Jobless rate steady at 3.9%, Tech & property jump, Bubs inks deal with Walmart: ASX up 0.5% at noon

Australian shares have advanced from the two-day slump of this holiday-shortened week led by property and information tech stocks.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.5 per cent or 30 points higher at 6,631.

The ASX 200 initially jumped 1 per cent in the morning supported by US futures, following a positive lead from Wall Street. Investors bought back into equities after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points. 

Investors then digested the nation’s jobless rate remaining steady at 3.9 per cent last month with a better-than-expected 60,600 jobs added to the economy. Economists expected 25,000 jobs and for the jobless rate to come in at 3.8 per cent. The participation rate rose to 66.7 per cent from 66.4 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The labour force figures are a key data point for the Reserve Bank of Australia and its case to raise interest rates.

Six out of the eleven sectors are rallying, with communication services, materials, consumer discretionary and energy rebounding to near 1.5 per cent. Utilities, healthcare, consumer staples, industrials and financials lead the decline by up to 0.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Appen (ASX:APX), trading 11.8 per cent higher at $5.70, followed by Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Homeco Daily Needs (ASX:HDN).

The worst-performer is Link Administration Holdings (ASX:LNK), trading 10.2 per cent lower at $3.36 after the ACCC raised concerns about its takeover, followed by HUB24 (ASX:HUB) and Inghams Group (ASX:ING).

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) is up 0.6 per cent to $165.04, while the other major banks are trading lower, led by Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), down 1.6 per cent to $19.38.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has added 1.5 per cent to $112.59, while Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) is trading 0.9 per cent higher at $20.06.

Company news

Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB) has inked a deal with Walmart to supply six Bubs infant formula products and two Aussie Bubs toddler formula products. These are set to be available in 800 Walmart stores in America. Shares are trading 10.6 per cent higher at 62.5 cents.

The Reject Shop (ASX:TRS) has appointed Phillip Bishop as its new chief executive officer. Mr Bishop will start in July. Shares are trading 20 per cent higher at $3.42.

Dreadnought Resources (ASX:DRE) has started drilling its rare earth ironstones at its Mangaroon project in Western Australia. Shares are trading 19 per cent higher at 4.4 cents.

Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) has announced that its recent gold intersections are slated to contribute to an upgrade of its existing estimated one million ounces in sulphide. Shares are trading 8.3 per cent higher at 26 cents.

TerraCom (ASX:TER) has inked an offtake deal with its long-term Japanese trading partner for the delivery of up to 1.25 million tonnes of coal, starting from August this year. Shares are trading 5.5 per cent higher at 76.5 cents.

BHP (ASX:BHP) will keep its New South Wales Energy Coal project in its portfolio, scrapping its plans to sell the project, and will continue to operate it until 2030. Shares are trading 0.5 per cent higher at $44.11.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,830.61 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.5 per cent lower at US$130.85 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.9 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.17 US cents.