Aus shares post third week of gains: ASX closes 0.9% higher as materials rally

The Australian sharemarket closed higher for a third straight week after advancing on Friday’s session, which offset yesterday’s fall. At the closing bell, the ASX 200 was 0.9 per cent or 63 points higher at 7,239. Over the week, it closed 0.8 per cent or 56 points higher.

Materials led the pack up 2.6 per cent, followed by technology then industrials, while consumer discretionary was the only sector to close lower, down 0.1 per cent.

The top performer in the ASX 200 was Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) up over 8 per cent to $7.84 as iron ore miners surged. This was followed by Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), up 7.5 per cent to $2.42 as lithium stocks extended their rebound, and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR), up over 7 per cent to $1.36.

Other lithium miners like Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) added 5.9 per cent to $126 and Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) closed nearly 8 per cent higher at $1.43.

Iron ore giants like Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) rose over 4 per cent to $21.45, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) added 2.6 per cent to $115.97 and BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 2.3 per cent to $46.66.

Gold stocks were led by Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), up 3 per cent to $3.78, while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Northern Star (ASX:NST) both rose 1.4 per cent.

Healius (ASX:HLS) was the worst performer in the ASX 200, down 8.7 per cent to $3.80 after reporting “difficult market conditions” in the second half of the financial year. This was followed by Domino Pizza (ASX:DMP), down 3.7 per cent to $66.51, and Ansell (ASX:ANN), down 3.6 per cent to $25.94 after Credit Suisse downgraded its rating.

Tech stocks were led by WiseTech (ASX:WTC), up 4.9 per cent to $42.87, and Block (ASX:SQ2), up 4.5 per cent to $119.73.

Meanwhile, major banks were mixed. Macquarie (ASX:MQG) led, up 0.4 per cent to $184.04, with Westpac (ASX:WBC) and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) both a touch higher, while Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) and NAB (ASX:NAB) edged lower.

Local economic news

The value of new housing loan commitments fell a seasonally-adjusted 6.4 per cent to $31.0 billion in April following a rise of 2.1 per cent in the previous month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Company news

PeopleIn (ASX:PPE) is set to acquire workforce solutions business FIP (Food Industry People) for $45 million. Shares closed 6.3 per cent higher at $3.39.

Audiology network Audeara (ASX:AUA) has signed a reseller agreement with Specsavers. Shares closed 8.4 per cent higher at $0.090.

Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL) announced positive results from its phase 2 clinical trial, investigating treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. Shares closed 8 per cent higher at 40 cents.

FireFinch (ASX:FFX) is on track with its demerger as Leo Lithium prepares to debut on the ASX. This comes after raising $100 million for Leo Lithium which Firefinch has a $20 million stake in. Shares closed 63.7 per cent lower at 34 cents as a result of the demerger.

Austco Healthcare (ASX:AHC) announced the appointment of Andrew Hall to the newly created role of chief commercial officer Australia, to start in July. Shares last traded at $0.096.

CapVest withdrew its takeover bid for Virtus Health (ASX:VRT) since BGH Capital first increased its takeover offer, becoming the preferred bidder. Shares closed flat at $8.15.

Fintech company 8common (ASX:8CO) said increased travel and activity levels are anticipated to deliver record SaaS revenue in the fourth quarter of financial year 2022 of $820,000 to $830,000. Shares closed over 14 per cent higher at 10 cents.

Lycaon Resources (ASX:LYN) is set to acquire the Bow River and Salt Lick nickel copper sulphide projects in the East Kimberley region of WA. Shares closed 15.9 per cent higher at 51 cents. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 38 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 3 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 3 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 70 points when the market next opens.

Asian markets

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is closed due to the Dragon Boat Festival.
Japan’s Nikkei has gained 1.2 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite is also closed for the Dragon Boat Festival.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 0.1 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.4 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 1.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1868.21 an ounce.
Iron ore is 5.2 per cent higher at US$143.65 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.8 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.53 lower at US$116.34 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.55 US cents.