Market wrap: ASX manages a heroic flat day after losing heavily at the open

Energy stocks ride to the rescue

The main heroes in the comeback were rebounding energy and mining stocks which overcame a weak lead because of rising oil prices.

Concerns that Russia’s ban on fuel exports could pressure global supply led to Brent futures rising 0.6% to $US93.87 a barrel and a 0.8% rise in West Texas Intermediate crude futures to $US90.34.

Oil had been on track for a small weekly drop after gaining more than 10% over the previous three weeks as volatility resulted from worries about tight global supply due to production cuts.

Some of the local market beneficiaries from the rising oil price included shares in Santos (ASX: STO), which rose 0.7% to $7.64.

Shares in Woodside Energy (ASX: WDS) also jumped 0.6% to $36.25 and Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) shares added 0.3 % to $1.625.

Takeover target Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) saw its shares rally 1.8% to $8.86 after large shareholder AustralianSuper revealed it had increased its stake, making a higher offer from suitor Brookfield and EIG Partners likely if it wants to snap up the company.

AustralianSuper spent about $150 million upping its stake by 1% to 13.7%.

The other big news in the energy sector was that labour unions and Chevron jave finally agreed to a deal, which brought to an end two weeks of work stoppages that threatened to disrupt LNG exports from Western Australia.

Of the 11 sectors on the ASX 200, five retreated with technology and property leading the losses due to fears that high-interest rates would remain for many months to come.
Mining rallies too

Mainly in the positive were the big miners after iron ore prices in Singapore jumped almost 2%, although Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) went against the tide with a 1.1% share price fall to $114.57, potentially due to continuing negotiations over the destruction of an ancient rock shelter.

Rio Tinto said it was working with traditional owners in WA’s Pilbara region after a blast at one of its operations caused some damage to an ancient rock shelter.

The incident happened near the Nammuldi iron ore mine, about 60 kilometres north-west of Tom Price.

BHP shares (ASX: BHP) headed in the other direction, up 0.5% to $44.34 while Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) shares added 1.5% to $20.81.

One of the surprise top performers was fruit and vegetable processor Costa Group (ASX: CGC), with shares rallying by 6.6% to $3.09 after it accepted a $3.20 cash-per-share takeover offer by US buyout company Paine Schwartz Partners.

Shareholders in media giant News Corp (ASX: NWS) also rallied by 2.2% to $32.36 after an announcement that Rupert Murdoch will step aside as chairman.

There were some other stock specific share price moves with shares in pathology group Australian Clinical Labs (ASX: ACL) up 0.7% to $2.81 despite the competition watchdog asking for more information about its planned merger with Healius.

Healius (ASX: HLS) shares closed steady at $2.37.

Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE) enjoyed a strong day with shares up 2.6% to $12.05 after positive broking reports based on Chinese reports of a possible resolution to the Chinese tariffs on Australian wine.

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