Pendal jumps on takeover bid, Iluka Resources signs off on WA refinery: ASX up 0.5% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Aussie sharemarket has continued to climb after opening higher this morning. Across the sectors, materials is leading while consumer discretionary weighs. In the winner’s corner are healthcare and utilities.

The top performer is Pendal Group (ASX:PDL), trading 21.4 per cent higher at $5.44 after it received a non-binding takeover bid from investment manager Perpetual.

Mineral sands major Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) is set to head into the rare earth sector after the board signed off on a $1.2 billion refinery build in WA. Iluka said the refinery will produce rare earth oxides that are critical inputs across a range of industries and technologies, including electric vehicles. Shares are trading 4.3 per cent higher at $12.02.

Heavyweight miners are posting gains, led by Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) up 3.1 per cent to $21.71. BHP (ASX:BHP) has added 0.6 per cent to $52.69 and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is trading 0.5 per cent higher at $120.97.

Gold stocks are also advancing, led by Northern Star (ASX:NST) up 2.6 per cent to $10.77. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has risen 2.1 per cent to $4.42 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is trading 1.3 per cent higher at $27.29.

Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) is leading the healthcare space, following its news that its prostate cancer imaging agent Illuccix® is now commercially available in the US. The product can be ordered from 117 cardinal health and pharmalogic pharmacies across the US. Shares are trading 6.3 per cent higher at $4.54. 

Energy stocks are climbing, led by Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) up 1 per cent to $1.57. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) is up 0.9 per cent to $32.96 and Santos (ASX:STO) is trading 0.3 per cent higher at $7.92.

Major banks are under pressure, except Westpac (ASX:WBC) which is trading 0.3 per cent higher at $24.03. Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) is weighing the most, down 0.5 per cent to $104.06.

Elsewhere, Pepper Money (ASX:PPM) is set to acquire a 65 per cent stake in Stratton Finance for $78 million. It said the acquisition will help deliver an immediate avenue for its Asset Finance business, broaden its distribution footprint and provide Straton’s network access to its financial products. The deal is set to be completed in the third quarter of 2022. Shares are 4.4 per cent higher at $2.16.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.5 per cent or 34.2 points higher at 7528.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 25 points.

What else to keep an eye out for? 

The Melbourne Institute released its inflation figures for February. The inflation gauge rose 0.8 per cent in the month from February, up 4 per cent over the year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the retail sales figures from February, which gives us more colour as to where Aussie's are spending their money. Retail trade rose 1.8 per cent month-on-month, and rose 9.1 per cent compared with February 2021.

Banks and iron ore miners are supposed to outperform today amid a strong lead from the treasuries’ performance. The iron ore futures have settled close to 8-month highs on hopes of increasing additional economic stimulus. This morning, we can see that heavyweight miners are rising but banks are lower.

After being in a trading halt, Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) is one to watch. Goldman Sachs has rated the company as a neutral with a price target of $5.10, following the news of its acquisition of Realbase. Shares are trading 0.3 per cent higher at $4.02.

A couple of things to note, China is closed today and tomorrow, and Hong Kong will join them. Wall St will close at 6am for now as daylight savings ends, eastern time.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is materials, up 1.3 per cent. The worst-performing sector is consumer discretionary, down 0.5 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pendal Group (ASX:PDL), trading 21.4 per cent higher at $5.44. It is followed by shares in Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) and Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Fletcher Building (ASX:FBU), trading 2.7 per cent lower at $5.69. It is followed by shares in Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) and Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1923.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.0 per cent higher at US$159.85 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.46 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.03 US cents. 

Are you a 708 sophisticated investor?

A sophisticated investor is defined under Section 708 of the Corporations Act (net assets of $2.5 million or annual incomes in excess of $250,000).

They are eligible to receive information regarding wholesale investment opportunities that are not available to regular or retail investors.

Please subscribe if you would like to be alerted to these types of opportunities.