Miners lead Aussie market higher
It was a bounce-back session from the miners on the ASX on Tuesday, which helped the market gauges elevate slightly. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 12.8 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6,856, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 15.6 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,045.
The heavyweight mining sector was the biggest influence, rising 0.9 per cent as BHP added 23 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $43.59; Fortescue lifted 54 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $21.35; and Rio Tinto appreciated $1.75, or 1.6 per cent, to $113.60.
Rare earths producer Lynas was the star, gaining 75 cents, or 12.4 per cent, to $6.82, after its operating licence for its Malaysian processing plant was extended through to March 2026. Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals rose 21 cents, or 5.9 per cent, to $3.79, but fellow producer Allkem slipped 18 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $10.18. IGO, which mines nickel as well as lithium, advanced 29 cents, or 2.7 per cent, to $10.87; and Mineral Resources, which produces iron ore and lithium, put on 99 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $57.43.
There was some solid work from the goldminers, led by Perseus Mining, which surged 8.5 cents, or 5.1 per cent, to $1.76, after reporting stellar first-quarter gold production, and reaffirming its production and cost guidance for 2024. Also in gold, Ramelius Resources improved 4.5 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $1.775; Capricorn Metals gained 11 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $4.80; and Evolution Mining added 6 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $3.69.
In coal, Coronado Global Resources advanced 4 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $1.65; New Hope Corporation closed 12 cents, or 2 per cent, higher at $6.04; Whitehaven Coal rose 9 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $7.59; and Stanmore Resources gained 9 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $3.72.
Copper miner Sandfire Resources was up 12 cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $5.89.
Of the energy heavyweights, Woodside Energy slipped 3 cents to $35.16, while Santos advanced 5 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $7.85.
Electric vehicles drive McMillan Shakespeare
On the industrial screens, salary packaging company McMillan Shakespeare rose $1.35, or 9 per cent, to $16.42 after announcing that strong demand for novated leases for electric vehicles had resulted in higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings.
It was a mixed day for the big banks, with Commonwealth Bank rising 25 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $98.07; Westpac adding 4 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $20.88; National Australia Bank unchanged on the day, at $28.56; and ANZ easing 4 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $25.18.
Buy-now, pay-later Zip Co spiked 2 cents, or 6.7 per cent. to 32 cents after reporting that it was cash-earnings-positive in the first quarter, and that it expects to repeat the feat for the financial year.
Biotech heavyweight CSL added 45 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $237.25, while Telstra was flat at $3.79.
Earnings boost US gauges
In the US, selectively buoyant company earnings lifted stocks, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 204.97 points, or 0.6 per cent, to close at 33,141.38, while the broader S&P 500 index added 30.64 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 4,247.68, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rose 121.55 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 13,139.88.
Companies surprising on the upside in quarterly results included Coca-Cola, Spotify, General Electric and Microsoft, but that is not a uniform trend, with Alphabet slightly disappointing on the cloud business, despite a better-than-expected overall result.
Roughly 23% of S&P 500 companies have already reported earnings, and 77% of them have posted earnings surpassing analysts’ expectations, according to FactSet.
On the bond market, the US 10-year yield eased 2.3 basis points to 4.826 per cent, while the 2-year yield edged higher to 5.119 per cent.
Gold lost US$3.37, or 0.2 per cent, to US$1,970.37, while the global benchmark Brent crude oil grade slid US$1.76, or 2 per cent, to US$88.07 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate oil gained 5 cents to US$83.79 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 63.55 US cents this morning, up from 63.45 cents at the ASX close on Tuesday.