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ASX currently 0.66% higher: Macquarie Group declines due to weaker trading conditions

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) shares experienced a decline as the investment bank attributed it to challenging trading conditions. In the first quarter of financial year 2024, the bank reported a considerably lower net profit compared to the same period in the previous year.

The S&P/ASX 200 is currently 0.66 per cent higher at 7,450.60.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 37 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is REITs, up 2.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.41 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is SEEK (ASX:SEK), trading 3.08 per cent higher at $24.75. It is followed by shares in Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) and Xero (ASX:XRO).

The worst-performing large cap is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), trading 5.45 per cent lower at $7.11. It is followed by shares in Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) and Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets were largely down as investors brace for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate decision on Wednesday.

The Fed is expected to approve what would be the 11th interest rate increase since March 2022.

Markets are pricing in an absolute certainty that the Fed will approve a quarter percentage point hike that will take its benchmark borrowing rate to a target range of 5.25%-5.5%. That would push the upper boundary of the federal funds rate to its highest level since January 2001.

South Korea’s Kospi led losses in the region and fell as much as 2%, dragged by tech and consumer services stocks.

The index eventually ended the day 1.67% lower and closed at 2,592.36, while the Kosdaq saw a larger loss of 4.18% and finished at 900.63.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down marginally, extending its losses from Tuesday and closing at 32,668.34, while the Topix also sunk 0.1% to end at 2,283.09.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index retreated from Tuesday’s rally and inched down 0.31%, while mainland Chinese markets also all fell. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.26% and closed at 3,223.02, while the Shenzhen Component lost 0.48% to end at 10,968.98.

Company news

R3D Resources (ASX:R3D) announced that it has completed the refurbishment of its solvent extraction – crystallisation process plant. In response, Managing Director Stephen Bartrop commented: “Cash flows from copper sulphate pentahydrate sales are expected to be a ‘game changer’ for the Company and allow it to achieve its desired self-funding status.” Shares are trading 48 per cent higher at 3.7 cents.

GQG Partners (ASX:GQG) announces that it intends to submit a non-binding indicative proposal to acquire all of the issued ordinary shares in Pacific Current Group (ASX:PAC). GQG Partners Chief Executive Officer Tim Carver stated: “We believe that we can put forward a compelling proposal to PAC shareholders, and that we will be viewed as strategically compelling to both PAC’s underlying portfolio companies and management team.” Shares are trading 31.03 per cent higher at $10.22.

Bastion Minerals Limited (ASX:BMO) will exercise the early option to acquire the three highly prospective lithium property packages located in Ontario, Canada. Bastion’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Ross Landles, said: “We are very encouraged with the early exploration activities undertaken by our team on the ground and we look forward to updating the market shortly on the progress.” Shares are trading 25.93 per cent higher at 3.4 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2014.60 an ounce.

Iron ore is 0.3 per cent lower at US$116.45 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.3 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 67.78 US cents.