The Australian stock market has surged around midday, buoyed by the positive performance on Wall Street, amid growing optimism that the Federal Reserve might have concluded its series of interest rate hikes.
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.1 per cent higher at 6,975.60.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 74 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is REITs, up 2.54 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Consumer Staples, down 0.16 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is Allkem (ASX:AKE), trading 4.47 per cent higher at $9.59. It is followed by shares in IGO (ASX:IGO) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).
The worst-performing large cap is Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE), trading 9.4 per cent lower at $10.85. It is followed by shares in Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).
Asia-Pacific markets rose at the end of the week, with investors awaiting a fresh round of data for more clues on the health of services activity through the region.
Services purchasing managers’ index data from major economies including China, India and Hong Kong are set to be released throughout the day.
Futures for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index stood at 17,455, pointing to a higher open compared with the HSI’s close of 17,230.59.
South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.78% at the open, while the Kosdaq was up 0.14%.
Japan markets were shut for a public holiday.
Findi (ASX:FND) has extended the existing State Bank of India contract until 30 September 2024. Commenting on the SBI contract extension, Findi Chairman Mr Nicholas Smedley said: “The SBI contract extension combined with the improved terms of the new SBI contact announced on 30 October will enable Findi to deliver significant organic growth over coming years. Shares are trading 10 per cent higher at 77 cents.
Immutep (ASX:IMM) has announced new biomarker data from the TACTI-002 Phase II trial evaluating efti. The data shows statistically significant increases of Th1 biomarkers, circulating immune cells, and RNA levels of immune activating genes were observed and linked to improved clinical outcomes. Shares are trading 2.5 per cent higher 30.8 cents.
ImpediMed (ASX:IPD) announced that UnitedHealthcare, the largest US private payor updates the medical policy for BIS. In response, Rick Valencia, Managing Director and CEO of ImpediMed, stated, “this is a very exciting step for patients at risk of lymphoedema. We expect this change to mean that we will have silent coverage from UnitedHealthcare, when the policy goes into effect in January 2024. With this change, UnitedHealthcare will be the second Top 5 national payor to cover SOZO testing for lymphoedema. Cigna was the first.” Shares are trading 8.7 per cent higher at 12.5 cents.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1992.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.0 per cent higher at US$126.60 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.81 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 64.25 US cents.