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ASX closes 0.05% lower despite major banks showing strength

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.05 per cent lower at 7,259.90.

Aus shares remained steady with a small intraday increase, mirroring the rise in US futures. This was partially due to optimism about a debt ceiling agreement following productive discussions among lawmakers.

Despite the financial sector encountering resistance around 6200, major banks showed strength, recording gains of 0.4 to 1 per cent. However, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) and Westpac (ASX:WBC) faced downgrades and lowered price targets by Morgan Stanley.

Other sectors, such as property, energy, technology, and healthcare, performed well, while the discretionary, staples, materials and industrials sectors underperformed.

Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) fell by 2.2 per cent following an uneventful trading update, a trend seen among airlines reporting overseas. On the other hand, Technology One (ASX:TNE) saw a 2.8 per cent increase on the back of strong interim results and dividend.


The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 14 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 3.5 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 21 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 9 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Financials, up 0.77 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Consumer Discretionary, down 1.04 per cent.

The best-performing large cap was Infratil (ASX:IFT), closing 2.12 per cent higher at $9.14. It was followed by shares in Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) and Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ).

The worst-performing large cap was Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL), closing 2.98 per cent lower at $35.17. It was followed by shares in Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) and Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.42 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.91 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.50 per cent.

Company news

Rex Minerals (ASX:RXM) has signed a letter of intent with Hitachi. The LOI encompasses the allocation of Ultra-class mining equipment to Rex. Rex’s CEO, Richard Laufmann, “[the LOI] secures the Ultra-class fleet for Rex without any immediate financial commitment.” Shares closed 2.22 per cent higher at 23 cents.

Omega’s (ASX:OMA) first drilling campaign results confirm a major gas system. Omega’s MD Lauren Bennett commented: “Drilling has shown an even greater thickness of hydrocarbon-rich zones.” Shares closed 4.35 per cent higher at 24 cents.

Hartshead Resources (ASX:HHR) announced that it is nearing completion of the FDP for the Phase I development of the Anning and Somerville gas fields. Project plan focussed on first gas production for 2025 is on track, following completion of the farm-out and consequential equity funding for development. Shares closed 8.33 per cent higher at 2.6 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,964.30 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.3 per cent lower at US$104.85 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2.5 per cent fall.
Light crude is trading $0.18 lower at US$71.81 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.57 US cents.