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ASX up 0.46% at noon as RBNZ keeps rates unchanged

RBA governor Philip Lowe is set to speak at a lunch event in Brisbane, marking his first public appearance following recent speculation about his potential successor and potential changes within the central bank.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is currently trading at around US67.16 cents.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has decided to keep interest rates unchanged at 5.50 percent, aligning with expectations from analysts. This decision reflects the central bank’s belief in the necessity of maintaining a restrictive level of interest rates for the foreseeable future in order to achieve their inflation target range of 1-3 percent annually.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.46 per cent higher at 7,141.30.

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

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 2.01 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Health Care, down 0.22 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL), trading 4.87 per cent higher at $2.90. It is followed by shares in Woodside Energy Group (ASX:WDS) and Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX).

The worst-performing large cap is Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ), trading 2.30 per cent lower at $5.09. It is followed by shares in Infratil (ASX:IFT) and NEXTDC (ASX:NXT).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed ahead of key inflation data out of India and the U.S on Wednesday.

Economists expect the U.S. inflation rate for June to fall slightly to 5%, down from 5.3% in May, based on a Reuters poll. The inflation print, along with producer prices data on Thursday, will give clues to the Federal Reserve’s path for rate hikes.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slid 1.16%, while the Topix was down 0.87%. The country saw wholesale inflation slow to its lowest pace in six months, with the corporate goods price index rising just 4.1% year on year, official data showed.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.15% lower, while the Kosdaq saw a smaller loss of 0.07% as the country saw its unemployment rate climb slightly to 2.6% in June.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index opened 1% up, while mainland Chinese indexes were all in negative territory. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.2%, while the Shenzhen Component was down marginally.

Company news

Heavy Rare Earths (ASX:HRE) announced that their metallurgical program has delivered a two-fold grade increase and up to 91.3% extraction of magnet rare earths. Executive Director, Richard Brescianini, said, “our forward program now has its sights firmly set on producing samples of a Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate, the first possible entry point by HRE into the rare earth supply chain.” Heavy Rare Earths will be presenting at our Hidden Gems Webinar series this Friday at 12:30pm, so tune in to hear an extension on this news and further discussions regarding their operations. Shares are trading 20 per cent higher at 12 cents at noon.

NickelSearch (ASX:NIS) has intercepted massive nickel sulphide mineralisation at their Carlingup Nickel Sulphide Project in WA. MD Nicole Duncan, commented: ““The hole confirmed the presence of nickel sulphide mineralisation sitting in a structure located at relatively shallow depths of ~145m and starting quite close to surface at ~40m, which is particularly pleasing.” Shares are trading 87.5 per cent higher at 10.5 cents at noon.

Red Mountain Mining (ASX:RMX) announced thick high grade lithium has been discovered From Near Surface at at its 100% owned Mustang Lithium Project in Nevada, U.S.A. Chairman Troy Flannery commented: “This provides Red Mountain with plenty of confidence going forward as we aim to progress phase 2 drilling targeting the areas further north of our ground, to expand our findings and commence building a lithium resource.” Shares are trading 10 per cent higher at 0.6 cents at noon.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1943.60 an ounce.

Iron ore is 2.1 per cent higher at US$107.60 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.86 per cent rise.

One Australian dollar is buying 67.22 US cents.