The Australian sharemarket is off to a positive start this week with gains from miners, banks, energy stocks helping the market lift. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.7 per cent or 51.2 points higher at 7466.7. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 53 points.
All sectors are in the green, except technology and industrials. Technology is the worst performer, down 0.7 per cent as it followed the Nasdaq lower, while industrials is down 0.2 per cent. All other sectors are higher with energy adding the most points, up 1.8 per cent, followed by utilities, up 1.2 per cent, then materials and consumer staples, both up 0.9 per cent. The best-performing stock is Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), trading 9.1 per cent higher following its announcement that it will restart operations at the Wodgina Lithium Mine. The worst-performing stock is Perpetual (ASX:PPT), trading 6.2 per cent lower.
Energy stocks are helping the ASX lift, led by Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) up 2.6 per cent, Santos (ASX:STO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH both up 2.1 per cent and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) up 3.3 per cent. On the other hand, electric services company Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) is up 2.9 per cent following its announcement to sell a 10 per cent stake in Australia Pacific LNG to EIG for $2.12 billion. Keep an eye on our website for the full story this afternoon. Heavyweight miners are pushing forward, led by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), up 1.5 per cent as iron ore prices lift.
Major banks are also higher, led by Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) up 0.8 per cent. Amongst the gains this morning, commercial property giant Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) is up 4.4 per cent and Eagers Automotive (ASX:APE) is up 3.2 per cent.
In headlines, electricity operator AusNet (ASX:AST) is down 0.2 per cent after granting due diligence to APA Group (ASX:APA), which is trading 0.7 per cent higher. Telecom giant Telstra (ASX:TLS) is trading 2.4 per cent higher after announcing it will acquire Digicel Pacific in partnership with the Australian Government.
Electricity operator AusNet (ASX:AST) has agreed to grant APA Group (ASX:APA) due diligence after ongoing talks to acquire the company, while Brookfield’s offer to AusNet still remains on the cards.
Telecom giant Telstra (ASX:TLS) has partnered with the Australian Government to acquire the Digicel business in the South Pacific for US$1.6 billion ($2.1 billion), plus up to an additional US$250 million subject to business performance over the next three years.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Energy, up 1.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 0.7 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), trading 9.1 per cent higher at $42.97. It is followed by shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Perpetual (ASX:PPT), trading 6.2 per cent lower at $38.43. It is followed by shares in Kogan.com (ASX:KGN) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1797.02 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.2 per cent higher at US$119.52 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.98 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.75 US cents.
Please join us for our next online investor event tomorrow (Tuesday 26 October) with six companies presenting. From lithium explorers to marketing service providers. Make your way to fnn.com.au to reserve your free online spot.