Energy stocks rally, banks tumble: ASX closes 0.4% higher

The Australian sharemarket finished higher despite easing back its gains in the afternoon session. All sectors closed higher, except financials, down 2.9 per cent as major banks weighed. Energy led the pack, up 4.2 per cent, followed by utilities, technology, materials and industrials.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.4 per cent or 25 points higher at 7,121.

The top performer in the ASX 200 was Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX), which rallied 16.2 per cent to $8.25 after IFM Global Infrastructure Fund obtained a 15 per cent stake in the toll road group. This was followed by Boral (ASX:BLD), up 15 per cent to $3.29 after appointing Vik Bansal as its new CEO and managing director, and Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN), up 12.8 per cent to 80 cents with the Biden administration pushing lawmakers to support a $US4.3 billion ($5.97 billion) plan to buy enriched uranium directly from domestic producers to wean the country off Russian imports. 

Other uranium stocks rose. Boss Energy (ASX:BOE) jumped 11.4 per cent to $2.44, Deep Yellow (ASX:DYL) added 9.7 per cent to 79 cents and Peninsula Energy (ASX:PEN) soared 20 per cent to 21 cents.

The three worst performers in the ASX 200 were banks, following the Reserve Bank’s decision to lift interest rates by another 50 basis points yesterday. Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) tumbled 7.2 per cent to $9.81, Westpac (ASX:WBC) dropped 6.1 per cent to $21.98 and Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) fell 4.4 per cent to $97.47. 

NAB (ASX:NAB) also dropped 4 per cent to $28.91 and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) closed 2.3 per cent lower at $23.89.

Meanwhile, energy stocks benefited from oil prices reaching a three-month high. Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) rose 5.6 per cent to $34.74, Santos (ASX:STO) added 3.4 per cent to $8.76 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closed 1.6 per cent higher at $1.87.

Heavyweight miners performed well. BHP (ASX:BHP) rose 2.3 per cent to $47.37, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) added 2.2 per cent to $21.63 and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 2 per cent higher at $118.92. 

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Total jobs in Australia rose 0.6 per cent to 15 million during the March quarter, with the proportion of vacant jobs up 2.8 per cent.

Filled jobs rose 0.4 per cent to 14.6 million, secondary jobs fell 0.4 per cent to 951,900, multiple job holders fell 1.3 per cent to 857,900 and hours worked declined 0.9 per cent.

IPO

Southern Palladium (ASX:SPD) made its debut on the ASX today after the company completed a $19 million initial public offering at 50 cents per share. Shares closed flat at $64 cents.

Company news

The NSW government renewed the managed service agreement with AD1’s (ASX:AD1) recruitment software ApplyDirect for another two years. Shares closed flat at $0.014.

Higher metal prices and improved metal volumes led Sims (ASX:SGM) to provide FY22 guidance that was higher than its FY21 result. Shares closed 0.8 per cent higher at $18.27.

Change Financial (ASX:CCA) signed payments as a service contracts with three credit unions and New Zealand’s largest building society via its Vertexon platform. Shares closed 8.7 per cent higher at $0.075.

Energy infrastructure business APA Group (ASX:APA) raised $1 billion of senior unsecured debt via a syndicated loan facility. Shares closed 4.2 per cent higher at $11.67.

Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU) officially acquired an 80 per cent stake in the Nevada lithium project in the US. Shares closed 1.3 per cent higher at $0.080.

Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) posted net outflows of around $209 million in May, which left FUM at $19.6 million versus the estimated $19.8 million. Shares closed 1.8 per cent higher at $1.76.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 70 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 13 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 51 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 4.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 2.9 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX), closing 16.2 per cent higher at $8.25. It was followed by shares in Boral (ASX:BLD) and Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN), closing 7.2 per cent lower at $9.81. It was followed by shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained almost 1 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.9 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.03 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1850.03 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.3 per cent higher at US$147.25 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.0 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.50 higher at US$119.91 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.02 US cents.