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Tech bellwethers gain as ASX rises 0.3% at noon

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.30 per cent higher at 7,383.60.

Nine out of the eleven sectors are trading higher today. Information technology is surging on the back of gains from WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC), Xero (ASX:XRO), and Altium (ASX:ALU).

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 27 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 1.27 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.54 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is James Hardie Industries plc (ASX:JHX), trading 2.34 per cent higher at $34.13. It is followed by shares in Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) and WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC).

The worst-performing large cap is New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC), trading 8.88 per cent lower at $5.285. It is followed by shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific traded mixed on Monday, as Wall Street looks ahead to another major earnings week, including the likes of Charles Schwab, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

The quarterly earnings reports would shed light into the overall health of the financial sector in the US following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and how that would shape the US Federal Reserve’s tightening cycle.

China’s gross domestic product report is slated to be released on Tuesday, with economists polled by Reuters expecting to see a 4 per cent rise year-on-year for the first quarter of 2023, higher than the final quarter of last year.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was marginally lower, while the Topix was up 0.15 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi was down marginally, while the Kosdaq fell 0.33 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.42 per cent, while the Hang Seng Tech index fell 0.65 per cent. In contrast, mainland Chinese markets were up, with the Shanghai Composite up 0.2 per cent and the Shenzhen Component advancing 0.17 per cent.

Company news

On Friday, Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) announced an update on their Definitive Feasibility Study confirming the North American Lithium operation with an NPV of A$2.2 billion. Today, the Company announced an expansion on their measured, indicated and inferred Moblan Lithium project, representing one of North America’s single largest lithium resources. Shares are trading 7.69 per cent higher at 21 cents.

Arovella Therapeutics (ASX:ALA) announced that their main product – ALA-101, confers significant antitumor effect and survival benefits in the aggressive leukaemia model. CEO and MD, Dr Michael Baker, commented, “The fact that we see a statistically significant lifespan extension in an aggressive leukaemia animal model provides excellent data to indicate our product’s potency.” Shares are trading 22.8 per cent higher at 9.7 cents.

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) has successfully produced 2,500kg of lithium carbonate with minimal environmental impact. In response, the Company, and partner Lilac Solutions, stated “we’ve proven that it is possible to produce high-purity lithium faster and without evaporation ponds – all while protecting surrounding communities and ecosystems.” Shares are trading 11.4 per cent higher at 51.3 cents.

Immutep (ASX:IMM) announces the initiation of investigator-initiated Phase II trial in sarcoma, a tumour that occurs in the bones and soft tissues. It is the first time efti will be studied in a non-metastatic cancer setting. In response, CEO Marc Voigt added “Efti’s unique potential to help safely drive superior clinical efficacy for cancer patients… is attracting increasing attention from industry and academia.” Shares are trading flat per cent lower at 24.5 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.9 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.07 US cents.