ASX rallies, AusNet soars 9.8% on rival bid: Aus shares close 0.4% higher

The Australian sharemarket recovered from its rough start to the week and remained in positive territory throughout the afternoon. At the closing bell the ASX lifted 0.4 per cent or 26 points to 7,274.

All sectors finished in the black except financials, which closed 0.4 per cent lower. Energy added 1.5 per cent as the best performer while technology was behind, adding 1.2 per cent. Materials, health care and consumer discretionary also made gains while utilities rebounded in the afternoon session thanks to AusNet (ASX:AST)

Heavyweight miners BHP, Rio and Fortescue eased back gains this afternoon, but remained in the black despite iron ore prices pointing to a 6.9 per cent fall. BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.6 per cent higher and payed a final dividend to its shareholders, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.2 per cent higher and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 0.1 per cent higher.

Energy giant Woodside Petroleum helped lift the ASX, closing 1.8 per cent higher, while Santos (ASX:STO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) closed 0.6 and 1.3 per cent higher. Software company WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) closed 5 per cent higher. 

In company news, APA Group (ASX:APA) closed 4.7 per cent lower as the worst-performing stock, after proposing a take-over bid to AusNet, who opened their books to Brookfield yesterday. Powergrid owner AusNet (ASX:AST) said it will not end its eight-week negotiations with Brookfield but will consider APA’s revised proposal. AusNet (ASX:AST) closed 9.8 per cent higher as the best-performing stock. 

Local economic news

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence was virtually unchanged at 103.3, up 0.2 points in mid-September. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the State’s re-opening plan on Sunday afternoon but the full impact on confidence won’t be felt until next weekend. Consumer Confidence remains well below the 2021 weekly average of 108.6 but is now 9.8 points higher than the same week a year ago, September 19/20, 2020 (93.5).

Consumer Confidence this week was down slightly in both NSW and Victoria, although still in positive territory in both states. Consumer Confidence increased in both Queensland and South Australia and was virtually unchanged, and higher than anywhere else, in Western Australia at well over 110.

Driving this week’s increase was improving confidence about the year ahead with more people expecting to be better off financially this time next year and positive views about the Australian economy’s performance over the next year and next five years improving on a week ago.

Today the RBA meeting minutes was released here.

Company news

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here. 

Energy infrastructure business APA (ASX:APA) have launched a non-binding offer to AusNet a day after they opened their books to Brookfield who proposed a $9.6 billion take-over bid.

Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) welcomes David Watts as chief risk officer from IAG and promoted Chris Screen as group executive for business banking.

Cimic’s (ASX:CIM) subsidiary CPB Contractors have been selected to work with the Australian Rail Track Corporation for the delivery of Inland Rail’s southern civil works program.

Health insurer nib (ASX: NHF) and Honeysuckle Health have been given authorisation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) to form and operate a health services buying group.

Futures 

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 179 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 19 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 53 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 26 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Energy, up 1.5 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 0.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was AusNet Services (ASX:AST), closing 9.8 per cent higher at $2.59. It was followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and Champion Iron (ASX:CIA).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was APA Group (ASX:APA), closing 4.7 per cent lower at $8.46. It was followed by shares in Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC) and Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 2.2 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite is closed due to the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1762.83 an ounce.
Iron ore is 8.8 per cent lower at US$92.98 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 6.9 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.87 higher at US$71.01 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.74 US cents.