Uranium stocks jump, banks fall, Atlas soars on IFM deal: ASX up 0.8% at noon

The Australian sharemarket has recouped some of Tuesday’s decline as industrials and miners are leading a broad-based rally. The major banks are the exception, extending their fall after the Reserve Bank’s outsized interest rate hike yesterday.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.8 per cent or 57 points higher at 7,153. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 57 points.

Industrials are up 2.8 per cent, lifted by Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) surging over 16 per cent to $8.24 after IFM Global Infrastructure Fund obtained a 15 per cent stake in the toll road group. Utilities have added 2.7 per cent, materials and energy have both added 2.2 per cent, and information technology has advanced 1.8 per cent. Financials are down 1.5 per cent.

Morgan Stanley wrote that an aggressive rate hiking cycle by the RBA “increases tail risks” for banks. Westpac (ASX:WBC) is down 4.5 per cent to $22.35, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) has lost 2.4 per cent to $29.37, Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) is down 1.9 per cent to $99.99 and ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) is trading 1.6 per cent lower to $24.05. Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) is down 4.8 per cent to $10.06 and is the second worst performer in the ASX 200.

Meanwhile, uranium stocks are higher amid the Biden administration pushing lawmakers to support a US$4.3 billion plan to buy enriched uranium directly from domestic producers to wean the US off Russian imports.

Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) has soared 13.1 per cent to 79.7 cents as the session’s third best performer, while Energy Resources (ASX:ERA) is up 1.8 per cent to 29 cents and Lotus Resources (ASX:LOT) is trading 5.5 per cent higher to 29 cents.

Boral (ASX:BLD) has appointed Vik Bansal as its new chief executive officer and managing director to start in December this year. Shares are trading 10.3 per cent higher at $3.16 as the second best performer.

Jefferies analysts have upgraded eight iron ore and coal stocks due to their optimism on demand in China. These include BHP (ASX:BHP) up 3.2 per cent to $1.47, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) up 2.7 per cent, and South32 (ASX:S32) trading 1.4 per cent higher to $5.16. Coal miners like Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and New Hope (ASX:NHC) have both added 2 per cent on the back of this.

Gold miners are higher, led by Northern Star (ASX:NST) up 1.9 per cent to $8.69. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has added 1.7 per cent to $3.67 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is trading 1.5 per cent higher at $24.37.

Santos (ASX:STO) is leading the energy sector, up 3 per cent to $8.72. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is up 1.6 per cent to $1.87 and Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) is trading 1.4 per cent higher at $33.36.

Other stocks that have stood out are Zip Co (ASX:ZIP), tumbling 3.1 per cent to 63.5 cents, Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) returning its gains from yesterday, down 3.1 per cent to $12.72, while CSL (ASX:CSL) is up 1.9 per cent to $272.70.

Local economic news

Total jobs rose 0.6 per cent to 15 million during the March quarter with the proportion of vacant jobs up 2.8 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Filled jobs rose 0.4 per cent to 14.6 million, secondary jobs fell 0.4 per cent to 951,900, multiple job holders fell 1.3 per cent to 857,900 and hours worked declined 0.9 per cent.

Company news

The NSW government has renewed the managed service agreement with AD1’s (ASX:AD1) recruitment software ApplyDirect for another two years. Shares are trading 14.3 per cent higher at 1.6 cents.

Higher metal prices and improved metal volumes have led Sims (ASX:SGM) to provide financial year 2022 guidance that is higher than its FY21 result. Shares are trading flat at $18.12.

Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) has posted net outflows of around $209 million in May to leave FUM at $19.6 million versus estimates of $19.8 million. Shares are trading 1.6 per cent higher at $1.76.

Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU) has officially acquired an 80 per cent stake in the Nevada lithium project in the US. Shares are trading 1.3 per cent higher at 8 cents.

Energy infrastructure business APA (ASX:APA) has raised $1 billion of senior unsecured debt via a syndicated loan facility. Shares are trading 3.4 per cent higher at $11.58.

Change Financial (ASX:CCA) has signed contracts with three credit unions and New Zealand’s largest building society to offer card management solutions via its Vertexon platform. Shares are trading 13 per cent higher at 7.8 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,849.54 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.3 per cent higher at US$147.25 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.37 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.24 US cents.

Sources: Bloomberg, IRESS