REITS, healthcare rally as iron ore miners retreat: ASX closes 0.3% higher

Australian shares closed higher for the second time this week despite investors’ angst growing around the prospect of a slowdown in economic growth. Local investors sought refuge in the treasuries market and defensive stocks ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s House testimony while resource stocks bucked the trend as fears crept in that a recession will slow demand for raw materials.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent or 20 points higher at 6,528.

The rally was led by real estate up 2.7 per cent, extending its five-day advance to 4 per cent. Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIF) rose 4.2 per cent to $2.97, Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) gained 4.9 per cent to $18.09 and Lifestyle Communities (ASX:LIC) closed 4.1 per cent higher to $12.68.

The other sectors in the winners corner included healthcare, up 2 per cent, consumer staples rose 1.6 per cent and information technology.

Meanwhile, energy fell 2.1 per cent, weighed down by Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) by 2.6 per cent to $31.14 and materials fell by 1.5 per cent. The sector is now down 7.4 per cent over the past five days. On the day, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) fell 2.1 per cent to $17.25, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) lost 1.8 per cent to $102.63 and BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 1.3 per cent lower to $40.50.

The best-performing stock in the ASX 200 was Blackmores (ASX:BKL), closing 5.4 per cent higher at $68.84 and the worst-performing stock was Lake Resources (ASX:LKE), closing 16.7 per cent lower at 70 cents while the biggest contributor to the index was CSL (ASX:CSL), added 2.2 per cent to $267.50.

Terracom (ASX:TER) was a clear winner out of the coal miners, adding 1.7 per cent to 58.5 cents. Bowen Coking Coal (ASX:BCB) gave back 3.9 per cent to 24.5 per cent after its announcement in response to the Qld state government new coal royalties and Coronado Global Resources (ASX:CRN) closed 1.2 per cent lower to $1.62.

The major banks rallied, led by ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) added 1.1 per cent to $22.07 while Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) rose 0.2 per cent to $89.75.

Local economic news

Total household wealth increased 1.2 per cent  in the March quarter, reaching a record $14.9 trillion, while wealth per capita rose to a record high of $574,807, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Company news

After Bubs (ASX:BUB) sent two plane loads of its infant formula to America under an Operation Fly Formula Mission earlier this month, the US government has ordered another two plane loads to provide relief for American families. Shares closed 1.6 per cent higher to 63 cents.

Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has selected MLG Oz (ASX:MLG) as its preferred service provider to service its Mungari operation in Western Australia for an initial term of 2 years, with a provision for a further 1-year extension at Evolution’s discretion. Shares in MLG Oz (ASX:MLG) closed 10.8 per cent higher to 46 cents and Evolution Mining (ASX:ENV) closed 1.5 per cent lower to $3.39.

Beston Global Food Company (ASX:BFC) has inked a memorandum of understanding with KCG Corporation in Thailand. KCG is Thailand’s number one cheese and butter company with a large distribution channel in the hospitality industry. Shares closed 38.6 per cent higher to 7.9 cents.

ArchTIS (ASX:AR9) has been awarded a $7 million contract with the Australian Department of Defence. This sale continues the company’s’ strong growth trend in the Defence and National Security market and follows the recent OneDefence win with KPMG to deliver the overall data security strategy for Defence. This is the largest sale in the company’s history and they are set to receive $3.44 million in recurring revenue over a two-year period and $3.59 million for services, support and hardware. Shares closed 60 per cent higher to 16 cents.

PayGroup (ASX:PYG) has entered into a takeover deal with Deel Australia, a compliance and payroll platform. Deel is set to buy PayGroup by way of a scheme of arrangement for a cash consideration of $1.00 per PayGroup share, a 177 per cent premium to Wednesday’s closing price. Shares closed 157 per cent higher to 94 cents. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 36 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 4 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 7 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 33 points when the market next opens.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.1 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.8 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 1.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,833.84 an ounce.
Iron ore is 5.6 per cent lower at US$109.40 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.9 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.51 lower at US$104.68 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.99 US cents.