Local market marks time ahead of US jobs figure
The Australian sharemarket rebounded from 11-month lows on Thursday, notching a small gain as markets braced for the official US jobs data on Friday night Australian time.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 35.3 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 6,925, while the broader All Ordinaries index managed an identical 35.3-point, 0.5-per-cent rise, in its case to 7,117.
Weakening crude oil prices saw the energy sector under pressure, as oil turned into the red for 2023 to date. Woodside Energy led the sector lower, losing 27 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $34.31, while Santos fell 3 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $7.42, and Brazilian-based producer Karoon Energy dipped 4 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $2.51.
Among the mining heavyweights, BHP slid 29 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to a nicely symmetrical $43.43; Rio Tinto dropped $1.71, or 1.5 per cent, to $111.91; and Fortescue Metals was unchanged at $20.78.
In coal, Whitehaven Coal dropped 9 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $6.75; Stanmore Resources retreated 6 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $3.54; but Coronado Global Resources recovered 2 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $1.70.
Gold miners had a decent day, boosted by stronger gold prices. Northern Star surged 48 cents, or 4.7 per cent, to $10.66; Evolution Mining rallied 9 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $3.26; Gold Road lifted 4 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $1.645; Silver Lake advanced 2.5 cents, or 3 per cent, to 86.5 cents; Bellevue Gold was up 4 cents, also 3 per cent, to $1.375; and Regis Resources gained 4 cents, or 2.7 per cent, to $1.515.
In lithium, producer Allkem lifted 11 cents, or 1 per cent, to $11.01; but fellow producer Pilbara Minerals saw 11 cents shaved off its price, down 2.7 per cent to $3.94. IGO, which mines nickel as well as lithium, was down 48 cents, or 4 per cent, to $11.57, and Mineral Resources, a dual lithium-iron ore miner, gave up $1.85, or 2.9 per cent, to $61.48. Lithium project developers were mixed, with Lake Resources up 0.5 cents, or 3 per cent, to 17 cents; US-based Piedmont Lithium down 2 cents, or 3.4 per cent, to 56.5 cents; and Core Lithium slumping 2.5 cents, or 6.3 per cent, to 37 cents.
Dimerix doubles, and then some
The day’s highlight came in the biotech sector, where shares in drug developer Dimerix surged 154 per cent, after announcing a major licensing agreement for its DMX-200 drug candidate which treats a rare kidney disease. Dimerix gained 9.4 cents to 15.5 cents on the $230 million deal struck with UK-based Advanz Pharma.
On the industrial screens, Qantas rose off a 12-month low to add 11 cents, or 2.2 per cent, to $5.04; CSL was up 76 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $249.96; Telstra gained 4 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $3.82; and REA Group put on $3.98, or 2.6 per cent, to $155.94.
In the big banks, National Australia Bank gained 20 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $28.51; Westpac was up 27 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $21.01; ANZ rose 17 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $25.09; and Commonwealth Bank added 89 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $98.98.
Data/rates dance continues in US
In the US, markets eased slightly ahead of the official jobs report. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average walked back 9.98 points to close at 33,119.57; the broader S&P 500 retraced 5.56 points to 4,258.19, and the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite index closed 16.18 points lower, at 13,219.83.
The official jobs report is expected to show that 170,000 jobs were created in September. If it comes in as soft as the unofficial ADP survey earlier in the week, traders are likely to conclude that the weak jobs market could stay the Federal Reserve’s hand on interest rates.
In the bond market, the 10-year Treasury yield eased 2.8 basis points, to 4.708 per cent, while the 2-year yield lost 5.4 basis points, to 5.017 per cent.
Gold slid US$2.66, or 0.2 per cent, to US$1,820.31 an ounce, the global benchmark Brent crude oil grade retreated US$1.46, or 1.7 per cent, to US$84.35 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate crude dropped US$1.91, or 2.3 per cent, to US$82.31 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 63.7 US cents this morning, up from 63.57 cents at the ASX close on Thursday.