Fortescue soars 8%, Woodside & BHP surge on merger deal: ASX up 0.7% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket is lifting higher this morning following a mixed night on Wall Street, thanks to gains in mining and energy giants. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.7 per cent or 49.7 points higher at 7402.8. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 47 points.

Across the sectors, 8 out of 11 are in positive territory. Energy is lifting the highest, up 2.5 per cent, followed by materials, up 2.1 per cent, then utilities, up 1.4 per cent. Meanwhile, technology tumbled 3.6 per cent, along with communication services, down 0.6 per cent, then health care, down 0.1 per cent.

After the market closed yesterday, BHP and Woodside Petroleum announced they had signed off on a $41 billion merger deal. Keep an eye out for a story released this afternoon. BHP (ASX:BHP) is trading 4.3 per cent higher, while Woodside (ASX:WPL) is trading 3.8 cent higher.

Meanwhile, mining giant Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) has jumped 8 per cent as the best-performing stock, with Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) up 3.7 per cent as iron ore prices trade 3.7 per cent higher. Energy stocks are also helping the ASX lift, with Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) up 2.9 per cent, Santos (ASX:STO) up 2.6 per cent and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) up 1.9 per cent.

Major banks have rebounded from yesterday, led by ANZ (ASX:ANZ), up 2.1 per cent, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) and Westpac (ASX:WBC), both up 1.4 per cent, and NAB (ASX:NAB), up 0.8 per cent. Insurance stocks are also lifting higher.  

Meanwhile, gold miners tumbled, with Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) down 3 per cent following its news to purchase Newmont's power business. The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is auto parts retailer Bapcor (ASX:BAP), trading 8.7 per cent lower following the retirement of its CEO Darryl Abotomey. Tech Stocks also tumbled, with Afterpay (ASX:APT) down 5.4 cent and WiseTech Global (ASX:WPL) down 6.7 per cent.

Local economic news

IHS Markit released November's purchasing managers indexes.

RBA Head of Domestic Markets, Marion Kohler is set to deliver a speech “securities markets through the pandemic” at Australian Securitisation Forum Virtual Conference. Also, RBA Deputy Head Domestic Markets is set to participate in a panel discussion with the theme “transition to risk free rates - the future of BBSW” at the same conference this afternoon.

Company news

Gold miner Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) has agreed to acquire Newmont’s power business from its Australian subsidiary, Newmont Australia, for US$95 million.

Software company TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE) reported an increase in profit for the full year ending September 30, following strong growth in its software as a service (SaaS) business.

RAS Technology Holdings (ASX:RTH). Their shares issued at $1.50, started trading at $1.70 and are currently at $1.64.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 2.5 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 3.6 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), trading 8 per cent higher at $17.07. It is followed by shares in Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) and BHP Group (ASX:BHP).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bapcor (ASX:BAP), trading 8.7 per cent lower at $7.54. It is followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and Afterpay (ASX:APT).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1809.63 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.7 per cent higher at US$94.70 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.86 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.29 US cents.

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