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ASX up 0.26% at noon as investors await RBA decision

According to a recent ANZ-Roy Morgan survey, consumer confidence experienced a notable boost of 3.2 percentage points last week, reaching its highest level since late April.

ANZ senior economist Adelaide Timbrell pointed out that this increase was primarily fueled by significant improvements in the ‘future financial conditions’ category, which occurred just before an anticipated pause from the Reserve Bank.

However, it’s important to note that consumer confidence is still relatively low, as households continue to face challenges related to persistent high inflation and restrictive interest rates.

These economic conditions are also evident in declining retail sales, as remarked by Timbrell.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.26 per cent higher at 7,429.50.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 24 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, up 1.26 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Industrials, down 0.31 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC), trading 4.38 per cent higher at $7.025. It is followed by shares in IGO (ASX:IGO) and ALS (ASX:ALQ).

The worst-performing large cap is Infratil (ASX:IFT), trading 2.14 per cent lower at $9.16. It is followed by shares in Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) and Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets rose on Monday as China’s factory activity for July remained in contraction territory for the fourth straight month.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers index came in at 49.3, higher than June’s figure of 49.0, according to the national bureau of statistics.

The PMI for non-manufacturing activity came in at 51.5, a slower rate of expansion compared to the 53.2 in June.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.83% in its final hour of trade, while the Hang Seng Tech index saw a larger climb of 1.87%. At current levels, this would be the first time that the HSI breached the 20,000 mark in over a month.

Mainland Chinese markets were all higher as well but pared earlier gains, with the Shanghai Composite up 0.46% to finish at 3,291.04 and the Shenzhen Component 0.75% higher to end at 11,183.91.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.26% to close at 33,172, while the Topix saw a larger rise of 1.39% to end the day at 2,322.56, setting a new 33-year record. The country’s industrial output for June came in lower than expected, registering a 2% growth month on month compared to the 2.4% expected by economists.

South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.93% to end at 2,632.58 and recorded a third straight day of gains. The Kosdaq climbed 2.25% to close at 935.97, near its 16-month high.

Company news

Patriot Battery Metals (TSX.V: PMET | ASX: PMT | OTCQX: PMETF | FSE: R9GA) has entered into a subscription agreement with respect to a private placement of approximately C$109 million in Patriot by Albemarle Corporation. In response, Blair Way, Company President and CEO, commented: “the additional funding will allow us to more aggressively advance the Corvette Property through drilling, permitting, study work and more.” Shares are trading 11.6 per cent higher at $1.69.

Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC, OTC:LYSDY) has signed a follow up contract with the US Department of Defence for the construction of the Lynas U.S. Rare Earths Processing Facility in Texas. In response, Amanda Lacaze, CEO & Managing Director of Lynas said, “Lynas is the only commercial scale source of separated rare earths outside of China and our expertise makes us the ideal partner for the DoD as it addresses supply chain vulnerabilities and strengthens national security.” Shares are trading 4.31 per cent higher at $7.02.

Talon Energy (ASX:TPD) received a revised non-binding indicative proposal from Strike Energy (ASX:STX) which has now been withdrawn. Despite negotiations, both parties failed to reach an agreement on final terms, leading to the withdrawal of the proposal. Shares are trading 18.4 per cent lower at 15.5 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2000.20 an ounce.

Iron ore is 0.6 per cent higher at US$110.05 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.68 per cent rise.

One Australian dollar is buying 67.04 US cents.