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Oil prices decline: ASX up 0.43% at noon

Oil prices experienced a slight decline after recording their first weekly gain in the current month. The focus of investors has shifted towards assessing the outlook for the second half of the year. West Texas Intermediate oil dropped towards $71 per barrel after witnessing a rise of over 2 per cent in the previous week.

The decrease can be attributed to factors such as China reducing interest rates and hinting at the possibility of further stimulus measures. Additionally, the Federal Reserve decided to pause its monetary tightening efforts temporarily to evaluate the inflation outlook. Trading volumes for crude, particularly WTI, may be lower than usual on Monday due to the observance of the Juneteenth holiday in the United States.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.43 per cent higher at 7,282.70.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 18 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Healthcare, up 1.62 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.56 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN), trading 2.68 per cent higher at $13.625. It is followed by shares in CSL (ASX:CSL) and Woolworths Group (ASX:WOW).

The worst-performing large cap is Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), trading 5.56 per cent lower at $2.975. It is followed by shares in Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) and New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC).

Asian news

The yen plunged to a 15-year low against the euro on Friday after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) kept its ultra-low interest rate policy and forecast that inflation will slow later this year, in contrast with the European Central Bank’s rate hike on Thursday.

The Japanese unit also fell against the greenback, dropping to a six-month trough.

As widely expected, the BOJ maintained its -0.1 per cent short-term rate target and a 0 per cent cap on the 10-year bond yield set under its yield curve control policy.

BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda said he expects inflation to moderate, but the “pace of decline is somewhat slow.”

The yen fell broadly following the decision and hit a fresh 15-year low of 155.22 per euro . It was poised for its biggest weekly decline against the euro in three years. The euro was last up 1.1 at 155.16 yen.

The dollar rose 1.1 per cent against the Japanese currency to 141.795 , after earlier touching its highest since November. It was on pace for its largest daily per centage gain since late April.

Company news

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE; OTC: LLKKF) announces two phase development to targeted production of 50 kilo tonnes per annum battery grade lithium carbonate. CEO David Dickson said. “Our new, phased approach de-risks project execution while ensuring battery grade lithium carbonate comes to market in a cleaner, efficient way.” Shares are trading 16.84 per cent lower at 39.5 cents.

Bastion Minerals (ASX:BMO) secures a high grade REE project in Sweden. The opportunity is exemplified by Executive Chairman’s, Mr Ross Landles comment: “there are currently no rare earth elements currently being mined in Europe, with China providing nearly 98 per cent of the EU’s supply.” Shares are trading 38.46 per cent higher at 3.6 cents.

Dateline Resources (ASX:DTR) announced that high grades of gold have been intercepted at their Colosseum Mine in California, USA. MD Stephen Baghdadi, commented: “This is a bonanza result. The current drilling program is designed to increase the overall gold resource size, both in terms of tonnage and grade.” Shares are trading 15.63 per cent higher at 3.7 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1968.10 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.1 per cent higher at US$115.50 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.55 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.53 US cents.