Oil prices fell as US crude stockpiles increased significantly by 10.2 million barrels, the largest rise since February, and demand for gasoline remained low, pushing gasoline futures to their lowest level since December 2022. Despite these factors, the market remained watchful of geopolitical risks in Israel and Gaza, and oil also faced pressure from a stronger dollar and signs of demand destruction in some regions, while the US strengthened restrictions on Russian crude in response to price cap violations.
Additionally, there were concerns that the Israel-Hamas conflict could escalate, potentially disrupting crude oil flows in the region, while Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister expressed a commitment to proactively support the oil market.
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.37 per cent lower at 7,064.80.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 43 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Healthcare, up 0.4 per cent. The worst-performing sector is REITs, down 1.6 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is Allkem (ASX:AKE), trading 2.85 per cent higher at $11.92. It is followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and IGO (ASX:IGO).
The worst-performing large cap is Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN), trading 3.94 per cent lower at $3.90. It is followed by shares in Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) and BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL).
LBT Innovations (ASX:LBT) announced a $4.5m partially underwritten renounceable Entitlement Offer on a 4 for 1 basis. In response, LBT Chair, Ms Rebecca Wilson said, “Pleasingly we have secured underwriting commitments, including participation from eligible Board members, that demonstrates confidence in our commercial strategy and provides comfort to shareholders about the rights issue outcome.” Shares are trading flat at 1 cent.
Selfwealth (ASX:SWF) notes media speculation regarding a potential transaction with Stake. In recent weeks Selfwealth received a confidential, non-binding, indicative proposal from Stake to acquire the Company by way of scheme of arrangement at a cash price of 17.5c a share. After careful assessment, the Board of Selfwealth formed the view that Stake’s incomplete and conditional proposal did not offer appropriate value to Selfwealth shareholders. Shares are trading 25 per cent higher at 17.5 cents.
Lucapa Diamond Co (ASX:LOM) announced the results of the recent exceptional stone tender which attracted US$15.7 million (A$24.5 million) for seven Lulo diamonds. Lucapa CEO and Managing Director Nick Selby commented, “this tender demonstrates that the weakness being experienced currently in the smaller goods which go into the mainstream diamond jewellery market doesn’t seem to have translated into the large, high-quality stones, where demand and prices remain robust.”Shares are trading 3.03 per cent higher at 3.4 cents.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1884.00 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.7 per cent higher at US$118.20 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.36 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 63.22 US cents.