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ASX up 0.43% at near noon: March NAB Business survey indicates stable business conditions

The March NAB Business survey indicated that business conditions and confidence remained relatively stable, with positive trends observed in the retail and construction sectors despite ongoing challenges, particularly in rate-exposed industries. While forward orders improved, they still remained negative, suggesting a tentative improvement in supply-demand balance, albeit with elevated labor and material costs, and strong retail price growth, hinting at gradual progress in inflation ahead of the full Q1 CPI result in April.

At 11:30am, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.43 per cent higher at 7,822.6.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 29 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials [XMJ], up 1.57 per cent. The worst-performing sector is REITs [XPJ], down 0.3 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC), trading 5.11 per cent higher at $6.07. It is followed by shares in Rio Tinto Group (ASX:RIO) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

The worst-performing large cap is Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ), trading 3.09 per cent lower at $5.33. It is followed by shares in Viva Energy Group (ASX:VEA) and GQG Partners (ASX:GQG).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2361.20 an ounce.

Iron ore is 6.0 per cent higher at US$104.45 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 3.1 per cent rise.

One Australian dollar is buying 66.02 US cents.