Market surges to a five-month high after a shaky week: ASX up 2.68% at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

The ASX has opened to a five-month high, as Information Technology surged by almost 5 per cent. Real Estate was the next best sector, closely followed by Consumer Discretionary.

The markets have opened higher on the back of US reports that October’s consumer price index increased by 0.4 per cent for the month, and 7.7 per cent from one year ago. This shows the lowest annual increase since January and is an improvement from the consensus expectation of 7.9 per cent.

The data signals that inflation is now slowing down, and that interest rate hikes are coming to an end.

In other news, lithium giant Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) has received a massive government loan of $250 million, which will help support the expansion of the Pilgangoora mine project in Western Australia. Shares are trading 2.82 per cent higher at $5.47 at noon.

Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) has announced that they have entered into an agreement with Tennis Australia for all of the rights to premium tennis played in Australia from 2025 to 2029. This boosted the company's share price by 3.68 per cent to $2.12 at noon.

Overall, at noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 2.68 per cent or 186.50 points higher at 7150.50, whilst the SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 189 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 4.68 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains is Utilities, up 0.18 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI), trading 13.88 per cent higher at $9.11. It is followed by shares in Megaport (ASX:MP1) and Block (ASX:SQ2).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), trading 3.84 per cent lower at $8.01. It is followed by shares in Computershare (ASX:CPU) and QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE).

Asian news

Asian equities are set for a positive start to the Friday trade.

The Nikkei and Hang Seng futures are pointing to big gains on the open.

In other news, White House has announced that President Biden will meet with President Xi Jinping in Bali on Monday. The brief statement indicated they will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication, manage competition, and work together where interests align, especially on transnational challenges that affect the international community.

Another busy day of crypto headlines as FTX may need to file for bankruptcy

There is further fallout today from the FTX collapse. WSJ reported today that FTX tapped into customer accounts to fund bets by its associated hedge fund Alameda, which owes FTX approximately $10B. Reuters also reported that FTX is looking for a $9.4B bailout, though the article said it was unclear if he'll be able to raise the funds.FTX US, the American entity of FTX, said that trading will be halted on the exchange in a few days, though it remains open for withdrawals at the moment (Bloomberg). This comes after Binance confirmed yesterday it has pulled out of its takeover offer for FTX (Bloomberg), saying it could not move forward following its due diligence, citing reports of mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations (Bloomberg). While Bitcoin rallied as part of today's big risk-on move, multiple analysts have discussed contagion risks in crypto space after Bitcoin collapsed to two-year low and other coins sustained heavy falls (FT). Als, there are concerns about a possible spillover to other asset markets, with Evercore ISI's equity strategist warning that the hit to risk sentiment if Bitcoin declines past its pre-pandemic high of $13,850, it could spread to other asset classes (Bloomberg).

Company news

EMVision Medical Devices (ASX:EMV), a company that develops medical imaging technology, has today announced that they have been awarded a $2.5 million non-dilutive grant from the NSW Medical Devices Fund. The fund is a program that supports local innovation alongside seeking to increase the uptake of NSW medical devices. In response, EMVision CEO Dr Ron Weinberger commented, "It’s an honour to have received this funding considering the large number of applicants. I believe it is recognition of our unique technology but more importantly, the understanding by the selection panel of the potential to revolutionise stroke imaging and treatment at the Point-of-Care.” Shares are trading 6.92 per cent higher at $1.70 at noon.

Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) announced the discovery of Very High Grade REE surface mineralisation at the Vulcan prospect within the Golden Grove North project. The results show a 12.5 per cent REE mineralisation at the project. In response, Venture’s Managing Director commented: “The discovery of Very High Grade Rare Earth mineralisation at one of our VMS prospects at Golden Grove North, effectively doubles the Company’s exposure to the Rare Earth space, as it follows our recent Rare Earth discovery at Mount Lindsay.” Shares are trading 31.82 per cent higher at $0.029 at noon.

Trek Metals (ASX:TKM) has announced that it has signed a Heads of Agreement with Strike Energy (ASX:STX). The agreement forms part of a regional exploration initiative under which Trek has been assessing an exploration tenure in Western Australia where there may be an opportunity to explore for lithium in brines. In response, Trek Metals CEO Derek Marshall stated, “Under the Agreement, should Strike drill the Future State 1 Well, Trek only bears the cost of undertaking the lithium brine analysis, providing a very low-cost and potential future risk-free business growth opportunity.” Shares are trading 8.25 per cent higher at $0.105 at noon.

VRX Silica (ASX:VRX) has announced an update to the Mineral Resource Estimate and Ore Reserve Statement for its Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project, located 270km north of Perth. VRX Silica Managing Director Bruce Maluish said: “This updated Mineral Resource and Reserve is a culmination of significant metallurgical testwork and evaluation of the Resource to determine the premium products we can produce. These products include sought after foundry sand as well as glass making sand suitable for flat glass, including automobile glass and also container glass. We have dispatched large samples to a number of foundry and glassmaking companies in Korea, Japan and Taiwan for evaluation and subsequent discussions for offtake.” Shares are trading 3.45 per cent higher at $0.15 at noon.

Desert Metals (ASX:DM1) announced a report that a significant new zone of PGE has been encountered in its recent drilling campaign at Innouendy. Aircore (AC) hole INAC208 intersected 32m @ 0.46g/t Pt+Pd+Au (PGE3) from 32m depth, including a high-grade zone of 4m @ 1.186g/t PGE3. The company believes this to be the first PGE intercept of potentially economic grade in the Narryer Terrane. Shares are trading 10 per cent higher at $0.33 at noon.

Eagle Mountain Mining (ASX:EM2) announced an update on its 100 per cent owned Oracle Ridge Copper Mine Project in Arizona, USA. Assay results for three new holes have been received, including one resource upgrade hole and two resource infill holes. Commenting on these results, Eagle Mountain Mining’s CEO, Tim Mason, stated: “These results show strong gold assays consistent with nearby holes. This hole was drilled at larger diameter as part of the first metallurgical testwork program for the area.” Shares are trading 13.89 per cent higher at $0.205 at noon.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1751.82 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.6 per cent lower at US$88.15 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.52 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.93 US cents.

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