Gold miners & Costa rally, Tech stocks sink: ASX closes 0.4% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Aussie sharemarket held onto its gains today thanks to a rally in gold miners, major banks and consumer staples while most sectors ended the day slightly up. This came after renewed selling overnight on Wall Street, triggered by Snap’s warning and data pointing to slower US economic growth, while investors fear a recession. Investors are also pondering on China’s covid policy, and how much it's going to affect the economy while we wait for another update.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.4 per cent or 26 points higher at 7,155.

Who were the winners?

Gold miners pushed ahead, led by Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) up 3.5 per cent to $3.82 and Northern Star (ASX:NST) up 2.5 per cent to $9.11.

Mid-cap miners OceanaGold Corp (ASX:OGC), Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) and West African Resources (ASX:WAF) all added between 3.2 per cent and 6 per cent.

Meanwhile, Develop Global (ASX:DVP) started underground work at Bellevue Gold’s (ASX:BGL) mine in Western Australia, with the agreement valued at $400 million. Develop’s shares rose nearly 12 per cent to $2.64.

Major banks were led by National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) up 1.8 per cent to $31.66 and Westpac (ASX:WBC) up 1.4 per cent to $23.87.

Costa Group (ASX:CGC) jumped 8.6 per cent to $3.16 after the fruit and vegetable grower issued a trading update and forecasted earnings to lift.

Nufarm (ASX:NUF) jumped 5.5 per cent to $5.26 following its news yesterday that Sumitomo Chemical made the decision to sell its 15.9 per cent stake in Nufarm.

Another big mover among mid-cap stocks was fund manager GQG Partners (ASX:GQG), up 6.6 per cent and 15.8 per cent over the past five days. Same with real estate developer Peet (ASX:PPC), up 14.3 per cent to $1.08, while no company news was released.

Elsewhere, Airtasker (ASX:ART), an online marketplace for users to outsource everyday needs, jumped 8 per cent to 40 cents after completing the acquisition of competitor platform Oneflare following approval from the ACCC.

What weighed on the market?

Tech stocks fell with Brainchip (ASX:BRN) down 8.3 per cent to $1.06, Afterpay owner Block (ASX:SQ2) down 5.5 per cent to $109.25 and Megaport (ASX:MP1) down 5 per cent to $7.00. This was the second day in a row the sector has fallen more than 2.5 per cent amid a renewed tech sell-off on Wall Street.

Consumer discretionary stocks were under pressure with inflation concerns at the front of people's minds. Cettire (ASX:CTT) fell 10.4 per cent to 56 cents despite its gains yesterday, Step One Clothing (ASX:CTT) tumbled 10 per cent to 27 cents and City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) fell 6.5 per cent to $2.16.

Shares in mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) fell, but on the bright side, the decline does not reflect the company’s performance. Instead, it reflects on the company trading ex-dividend today for its in-specie Woodside dividend. Eligible BHP shareholders will receive one newly issued Woodside share for every 5.5340 BHP shares they hold at the close of business on 26 May 2022 (record date). 

Local economic news

During the March quarter, 66 per cent of Australian households owned their own home with or without a mortgage, while 31 per cent of households rented their home, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Average weekly housing costs were $493 for owners with a mortgage, $54 for owners without a mortgage, and $379 for renters.

More company news

Worley (ASX:WOR) received an engineering contract from Heartwell Renewables LLC for the renewable diesel plant in Hastings, Nebraska. Separately, Worley also received a contract from Borouge 4 LLC for the fourth expansion of Borouge’s polyolefins complex in Ruwais, United Arab Emirates. Shares closed 0.7 per cent higher at $14.85.

Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) launched an expression of interest for the sale and leaseback of its property at 1 Vegemite Way, Port Melbourne. Shares closed 1.5 per cent higher at $4.83.

RareX (ASX:REE) announced encouraging visual results at its Cummins Range rare earths project in Western Australia. Shares closed 1.3 per cent higher at $0.080.

Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) entered a trading halt ahead of its $190 million capital raising at 18 cents, expecting to release more details this week. Shares last traded at $0.20.

ALS (ASX:ALQ) reported a 24 per cent increase in revenue for the full year to March 31 thanks to a strong performance from Life Sciences and commodities. Shares closed 2 per cent higher at $12.01.

Superloop (ASX:SLC) is set to buy a Melbourne-based white label broadband firm called Acurus for $15 million. Shares closed 3.8 per cent higher at $0.82.

Nanonsonics (ASX:NAN) told investors growth numbers for its ultrasound disinfectant equipment continued over the March quarter at the same level as the December quarter. Shares closed 2 per cent higher at $3.88.

Fisher and Paykel (ASX:FPH) withheld guidance for the 2023 financial year after profit fell 28 per cent in the full year to March 31, while revenue fell 15 per cent to $NZ1.7 billion. Shares closed 2.2 per cent lower at $18.30.  

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 77 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 16 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 77 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 35 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Consumer Staples, up 1.5 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down almost 3 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC), closing 8.6 per cent higher at $3.16. It was followed by shares in Nufarm (ASX:NUF) and Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), closing 6.6 per cent lower at $6.23. It was followed by shares in City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) and Pro Medicus (ASX:PME).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.3 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1858.25 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.0 per cent lower at US$130.50 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.4 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.73 higher at US$110.50 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.04 US cents.

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