Tech stocks and lithium miners reboot ASX, closes up 1.6% over the week

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

The Australian sharemarket posted its first two straight days of gains for the month and its best week since March 18, thanks to a rebound in technology and lithium stocks. Weak commodity prices weighed on energy and materials stocks and were the only two sectors which closed lower.

The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8 per cent to 6,578. Over the week, it closed 1.6 per cent or 104 points higher.

The best performing stock of the week in the ASX 200 was Block (ASX:SQ2) added 22 per cent while Life360 (ASX:360), and REA Group (ASX:REA) both added 20 per cent.

The best performer on the day was Life360 (ASX:360), closing 24.9 per cent higher at $3.01 while the worst performer was Ampol (ASX:ALD), closing 2.6 per cent lower at $33.15.

Lithium stocks bounced back after heavy selling this week. Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) soared 15 per cent to 80.5 cents, clawing back almost all of its losses from Thursday. Adding to the momentum was news from the name behind car brands like Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, and Maserati. Stellantis has earmarked $76 million for investment into Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) at $6.622 per share, a 32 per cent premium to Thursday’s closing price. The move is set to mark Stellantis as the lithium miner’s second-largest shareholder. The duo have also extended their binding lithium hydroxide offtake agreement by five years to 2035. Shares closed 20 per cent higher to 36 cents.

Other lithium miners like Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), soared 10.5 per cent to 97.2 cents, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) rose 8.7 per cent to $2.23 and Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) added 8.9 per cent to 91.5 cents.

Weakness in oil prices continued to weigh on the energy sector. Brent crude has declined more than 10 per cent in the past fortnight and is on track to fall for the second straight week as fears of an aggressive interest rate hiking cycle could lead to a global recession and weaken oil demand. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) fell 2.5 per cent to $1.60 and Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) lost 1.7 per cent to $30.61.

The major miners closed mixed amid a rebound in iron ore prices by over 6 per cent. BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) both fell 1.2 per cent each while Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) closed 0.2 per cent higher at $17.28.

The price of copper tumbled to a 16-month low. OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) closed 2.1 per cent lower to $19.19.

Gold miners also closed mixed. Northern Star (ASX:NST) rose 0.6 per cent to $7.99 while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) fell 1 per cent to $23.04 and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) closed 0.3 per cent lower to $3.38.

Major banks ended mixed. Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) jumped 1.1 per cent to $165.3. Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) fell 0.7 per cent to $19.48 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) closed 0.5 per cent lower to $90.16.

Investors will now turn their attention to RBA governor Philip Lowe who is in Switzerland for UBS’ panel discussion, “Central Banks and Inflation” at 10.30pm AEST.

Company news

Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) has completed the sale of its 11.6 per cent stake in Guzman y Gomez for $140 million. Shares closed 7.4 per cent higher to $13.83.

Bell Financial Group (ASX:BFG) had downgraded its first half 2022 earnings by around 45 per cent compared to the prior corresponding period (pcp) weighed down by its corporate fee income set to fall by 50 per cent on a pcp basis. Shares closed 19.4 per cent lower to 85 cents.

Global software-as-a-service platform provider LiveHire (ASX:LVH) has inked a deal with one of the four largest managed service providers globally. ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions is set to receive services from LiveHire to service their clients across North America. Shares closed 42.6 per cent higher to 38.5 cents.

Betmakers (ASX:BET) intends to conduct an on-market share buyback beginning on July 12. The wagering software and data services company may buy back up to 10 per cent of the smallest number of shares issued at any time in the last 12 months which will be funded from existing cash reserves. Shares closed 20 per cent higher to 36 cents.

After Diverger (ASX:DVR), a service provider used by financial advisers and accountants proposed a takeover bid to Centrepoint Alliance (ASX:CAF), shares in Centrepoint have been placed in a trading halt.

Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) has signed a 10-year agreement with Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) which positions the airline as the travel agency’s partner of choice over the next decade. Shares in Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) closed 2.5 per cent higher to $1.03 while shares in Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 1.1 per cent lower to $17.25.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 157 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 25 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 102 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 43 points when the market next opens.

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 1.2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 1.9 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.9 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 2.6 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 3.2 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 3.9 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,823.72 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.1 per cent higher at US$116.05 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.2 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.50 higher at US$104.77 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.10 US cents.

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