The local market ended a volatile week with a modest decline, after the ASX 200 edged 16.9 points or 0.25 per cent lower, to 6828.7. 5 sectors (of 11) and 68 stocks (of 200) finished higher. Mining stocks (down 1.9 per cent) weighed the most and fell for the fifth straight day. This comes after the price of iron ore fell by 8 per cent overnight, driven in part by demand concerns sparked by China’s reimposition of Covid-19 lockdowns. The Big 4 banks all rose and helped lift the broader Financials sector 0.7 per cent higher.

Over the week the ASX 200 shed 3.9 per cent – its second straight weekly loss. The defensive Consumer Staples sector was the onlysector to finish in positive territory, after edging 0.3 per cent higher. Mining stocks shed 10.3 per cent (biggest loss since March 2020) and snapped 6 straight weeks of gains, partly driven by BHP shares trading ex-dividend. Major miners like BHP Group (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) averaged a 12.1 per
cent decline over the week.

In company news, James Hardie (JHX), a dual-listed cement manufacturer, has announced Aaron Erter as its CEO, effective immediately. Aaron Erter most recently served as CEO of PLZ Corp (liquid & aerosol manufacturer), and held ‘multiple executive leadership roles at Sherwin Williams’ (US-listed paint & coat manufacturer). JHX shares finished 0.1 per cent higher.

Piedmont Lithium (PLL) will base its 30,000 metric tonne per-year lithium hydroxide operation in Etowah, Tennessee. PLL says that the planned start and production of lithium hydroxide (from spodumene concentrate) is expected to start in 2025. Shares of PLL rose by 5.7 per cent.

Evolution Mining (EVN) has appointed Lawrie Conway – its Finance Director and CFO – to the role of CEO & Managing Director, effective 1 January 2023. Current CEO, Jake Klein, has agreed to a new contract, where he will continue as Executive Chair ‘until at least the end of 2024’.


Top Australian Brokers


In economic news, the two-day Jobs & Skills summit wrapped up, with Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announcing a lift in the permanent migration cap to a record 195k places (from 160k).

US jobs data will also be released tonight. Markets are expecting an unemployment rate of 3.5 per cent, and 300,000 jobs to have been added. US markets are closed on Monday in observance of the Labor Public Holiday.

Next week on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will hand down its interest rate decision. If market expectations of a 50 basis point rate hike (to 2.35 per cent) eventuate, this would make it the RBA’s fourth straight 50-basis point rate hike.

3.5bn shares were traded, worth $6.6bn. 549 stocks rose, 808 fell & 400 finished unchanged.

In the US tonight, employment and factory orders data are due.

Originally published by Divik Nigam – (Author), CommSec