The Australian dollar rose to a three-week high of US64.10c after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s statements were seen as suggesting that interest rates had reached their peak, boosting risk asset demand. Despite the Fed leaving rates unchanged, investors interpreted Powell’s comments as a signal of a balanced policy outlook, leading to doubts about future rate hikes and a decrease in US Treasury bond yields.
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.25 per cent higher at 6,923.50.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 93 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 3.29 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Utilities, down 2.95 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is EBOS Group (ASX:EBO), trading 4.68 per cent higher at $33.76. It is followed by shares in REA Group (ASX:REA) and Xero (ASX:XRO).
The worst-performing large cap is Origin Energy (ASX:ORG), trading 5.73 per cent lower at $8.55. It is followed by shares in Amcor plc (ASX:AMC) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).
Asia markets strengthened as investors took comfort from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to leave its benchmark interest rates unchanged, while parsing inflation data from South Korea.
The Fed on Wednesday again held rates steady amid signs of economic growth, while labor market conditions and inflation remain above the central bank’s target. The decision also included an upgrade to the Fed’s general assessment of the economy.
Data from South Korea showed consumer prices accelerated for the third straight month in October, with the CPI rising 3.8% year-on-year. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting an increase of 3.6%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 opened 1.22% higher. The Topix added 0.95%, hitting fresh three week highs.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.62%, while the Kosdaq rose 2.10%.
Futures for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index stood at 17,157, pointing to a higher open compared to the HSI’s close of 17,101.78.
Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) announced that the Brookfield-led consortium of investors and EIG has significantly increased the cash consideration to best and final proposal of $9.53 per share. In response, Origin Chairman Scott Perkins said, “the revised consideration is now above the top end of the Independent Expert’s 30 June 2023 valuation range, allowing all shareholders to receive a certain cash value for their Origin shares.” Shares are trading 1.54 per cent lower at $8.93.
Sunstone Metals (ASX:STM) announced that the Limon gold-silver discovery, within the Bramaderos Project, is continuing to grow, with more mineralisation identified surrounding the Central Shoot and up to 1km away. In response, Sunstone Managing Director Malcolm Norris said, “These results open up more new areas for drilling and enlarge our target zone.” Shares are trading 5.88 per cent lower at 1.6 cents.
Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX:CHM) announced that the 1st patient has been dosed in the Phase 1B CHM 1101 in their brain cancer clinical trial. The Phase 1B clinical trial builds off the recent positive Phase 1A clinical data. Shares are trading flat at 2.9 cents.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1991.90 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.8 per cent higher at US$125.35 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.6 per cent rise.