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ASX up 0.07% at noon: NAB survey shows dip in business conditions

In the month of July, the NAB monthly survey exhibited that business conditions experienced a marginal dip of one basis point, settling at +10 index points, while business confidence witnessed a positive shift, rising by two points to reach +2 index points. These contrasting trends came as a surprise to analysts who had anticipated a continuation of the economic cooling trend. NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster remarked that despite the challenges and uncertainties, business conditions exhibited remarkable resilience during July, holding steady at above-average levels for the past couple of months. Similarly, business confidence showed signs of recovery, returning to positive territory, although it still remained at relatively low levels.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.07 per cent higher at 7,314.60.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 14 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, up 0.41 per cent. The worst-performing sector is REITs, down 0.39 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is James Hardie Industries plc (ASX:JHX), trading 14.38 per cent higher at $46.62. It is followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and REA Group (ASX:REA).

The worst-performing large cap is ResMed (ASX:RMD), trading 2.35 per cent lower at $28.71. It is followed by shares in Allkem (ASX:AKE) and IGO (ASX:IGO).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Tuesday as investors focus on China’s trade data for July.

Economists polled by Reuters expect a steeper fall in exports in July, forecasting a 12.5% slide from a year earlier compared to June’s figure of a 12.4% drop.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 1.72%, while mainland Chinese markets also were all lower. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.3% and the Shenzhen Component was 0.36% down.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%, while the Topix was up 0.34% as the country’s household spending remained in negative territory for the fourth straight month. Overall household spending fell 4.2% year on year in June, compared with 4% in May, official data showed.

South Korea’s Kospi inched down 0.25% and the Kosdaq slipped 0.36%.

Company news

Empire Energy (ASX:EEG) and APA Group (ASX:APA) have agreed to develop midstream gas infrastructure in the Beetaloo Basin. APA will invest up to $5 million for pre-engineering studies to support gas transportation to the Northern Territory and East Coast markets, subject to approvals. In response, Empire’s MD Alex Underwood commented, “APA potentially funding the midstream gas infrastructure facilities for Empire’s Carpentaria Pilot Project, reduces the capital requirement to Empire, enhancing project economics.” Shares are trading 3.3% lower at 14.5 cents.

James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX; NYSE:JHX) announced the results for its first quarter ending 30 June 2023. The company recorded a 13 per cent increase in Net Income and a 14 per cent increase in EPS compared to first quarter fiscal year 2023. In response, CEO Aaron Erter said, “we have a superior value proposition with the right products and solutions that help our customers grow profitably.“ Shares are trading 15.11 per cent higher at $46.92.

Ensurance (ASX:ENA) announced that they have entered into a binding agreement with PSC Insurance Group (ASX:PSI) under which PSC acquire all of the shares in the capital of ENA by way of a Scheme of Arrangement. In response ENA’s Chairman commented, “This transaction delivers a healthy premium to the current market price of ENA shares, and the scrip consideration will allow ENA shareholders to retain exposure to the continued growth and development of the business. Shares are trading 33.8 per cent higher at 26.8 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1967.30 an ounce.

Iron ore is 0.9 per cent lower at US$104.10 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.41 per cent rise.

One Australian dollar is buying 65.44 US cents.