Australian Economy

Australian economy grows 0.8%, Origin Energy tumbles: ASX up 0.2% at noon

The Aussie sharemarket is pushing higher this morning after Wall Street fell overnight amid inflation and recession fears across the globe. Most sectors are showing gains, with the exception of utilities, which is down 5 per cent after Origin withdrew its 2023 guidance amid current market volatility across commodity markets. Industrials are leading the pack up 1.4 per cent, followed by communication services and financials.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.2 per cent or 13 points higher at 7224.10.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 12 points.

The Australian economy rose 0.8 per cent in the March quarter, following a rise of 3.6 per cent in December, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In contrast to previous Covid-19 strains, ABS said there was continued growth in economic activity through the peak of the omicron variant outbreak. Severe weather in NSW, Queensland and South Australia during the quarter affected supply chains and dampened activity in some industries.

The economy grew 3.3 per cent year-on-year.

The best performer in the ASX/200 is Auckland International (ASX:AIA), up 2.8 per cent to $6.91 following changes to its leadership team. This is followed by Nufarm (ASX:NUF), up 2.3 per cent to $5.41 and TPG Telecom (ASX:TPG), up 1.7 per cent to $5.84.

The worst performer in the ASX/200 is Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), trading nearly 15 per cent lower at $1.21. This is followed by Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), down 13 per cent to $2.56 and Origin Energy (ASX:ORG), down 12.4 per cent to 6 dollars after its announcement.

Major banks are higher, led by Commonwealth (ASX:CBA), up 1.5 per cent to $105.94. NAB (ASX:NAB) is up 0.8 per cent to $31.50 following the acquisition of Citigroup’s Australian consumer business.

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is leading iron ore miners, up 1.4 per cent to $20.40, while energy stocks are mixed following a volatile trading session for oil prices overnight.

Santos (ASX:STO) is up 0.9 per cent to $8.28 after announcing a new gas supply agreement with Yara Pilbara Fertilisers, while Woodside (ASX:WPL) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) are down.

Gold stocks lower, led by Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), which is trading 3.13 per cent lower at $3.72. Northern Star (ASX:NST) has lost 1.90 per cent to be trading at $8.78, while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) has fallen 1.56 per cent to $24.65.

Company news

Darren Smith will take over Doug Cubbin as chief financial officer of Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX). Shares are trading 4.5 per cent lower at $4.45.

Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) posted a 5 per cent increase in revenue in the March quarter, and a 49 per cent increase over the nine months to March 31. Shares are trading 0.5 per cent lower at 98 cents.

Greenvale Mining (ASX:GRV) is set to acquire an initial 51 per cent stake in geothermal energy company Within Energy. Shares are trading over 14 per cent higher at 20 cents.

DUG Technology (ASX:DUG) has announced the extension of its primary banking facilities with Commonwealth Bank. Shares are trading 6.4 per cent higher at 50 cents.

South32 (ASX:S32) has completed the acquisition of an additional 16.6 per cent stake in Mozal Aluminium from MCA Metals. Shares are trading 1.2 per cent lower at $4.94.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1834.60 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.1 per cent lower at US$136.50 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.55 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.78 US cents.

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