LA Private

Oil prices stabilise: ASX up 0.29% at noon

Oil prices remained relatively stable as the second half of the year began, as traders closely monitored factors affecting demand and the complex supply situation.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, maintained its position above $75 per barrel, despite experiencing four consecutive quarterly losses, marking its longest downward trend in over 30 years. In 2021, oil prices have declined by over 12%, primarily due to China’s economic slowdown, concerns about a potential recession in the United States, and substantial oil exports from Russia and Iran, which have contributed to abundant supplies in the market.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.29 per cent higher at 7,224.10.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 27 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 1 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 1.71 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 4.19 per cent higher at $5.10. It is followed by shares in Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL) and Allkem (ASX:AKE).

The worst-performing large cap is WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC), trading 3.06 per cent lower at $77.37. It is followed by shares in IDP Education (ASX:IEL) and Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets rose as investors digest a slew of manufacturing activity reports from the region.

China’s Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index will be released later in the day. Economists polled by Reuters expect to see a slight expansion despite official government readings recording a third straight month of contraction.

Mainland China markets were higher: The Shanghai Composite gained 0.4% in its first hour of trade and the Shenzhen Component rose 0.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.1% and the Hang Seng Tech index rose nearly 2%.

Private surveys for factory activity in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India will be released today as well as for some countries in the ASEAN region.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 led gains in the region and popped 1.26% higher, with the Topix also up by 1.11%. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.98% and the Kosdaq rose 1.33%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is set for a slight rebound, with futures at 18,932, compared to the HSI’s close of 18,916.43.

Company news

Lumos Diagnostics (ASX:LDX) has received FDA clearance for its FebriDx product, which can rapidly differentiate viral from bacterial infections at point of care. Doug Ward, CEO commented, “With this clearance in hand, we anticipate securing our first commercial orders in the US before the end of calendar year 2023.” Shares are trading 336 per cent higher at 4.8 cents.

Kuniko (ASX:KNI) has received a $7.8m equity investment from Stellantis, a world-leading automaker and provider of mobility solutions. In return, Stellantis will acquire a 19.99 per cent stake in Kuniko. The companies have also agreed on an offtake term sheet, according to which Stellanits has secured 35 per cent of future nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate from Kuniko’s Norwegian projects. Shares are trading 39.5 per cent higher at 60 cents.

Asra Minerals (ASX:ASR) has released final assay results from the company’s Yttria project in WA. These results confirm high-value deposits of rare earth elements. MD Rob Longley commented, “We’re thrilled that these consistent near-surface results… are further raising Yttria’s potential value.” Shares are trading 28.6 per cent higher at 0.9 cents.

Sunstone Metals (ASX:STM) has announced high grade gold and silver results from the company’s project in Southern Ecuador. MD Malcolm Norris said: “Bramaderos Project has every potential to be a 10Moz district with multiple deposits within 4km of one another.” Shares are trading 11.5 per cent higher at 2.9 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.

One Australian dollar is buying 66.60 US cents.