RBA says Omicron won’t derail the recovery, Magellan rebounds: ASX up 0.2% at noon

The Australian sharemarket is lifting higher this morning despite a surge in Covid-19 cases around the globe. Across the sectors, 6 out of 11 are moving higher. Healthcare, energy, and utilities are lifting the index, while technology is the worst performer. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.2 per cent or 15.2 points higher at 7307.40. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 25 points.

Asset manager Magellan (ASX:MFG) is recovering from Monday’s near 33 per cent wipeout, rising 5.6 per cent. Major banks are also lifting, led by NAB (ASX:NAB) up 0.7 per cent.

Health care giants are rising, with CSL (ASX:CSL) up 2.6 per cent, Nanosonics ASX:NAN up 5.4 per cent and Australian Clinical Labs (ASX:ACL) up 4.4 per cent after upgrading its earnings forecast.

Energy stocks have also recovered from yesterday’s fall, with Santos (ASX:STO) up 1.6 per cent and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) up 1.2 per cent. Heavyweight miners are edging higher as iron ore prices rise, led by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) up 0.8 per cent. 

Tech stocks are weighing, with buy now pay later giant Afterpay (ASX:APT) down 2.9 per cent.

Local economic news

The RBA released its minutes from the December 7 meeting. The Board said that they “will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3 per cent target range”.

A requirement is for the “labour market to be tight enough to generate wages growth” and “is likely to take some time” and the “Board is prepared to be patient”.

As for Omicron, the Board recognized that it “was a new source of uncertainty, but it was not expected to derail the recovery”.

Company news

Join us for Stocks of the Hour here covering AMP (ASX:AMP), Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG), and Australian Clinical Labs (ASX:ACL).

Australian Clinical Labs (ASX:ACL) has upgraded its earnings and revenue forecast for the first half of FY22, underpinned by strong demand for Covid-19 testing.

Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) has inked a $650 million five year deal with the NRL to broadcast its 2023 to 2027 seasons. Nine will pay $115 million cash a year, with a further $15 million in contra and other services.

Qube’s (ASX:QUB) chief financial officer Paul Lewis will step down next year for personal reasons after more than 15 years with the business.

Asset manager AMP (ASX:AMP) says it will delist from the New Zealand Stock Exchange by 4 February 2022.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Health Care, up 2.1 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 0.6 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG), trading 5.6 per cent higher at $20.81. It is followed by shares in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) and Soul Pattinson (WH) (ASX:SOL).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 8.5 per cent lower at $2.52. It is followed by shares in Novonix (ASX:NVX) and Life360 Inc. (ASX:360).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1791.52 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.2 per cent higher at US$123.20 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.60 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.03 US cents.