ASX up 1.49% at noon as Australian employment grows by 61,500 jobs

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

In November, Australian employment grew by 61,500 jobs, causing the unemployment rate to rise slightly to 3.9% from the previous month's 3.8%. This increase led to a surge in the Australian dollar ($A), reaching a peak of US66.86¢, the highest level since late July. The Reserve Bank is closely monitoring the job market as it seeks to address inflation, with expectations of potential rate cuts in the coming year, especially following recent moves by the US Federal Reserve, making upcoming economic data, including quarterly inflation on January 31, and the Reserve Bank meeting on February 6, critical points of interest in early 2024.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.49 per cent higher at 7,366.10.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 100 points.

Best and worst performers

All sectors are in the black. The best-performing sector is REITs, up 3.58 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains is Consumer Staples, up 0.32 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Allkem (ASX:AKE), trading 10.49 per cent higher at $10.11. It is followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and IGO (ASX:IGO).

The worst-performing large cap is QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE), trading 3.77 per cent lower at $13.91. It is followed by shares in Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) and Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets mostly rose Thursday, tracking Wall Street gains after the U.S. Federal Reserve held rates at 5.25%-5.5% for a third straight time and laid out the timeline for cuts in 2024 and beyond.

The Fed is forecasting three cuts in 2024 alone, assuming a quarter-percentage point reduction, and four in 2025.

Forecasts for the core personal consumption expenditures price index — the Fed’s favored inflation gauge— have also been pared back by the Fed to 2.4% in 2024 and 2.2% in 2025, down from 2.6% and 2.3% respectively in its previous forecasts.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 is up 0.54%, but the Topix slipped 0.14%.

South Korea’s Kospi popped 1.46%, while the small-cap Kosdaq saw a larger gain of 1.69%.

However, futures for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index stood at 16,157, pointing to a weaker open compared with the HSI’s close of 16,228.75.

Company news

Alkane Resources (ASX:ALK) announced they have increased their gold and copper grades by 30% and 28%, respectively, at the Boda Prospect in Central New South Wales. In response, Alkane Managing Director, Nic Earner, said, ““Not only has the definition increased from Inferred to Indicated but the entire resource has increased in both grade and metal endowment. We will be adding to the Indicated resource when Kaiser is updated in Q1 next year.” Shares are trading 5.83 per cent higher at 67.2 cents.

QX Resources Limited (ASX:QXR) is pleased to confirm that brines were successfully intersected in the first hole of a two-hole diamond drill program over the large scale Liberty Lithium brine project in California, USA. QXR Managing Director, Stephen Promnitz, said: “[the] brines have been intersected at multiple depths in favourable geology with the hole producing brines at a good rate. This is a great start and we look forward to updating the market with assays in six weeks.” Shares are trading flat at 2.4 cents.

Buxton Resources (ASX:BUX) have announced high grade copper and Molybdenum mineralisation at its 100% owned Copper Wolf Project. In response, CEO Marty Moloney commented, “Buxton's project generation work continues to add value for our shareholders and we're now focussing on the 100%-owned tenure surrounding the JV where mapping & sampling is underway." Shares are trading 15.79 per cent lower at 16 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2046.10 an ounce.

Iron ore is 1.6 per cent lower at US$135.90 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.5 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 66.82 US cents.

Peter Milios

Peter Milios is a recent graduate from the University of Technology - majoring in Finance and Accounting. Peter is currently working under equity research analyst Di Brookman for Corporate Connect Research.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter?

Would you like to receive our daily news to your inbox?