Oil prices remained stable as Israel had not yet initiated its expected ground offensive in Gaza, while the United States intensified diplomatic efforts to prevent the crisis from escalating regionally. Brent crude traded near $91 per barrel after a significant 6% surge on Friday, with US officials engaging in talks with Middle Eastern nations, including Iran, to manage the conflict. The global crude market remained concerned about potential disruptions in the Middle East, which accounts for a significant portion of global oil supply, and the market continued to tighten.
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.28 per cent lower at 7,031.30.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 21 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Energy, up 0.58 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 2.42 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), trading 4.89 per cent higher at $11.59. It is followed by shares in Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).
The worst-performing large cap is Allkem (ASX:AKE), trading 3.34 per cent lower at $11.30. It is followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and Altium (ASX:ALU).
Asia-Pacific markets started the week on soft footing as investors look ahead to key economic data from China and Japan this week.
Most notably, China will release its third-quarter gross domestic product numbers on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters expect a 4.4% year-on-year expansion, down from 6.3% in the previous quarter.
The People’s Bank of China is also expected to announce the one-year medium-term lending facility rate Monday morning, with analysts estimating it will remain unchanged at 2.50%.
Japan’s September inflation data is expected on Friday, which will come ahead of the country’s central bank’s monetary policy meeting on Oct. 30 and 31.
South Korea’s central bank will also announce its rate decision on Thursday. The Bank of Korea has held rates steady for five meetings in a row at 3.5% since February.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.69%, while the Topix dropped 1.26%.
South Korea’s Kospi index dipped 0.14% at the opening bell.
Futures for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index stood at 17,751, pointing to a weaker open compared with the HSI’s close of 17,813.45.
Tamboran Resources (ASX:TBN) announced that an operational update, in which the A3H well was drilled in record time of less than 18 days. In response, Managing Director and CEO, Joel Riddle, said, “the A3H well was drilled and cemented at approximately 30 per cent lower cost compared to the A2H well, demonstrating how lessons from previously drilled wells and modern drilling technology can result in operational improvements and cost reduction.” Shares are trading flat at 14 cents.
Melodiol Global Health (ASX:ME1, FRA:1X8) announced that their 100%-owned subsidiary, Health House International, has generated a quarterly net profit of +$300,000 from Australian operations. In response, Chief Executive Officer Mr William Lay said, “As previously communicated to market, it’s a strategic priority of Melodiol to generate growth through strategic M&A and the acquisition of HHI marks successful execution in that regard.” Shares are trading 20 per cent higher at 0.6 cents.
Superior Resources (ASX:SPQ) announced that their assay results from the Cockie Creek Prospect has extended porphyry copper and gold mineralisation with higher grades and broader intersection. In response, Superior’s Managing Director, Peter Hwang commented, “The work ahead of us now is to interpret all of the geological information contained in the core together with the assay results as they are received from the labs.” Shares are trading 20 per cent higher at 2.4 cents.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1935.10 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.59 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 63.06 US cents.