Miners rally, GDP rises 3.4% in Dec Qtr: ASX up 0.2% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

After opening lower, the Aussie sharemarket crawled back into positive territory at lunchtime while the crisis between Russia and Ukraine continues. The local bourse is being weighed down by sectors like communication services and real estate while materials and energy stocks are rallying. 

Heavyweight miners are adding to today’s gains, led by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) jumping 4.2 per cent higher at $122.78. BHP Group (ASX:BHP) has risen 3.4 per cent to $48.13 and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) is trading 3.7 per cent higher at $18.42.

Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is leading gold stocks higher, up 2.6 per cent to $4.20. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is up 1.7 per cent to $25.75 and Northern Star (ASX:NST) is trading 1.1 per cent higher at $10.13.

Minerals Resources (ASX:MIN) appointed James McClements as its new non-executive chairman following the resignation of Peter Wade. Shares rose 1 per cent to $45.78. 

Energy stocks are soaring, led by Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) jumping 4.1 per cent to $29.86. Santos (ASX:STO) has added 3 per cent to $7.48 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is trading 2.1 per cent higher at $1.57.

Major banks are lower except Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), which is trading 0.3 per cent higher at $95.09. ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) has declined 1.2 per cent to $25.88, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) has fallen 1 per cent to $22.74, Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) is down 0.9 per cent to $181.34 and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is trading 0.7 per cent lower at $29.17.

PointsBet (ASX:PBH) is the biggest laggard after rising 17.5 per cent yesterday. Shares are trading 9.2 per cent lower at $3.79, despite no official company news released today. 

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.2 per cent or 15.9 points higher at 7112.4.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 31 points.

Local economic news 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the nation’s GDP figures for the December quarter, which estimates key economic flows in Australia. 

The Australian economy rose 3.4 per cent, real net national disposable income rose 1.7 per cent, the terms of trade fell 5.1 per cent, and household saving ratio decreased to 13.6 per cent from 19.8 per cent. 

Company news 

Transurban (ASX:TCL) signed off on the 495 Express Lanes project with the Virginian Government. The US$660 million Northern Extension project aims to improve congestion in Greater Washinton and reduce local neighborhood traffic. The road operator owns a 50 per stake in the project, which is expected to open in 2025. Shares are down 0.6 per cent to $12.57.

Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) has canceled the share purchase plan announced in January due to changing market conditions. The cancellation does not affect the recently completed share placement, which raised $175 million at $7.70 per share. Shares are down 2.1 per cent to $5.05. 

Under a joint venture, Cimic’s (ASX:CIM) CPB Contractors has been selected to deliver the civil and alignment works for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport rail link between Orchard Hills and the new Western Sydney Airport Station. Shares are trading 0.1 per cent lower at $22.01.

Bass Oil (ASX:BAS) has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Beach Energy to acquire eight Cooper Basin tenements for $650,000. Shares are flat at $0.0020. 

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is energy, up 2.7 per cent. The worst-performing sector is communication services, down 1.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is PolyNovo (ASX:PNV), trading 5.9 per cent higher at $1.17. It is followed by shares in Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH), trading 9.2 per cent lower at $3.79. It is followed by shares in Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG) and Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1935.28 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.8 per cent higher at US$144.45 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.11 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.65 US cents.

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