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After a shaky start to the week, the Australian sharemarket is lifting for a second day around lunch. Gains from aluminium miners, energy stocks and financials are pushing the ASX 200 0.5 per cent higher. US equities improved last night with investors encouraged by better private sector jobs growth.
Companies involved with aluminium are the standouts so far today thanks to a 4.6 per cent lift in the price of the metal (its biggest daily gain in seven years). Norsk Hydro – one of the world’s largest aluminium companies – said it would ‘temporarily’ stop operations at an alumina refinery in Brazil (the world’s largest of its kind). Alumina is a key input in aluminium production. Alumina (AWC) is up 9 per cent while South32 (S32) is up 6.5 per cent.
The price of oil remains a feature and has improved by another 1.6 per cent overnight, hitting a fresh four-year high and takes its gains to 12 per cent in just a month. A driver continues to be concerns of upcoming US sanctions on Iran which will take effect on 4 November.
Iron ore prices have been steady this week due to weeklong holidays in China. China is by far the world’s largest consumer of the metal used to make steel.
Financial stocks are also bouncing back from heavy losses at the start of the week. Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is up 3.5 per cent after handing down its latest annual results. While its cash profit eased by 2 per cent to $372m, both its revenue and margins improved.
Magellan (MFG) is up 8 per cent on news the company’s co-founder Hamish Douglass is stepping down as chief executive. This will give Mr Douglass more time to focus on his role as lead portfolio manager.
Collins Foods (CKF) is up 5 per cent. The operator of more than 250 KFC restaurants is planning on opening more than 50 new Taco Bells restaurants by the end of 2021.
Gold companies are struggling at lunch. Keep in mind that just yesterday seven of the ten best improvers on the ASX 200 were miners of the precious metal.
1.2bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $2.6bn. 545 stocks are up, 464 are down and 366 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec