Resources-led rally lifts ASX higher for 3rd day, closes up by 0.4%

Australian shares lifted for a third straight day, propped up by resources stocks and the power from technology firms.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.4 per cent or 29 points higher at 6,651.

The news followed two input figures closely watched by the respective central banks. As President Biden landed in the Middle East yesterday, America’s inflation rate hit a fresh 40-year high spearheaded by a surge in gas prices. As the shock of the surprisingly hot consumer price index set the day for a flat start, our local jobless rate came in at a 50-year low. A rise of full time jobs added into the economy buoyed the results with the participation rate ticking higher.

Both figures spurred bets by economists on the size of the next rate hike by the US Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

In the instance of the Australian sharemarket, stocks caught a bid aside from property and financials which closed lower.

EML Payments (ASX:EML) topped the leaderboard on the ASX 200 as the winner, soaring 12.3 per cent to $1.05. The payment technology player had a hard week after heavy selling, following the sudden exit of its chief executive officer, Tom Cregan. The abrupt resignation of Cregan and his immediate replacement with Emma Shand saw the share price fall almost 25 per cent on Monday.

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) took last place on the ASX 200, tumbling 10.4 per cent to 60 cents resuming trade. The lithium miner responded to a short-seller report from J Capital, claiming that Lake released incorrect technical information and made inaccurate assertions about the progress with its technology partner, Lilac Solutions.

As concerns about inflation hit the tape, Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) unveiled its downgraded financial year 2023 EBITDA. Due to the increasing price of milk, the dairy company said that the current guidance will be within a range of $160 million to $190 million. This is the third time in a row that the company has cut its forecast and investors didn’t like it. Shares fell 8.5 per cent to $3.25.

Elsewhere, coal miners also took the spotlight on rumours that China might lift the ban on Australian coal while the price of Newcastle coal hovers near record highs. Coronado Global Resources (ASX:CRN) jumped 8.1 per cent to $1.74, Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) climbed 6.5 per cent to a four-year high of $5.74 while double digit gains were seen by Yancoal (ASX:YAL) and Bowen Coking (ASX:BCB), up 10.3 per cent and 14.3 per cent respectively.

Company news

Telstra (ASX:TLS) has completed the acquisition of Digicel Pacific, following receipt of all necessary government and regulatory approvals. Telstra contributed US$270 million of equity to the US$1.6 billion purchase price and the Australian Government, through Export Finance Australia, provided the remaining US$1.33 billion. Shares closed 0.8 per cent higher to $3.93.

Worley (ASX:WOR) has been awarded a contract from SSE Thermal for the development of a proposed low carbon power station located in Peterhead, Scotland. The contract has been awarded to a consortium of Worley, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group and Tecnicas Reunidas. Shares closed 1.2 per cent higher to $13.38.

The Star Entertainment Group’s (ASX:SGR) Queensland casino operations will undergo an external review today. Robert Gotterson and counsel assisting will make general remarks concerning the nature and scope. Shares closed 0.7 per cent higher to $2.94.

Select Harvests (ASX:SHV) says that its 2022 crop was impacted by weather conditions. This consisted of higher-than-usual humidity leading up to and during harvest where some of the crop required mechanical drying. This means that 100 per cent of the 2022 crop is now secure. Shares closed 1.4 per cent higher to $5.27.

Catapult Group (ASX:CAT), a global performance technology company in elite sports, has announced that, following the release of GameTracker for the NBA, it has extended its full video suite to all NCAA and international basketball teams. Shares closed 1.1 per cent higher to 91 cents.

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) has received 41 bids for 5000 dry metric tonnes of its spodumene concentrate. The bids were offered during an auction on the company’s digital Battery Metal Exchange platform. The winning bid came in at US$6188 per dry metric tonne (A$9169/dmt). The delivery is expected from August this year. Shares closed 3.8 per cent higher to $2.45.

Galan Lithium’s (ASX:GAL) key project is the Hombre Muerto West lithium brine project in Argentina. Today, there’s been progress reported from the company’s long-term pump testing program. A three-day constant rate pump test has uncovered high lithium grades, positive porosity results and favourable conditions for high-volume brine production. The results will form part of Galan’s current definitive feasibility study. Shares closed 8.2 per cent higher to $1.26.

Business technology solutions company Data#3 (ASX:DTL) expects financial year 2022 net profit before tax of around $44 million, which is a 19 per cent jump from the same time a year ago which was $36.9 million. The board intends to maintain the historic dividend payout ratio. Shares closed 9.9 per cent higher to $5.32.

Funds under management at Australian Ethical Investments (ASX:AEF) fell 9 per cent to $6.2 billion over the June quarter attributed to high volatile investment markets. The investment manager has also announced that a successor fund transfer deed was signed with Christian Super which will see all members of Christian Super transferred into Australian Ethical Super by 2023. Shares closed 1.4 per cent higher to $5.25.

Funds under administration at Netwealth (ASX:NWL) fell 3.4 per cent in the June quarter to $55.7 billion due to negative market movements equal to $4.5 billion. Shares closed 4.7 per cent higher to $13.05.

Pengana Capital (ASX:PCG) has reported that total funds under management fell to $3.33 billion as at June 30, versus $3.56 billion as at May 31. There were no further details as to the factors that influenced the result. Shares closed 1.2 per cent higher to $1.64.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 49 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 9 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 40 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 31 points when the market next opens.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.6 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.7 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1723.95 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.4 per cent higher at US$109.40 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.4 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.16 lower at US$93.76 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.58 US cents.