Lending Association

Afternoon update:ASX up 0.7% as Healthcare leads

The S&P/ASX 200 index is currently up by 0.7% by mid-afternoon, with healthcare stocks leading the charge, gaining 1.28%.

On Wall Street, stocks are seeing slight gains, with the S&P 500 up by 0.2% and the Nasdaq 100 by 0.3%.

In commodities, Brent crude has surpassed $80 per barrel, while iron ore and gold prices are declining. The materials sector is defying this trend with a 0.7% gain.

Looking ahead, central bank meetings, including the Bank of Japan’s today and the Bank of Canada’s on Thursday, are in focus for potential policy changes. Investors are particularly interested in any adjustments to yield curve control by the Bank of Japan and its stance on wage settlements, impacting interest rates.

In stock news, Karoon Energy is down by 3%, revising down its Brazil production guidance for 2024. Coronado Global Resources is up 4.3% on higher coal production, while IDP Education shares are dropping by 6.8% due to changes in Canada’s international student intake policies. Viva Energy is down 0.3% despite challenges in regional refining margins and elevated crude premia, booking a gross refinery margin of $US8.8 per barrel for the December quarter.