The Reserve Bank of Australia has decided to keep interest rates unchanged at 3.6 per cent, ending a cycle of ten consecutive rate increases. The RBA stated that while it may need to tighten rates further, it wants to observe the effects of prior rate increases on the economy before taking any action. The decision caused the market to swing around 30 points higher from the red to the black.
Overall, at the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.18 per cent higher at 7,236.
Shares increased for the seventh consecutive day due to gains in coal and gold miners’ stocks. However, iron ore and lithium miners’ shares decreased due to softness in commodity prices.
Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) was the top performer of the day, rising 5.7 per cent following OPEC+’s plan to cut oil production. Meanwhile, Suncorp (ASX:SUN) lost 0.7 per cent due to uncertainty surrounding its takeover by ANZ Group (ASX:ANZ), and Seek (ASX:SEK) fell 0.9 per cent after warning on revenues in financial year 2023.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 29 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 4.75 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 32 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 12 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Energy, up 1.31 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Materials, down 0.89 per cent.
The best-performing large cap was Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), closing 5.66 per cent higher at $7.28. It was followed by shares in New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).
The worst-performing large cap was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), closing 2.89 per cent lower at $3.69. It was followed by shares in Allkem (ASX:AKE) and BHP Group (ASX:BHP).
Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.31 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.86 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.27 per cent.
Li-S Energy (ASX:LIS) has achieved a 45 per cent increase in volumetric energy density with their new 20- layer semi-solid state lithium sulphur battery. The new battery is built using a low-flammability electrolyte, which the Company believes makes them safer than traditional sulphur batteries. In response, CEO, Dr. Lee Finniear commented, “This outcome demonstrates the strength of our progress over the last year. In the coming months we look forward to commencing the production of commercial samples for our partner.” Shares closed 27.5 per cent higher at 32.5 cents.
Besra Gold (ASX:BEZ) has announced that the ‘Initial Payment’ of US$2m from Quantum Metal Recovery has been received. In the next step, Besra is entitled to a further US$3m ‘Initial Payment’ upon execution of the ‘Facility Agreement’ expected in late April of 2023. Shares closed 40 per cent higher at 17.5 cents.
Matsa Resources (ASX:MAT) has announced positive lepidolite processing test results from the samples tested in Western Thailand. The results show excellent lithium recoveries at above 95 per cent. In response, Executive Chairman Mr Paul Poli commented: “It is really pleasing to have samples successfully processed using conventional techniques to extract lithium and are capable of producing battery grade lithium carbonate.” Shares closed 2.5 per cent higher at 4.1 cents.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,997.00 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.8 per cent lower at US$122.40 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 3.6 per cent fall.
Light crude is trading $0.32 higher at US$80.74 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.57 US cents.