ASX climbs 1.3% near 3.5 month high amid Indonesia coal ban lifting Whitehaven higher at noon

The Aussie sharemarket has lifted-off for the first trading day of 2022, defying the SPI futures outlook, as the local bourse starts the year with a broad rally lifted by energy and material stocks. The gains followed Wall St’s stellar performance amid thin volumes after the Dow and S&P 500 hit fresh record highs.

The positive lead from Stateside was helped along by the price of crude ahead of the OPEC+ meeting slated to start in the next 24 hours. The alliance is expected to agree to a 400,000-barrel a day output boost. This has elevated the energy sector to be the best performer this morning.

Santos (ASX:STO) is soaring 3.7 per cent, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) rising 2.6 per cent, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is up 2 per cent after a slow performance to year end.

Materials is second best with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) leading the iron ore crew by 2.1 per cent, BHP (ASX:BHP) up 2 per cent while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is bucking the trend, trading 0.2 per cent lower.

Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) has surged 7 per cent as coal prices climbed amid Indonesia banning coal exports due to its concern on its ability to meet its own power demands.

The major banks are also on the move with National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) leading the pack again with Westpac (ASX:WBC) both adding over 1 per cent followed by Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) both rising in tandem, up 0.9 per cent.

The price of the precious metal fell however the performance is mixed across the gold players. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is rallying again, adding 0.5 per cent, Northern Star (ASX:NST) is down 0.7 per cent while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is flat.

Other than a sea of green across the board, company news is on the lighter side. However, there is an emergence of stellar performers today. Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) is trading 9.4 per cent higher, while Novonix (ASX:NVX) is competing for the crown up, 9 per cent while St Barbara (ASX:SBM) is trading 3.2 per cent lower, followed by Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), and Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS). 

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.3 per cent or 98 points higher at 7,542.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 102 points.

Local economic news

CoreLogic Home Value index rose 1 per cent in December, up 22.1 per cent on the year. It was the slowest rise in prices in 11 months.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 2.8 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains is Utilities, up 0.5 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC), trading 9.4 per cent higher at $11.13. It is followed by shares in Novonix (ASX:NVX) and Imugene (ASX:IMU).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is St Barbara (ASX:SBM), trading 3.2 per cent lower at $1.42. It is followed by shares in Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) and Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1806.45 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.23 per cent higher at US$112.24 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.99 US cents.