Energy stocks rise, Charter Hall gains 5.6%: ASX closes 0.4% higher

The Australian sharemarket remained in positive territory in the afternoon session as real estate, miners and energy stocks dominated. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.4 per cent or 26 points higher at 7,379.

Across the sectors, 10 out of 11 closed in the green. Real estate investment trusts was the best performer, up 1.8 per cent, followed by energy and materials, both up 1.7 per cent. Meanwhile, financials fell 0.3 per cent as the only sector in the red. 

Real estate investment trusts were led by Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) closing 5.6 per cent higher after upgrading financial year 2022 earnings guidance. Meanwhile, Dexus (ASX:DXS) climbed 3 per cent. 

Energy stocks rose, with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) up 1.5 per cent and Santos (ASX:STO) up 2.3 per cent higher following the appointment of a new chief financial officer. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) added 3.4 per cent and Ampol (ASX:ALD) climbed 2.3 per cent. 

Iron ore giants lifted, with BHP (ASX:BHP) up 2.4 per cent despite Wyloo Metals launching a third bid for Noront Resources. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) was up 1.7 per cent and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) was up 2.3 per cent. Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) closed 4.6 per cent higher, while gold miner St Barbara (ASX:SBM) closed 5.7 per cent higher. 

In headlines today, Ramsay Healthcare (ASX:RHC) fell 1 per cent after announcing the acquisition of Elysium Healthcare for $1.4 billion.

Local economic news

National Skills Commission released the job vacancies report for November. In seasonally adjusted terms, job advertisements increased 0.6 per cent (or 1,600 ads) in November 2021 to stand at 252,300. This represents a slowing in recruitment activity growth following the recovery in job advertisement levels observed over the pervious two months, as all jurisdictions eased restrictions related to the Covid-19 delta outbreak. Nationally, job advertisement levels remain commensurate with a 13-year high.

The level of recruitment activity nationally remains significantly elevated compared to pre-Covid-19 levels, up by 50.1 per cent (or 84,200 job advertisements).

Company news

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Ramsay Healthcare (ASX:RHC) has inked a deal to buy UK-based mental healthcare provider Elysium Healthcare for $1.4 billion from private equity firm BC Partners.

Explosives systems company Orica (ASX:ORI) has unveiled its plans to sell its Minova business to a European based investment firm, Aurelius Group for $180 million.

Centuria Office REIT (ASX:COF) has upgraded its financial year 2022 guidance after one of its clients renewed its lease for another three years in Queensland. The renewal, alongside other agreed leases, increased the building’s occupancy to 100 per cent.

Korean steelmaker Posco International (PIC) has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Senex Energy (ASX:SXY).

Energy giant Santos (ASX:STO) has appointed Anthea McKinnell as chief financial officer (CFO) from January 1, replacing current CFO Anthony Neilson.

Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) has upgraded its earnings guidance for 2022 following the company’s 6-month valuation process. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 119 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 17 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 61 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 35 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts, up 1.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 0.3 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL), closing 6.2 per cent higher at $16.95. It was followed by shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD), closing 4 per cent lower at $11.16. It was followed by shares in Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) and NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.8 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.1 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1786.69 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.8 per cent lower at US$102.60 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 5.7 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.03 higher at US$72.51 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.72 US cents.