Australia's inventories increased for the March Qtr: ASX 1.05% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

In the March quarter, Australia's inventories increased by 1.2 per cent compared to the previous quarter, surpassing Bloomberg's predicted 0.3 per cent growth. On the other hand, company profits only rose by 0.3 per cent, falling short of the expected 2 per cent increase.

Iron ore prices surged on Monday as market participants anticipated potential policy measures to boost China's property sector. Futures traded on the Singapore exchange rose by 1.4 per cent to reach $105.30 per tonne by 11:30 am (AEST). The materials sector also experienced a 1.3 per cent increase, with the three major mining companies all recording gains of at least 1.3 per cent. According to Bloomberg, the Chinese government is reportedly developing strategies such as reducing down payments on properties, decreasing agent commissions, and relaxing residential purchase restrictions under the guidance of the State Council.

Overall, at noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.05 per cent higher at 7,220.10.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 79 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, up 1.63 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 0.24 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is IDP Education (ASX:IEL), trading 4.48 per cent higher at $22.725. It is followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Amcor plc (ASX:AMC).

The worst-performing large cap is Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM), trading 2.47 per cent lower at $26.82. It is followed by shares in Xero (ASX:XRO) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets are largely higher after U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law a debt ceiling bill that allowed the U.S. to avert defaulting on its financial obligations over the weekend.
The compromise debt ceiling bill passed the Senate by a 63-36 margin Thursday evening, winning enough support from both parties to overcome the chamber’s 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster. On Wednesday, it moved through the House after about 72 hours, passing 314-117.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose further after leading its global peers for the month of May, gaining 0.97 per cent, while the Topix opened 1.16 per cent higher. The next level to watch for investors will be the 32,644 mark which would breach its highest since July 1990.

South Korea Kospi inched up 0.44 per cent, but the Kosdaq was down marginally.

Oil futures also surged as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) kingpin Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut oil production by another million barrels per day. Prices of Brent crude were 2.35 per cent up at $77.94, while West Texas Intermediates was up 2.43 per cent at $72.48.

Company news

Resources & Energy Group (ASX:REZ) announced that their opening drilling campaign has confirmed nickel sulphides at their Springfield Nickel Prospect in WA. MD and CEO, J. Daniel Moore commented, “[the 100 per cent-owned package we have today has] opened the way to modern approaches for exploration and the sorts of drill hits we are now enjoying.” Shares are trading 158 per cent higher at 3.1 cents.

WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) has released similar news, announcing that their 2023 drilling program has recorded the highest grade of niobium intersection to date at their West Arunta Project in WA. MD, Paul Savich, commented: ““These latest assay results now demonstrate that Luni has a large and extremely high-grade niobium footprint which we are working to extend further.” Shares are trading 30.5 per cent higher at $6.12.

ImpediMed (ASX:IPD) announces its first published medical policy from a Blue Cross Blue Shield Health plan covering L-Dex. MD and CEO Richard Valencia said, “we continue to see the response and action by payers accelerate on an almost daily basis and a new BCBS policy will no doubt further accelerate payor momentum.” Shares are trading 10.7 per cent higher at 15.5 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1962.70 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2.08 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.05 US cents.

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