by Melissa Darmawan
Australian technology shares have rebounded after the jump from the tech-heavy Nasdaq, and lithium stocks have come back with a fury. Energy is leading the fall, while there are fractional losses by utilities, financials, and materials
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.3 per cent or 18 points higher at 6,546.
Lithium stocks have bounced back after heavy selling this week, with Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) the best-performing stock on the ASX 200. Other lithium miners, including Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), soared 10.5 per cent to 97.2 cents, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) is up 6.8 per cent to $2.19 and Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) has added 8.9 per cent to 91.5 cents.
Weakness in oil prices continue to weigh on the energy sector. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is down 1.67 to $1.60, while Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) is trading 1.6 per cent lower to $30.64.
Major banks are mixed. Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) is up 0.3 per cent to $164.14, while Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) is down 1.2 per cent to $19.39. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) are both flat.
Gold miners are trading higher, with Northern Star (ASX:NST, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM), and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) adding around 0.6 per cent each.
Global software-as-a-service platform provider LiveHire (ASX:LVH) has inked a deal with one of the four largest managed service providers globally. ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions is set to receive services from LiveHire to service their clients across North America. Shares are trading 37 per cent higher at 37 cents.
The lithium sector is on fire today and adding to the momentum is news from the name behind car brands like Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, and Maserati. Stellantis has earmarked $76 million for investment into Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) at $6.622 per share, a 32 per cent premium to Thursday’s closing price. The move is slated to mark Stellantis as the lithium miner’s second-largest shareholder. Additionally, the duo have extended their binding lithium hydroxide offtake agreement by five years to 2035. Shares are trading 26.4 per cent higher at $6.32.
Betmakers (ASX:BET) intends to conduct an on-market share buyback beginning on July 12. The wagering software and data services company may buy back up to 10 per cent of the smallest number of shares issued at any time in the last 12 months, without shareholder approval. The move will be funded from existing cash reserves. Shares are trading 23.3 per cent higher at $0.37.
After Diverger (ASX:DVR), a service provider used by financial advisers and accountants proposed a takeover bid to Centrepoint Alliance (ASX:CAF), shares in Centrepoint have been placed in a trading halt.
Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) has signed a 10-year agreement with Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) which positions the airline as the travel agency’s partner of choice over the next decade. Shares in Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) are trading 4 per cent higher to $1.05 while shares in Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) are down 1 per cent to $17.27.
Net debt at Qantas (ASX:QAN) is forecast to fall to $4 billion by the end of financial year 2022 after peaking more than $6.4 billion at the height of the pandemic. Shares are trading 0.1 per cent higher to $4.52.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1824.92 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.1 per cent higher at US$116.05 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.7 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.07 US cents.