The local sharemarket was weighed by an uninspiring trading session in the US overnight, and erased most of the gains it made over the past two sessions, after the ASX 200 fell 69 points or 1 per cent to 6730.7. Nine sectors and 84 per cent of stocks in the ASX 200 lost ground. Major miners BHP Group (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) fell by an average of 2.7 per cent. The Big 4 banks were mixed, and the broader Financials
sector finished flat. Tech (down 3.8 per cent) posted its biggest decline this month. The Energy sector, despite climbing by as much as 4.5 per cent, finished with a gain of 3.1 per cent. It was partly supported by a rebound in the oil price, and better-than-expected updates from Woodside Energy (WDS) & Santos (STO).

In economic news, employment rose by 900 people in September (consensus: 25,000). The unemployment rate edged higher to 3.54 per cent (in line with expectations) and sits slightly above the 48- year low of 3.42 per cent it set three months ago. Today’s data signals that Australia’s labour market might finally be loosening, and reinforces the Reserve Bank’s decision to slow its pace of interest rate hikes.

The Biden administration overnight announced US$2.8 billion in grants to increase US production & processing of critical minerals for EV batteries and defence technologies. Novonix (NVX) was one of the few companies to be ‘selected to enter negotiations to receive US$150 million in grant funding from the US Department of Energy’. NVX aims to use the funds to ‘expand its domestic production’ of ‘graphite anode materials’. Other companies awarded grants include Syrah Resources (SYR), Piedmont Lithium (PLL) and Rio Tinto-backed Talon Metals. NVX, SYR and
PLL rose by 7 per cent, 10.8 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively.

Santos (STO) and Woodside (WDS) both released a quarterly update today. Both oil producers noted quarterly improvements in their production, sales volume and sales revenues. While WDS upgraded its FY22 production guidance by 4 per cent, STO narrowed its guidance to 103-106 mmboe (previously: 102-107 mmboe). Both STO and WDS climbed today, notching gains of 2 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively.

In its quarterly report, Evolution Mining (EVN) reaffirmed its FY23 guidance, and noted a decline in its copper and gold production. It also said that its all-in-sustaining costs have increased by 17 per cent to $1,513/oz. EVN shares fell 8 per cent – their biggest decline in around 1½ months.


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In the US tonight, Blackstone, AT&T and Philip Morris are scheduled to release their earnings result. On the economic front, weekly data on new claims for unemployment benefits (initial jobless claims) are issued alongside figures on existing home sales.

Today, 3.2bn shares were traded, worth $8.7bn. 441 stocks rose, 877 fell & 403 finished unchanged.

Originally published by Divik Nigam – (Author), CommSec