions and confidence report. The big-four revealed record-high business conditions and confidence, which gained 8 points and 9 points respectively.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed upbeat data on retail sales for March, indicating a rise of 1.3 per cent in the period as compared to a dip of 0.8 per cent in the previous month. The figures reflect a rebound from COVID-19 social restrictions in Victoria and Western Australia, as the states led Australia’s retail sales rally.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, up 2.63 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains is Utilities, up 0.08 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Omni Bridgeway (ASX:OBL), trading 8.45 per cent higher at $3.72. It is followed by shares in The Star Ent Group (ASX:SGR) and Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL), trading 10.04 per cent lower at $2.42. It is followed by shares in The A2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) and Nuix (ASX:NXL).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1832.76 an ounce.
Iron ore is 5.10 per cent higher at US$212.25 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 9.99 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.50 US cents.

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