by Peter Milios
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.29 per cent higher at 7,526 after an early rise, with gains in financials, materials, and energy offset by losses in consumer staples, health care, and industrials.
US futures are slightly weaker ahead of Fed speakers.
Suncorp leads financials with a 4.2 per cent rise after strong earnings, while Macquarie adds 2.2 per cent as target prices are raised on improved FY guidance. Iron ore miners are surprisingly strong despite a fall in iron ore futures.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 14 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Financials, up 0.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Consumer Staples, down 0.7 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN), trading 4.17 per cent higher at $12.99. It is followed by shares in Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) and Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG).
The worst-performing large cap is Amcor (ASX:AMC), trading 2.95 per cent lower at $16.76. It is followed by shares in Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) and James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX).
Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed on Wednesday, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell overnight acknowledged that inflation is declining — a sign the central bank may soon pause its rate hikes.
The Nikkei 225 fell 0.34 per cent, dragged down by declining shares of Nintendo and Softbank after posting disappointing results. The Topix gained 0.12 per cent. The Kospi in South Korea rose 0.68 per cent and the Kosdaq rose 0.63 per cent.
Tennant Minerals (ASX:TMS) has announced that thick, and true-width copper and gold have been intersected at the potential to expand the Bluebird discovery. Tennant Minerals Chairman Matthew Driscoll commented, “Drilling is already planned to extend this remarkable new discovery, which lies under shallow cover to the east of the Tennant Creek Mineral Field and continues to grow – in all directions.” Shares are trading 20.6 per cent higher at 4.1 cents at noon.
Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) has announced that their Salinas Lithium Project tenure has expanded by over 367 per cent. In response, Latin Resources’ Managing Director, Chris Gale, commented, “With the recent publication of our Maiden JORC Lithium Resource, the aggressive 65,000 metres drill program planned for 2023 and feasibility studies well underway, we are extremely excited about this year for Latin Resources.” Shares are trading 11.4 per cent higher at 12.3 cents at noon.
INOVIQ (ASX:IIQ) has announced positive results for their SubB2M Breast Cancer Test. In response, CSO Dr Gregory Rice said: “These data show that INOVIQ’s SubB2M-CA15.3 test discriminates breast cancer from controls across all stages and significantly outperforms the Roche test; reducing the number of samples misdiagnosed by approximately 10 per cent.” Shares are trading 5 per cent higher at 63 cents at noon.
Trigg Minerals (ASX:TMG) has reported positive results from its tests on brine from the Lake Throssell Sulphate of Potash project in Western Australia. Bench-scale test work shows promise in producing high-quality feed salts quickly and efficiently using an alternative process, with the potential to improve processing reliability and reduce costs. The results indicate a more efficient and reliable way of producing Sulphate of Potash (SOP) compared to conventional evaporation, and the technology can also capture water for re-use in the processing plant. Trigg Minerals’ Managing Director says the results are encouraging and further test-work will be conducted for pilot-scale work. Shares are trading 2.63 per cent lower at 3.7 cents.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.9 per cent lower at US$121.70 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are flat.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.58 US cents.