— Finance

Australian sharemarket ends flat, with potash producer and whisky distiller among winners, but miners and banks weigh

A late sell-off stopped the ASX from notching up its fourth straight day in the green, but a whisky distiller and potash producer gained ground. After a late sell-off, the Australian share market finished flat, held back by weakness in resources and bank stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 6.2 points lower at 7374.9, while the All Ordinaries Index lifted just 0.5 points to 7690.2. CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian said the local bourse had a slow start, then surged, hitting a three-week high before slumping in late trade. After being the best performers on Monday, the miners weighed.

Rio Tinto weakened 3.25 percent to $98.15, Fortescue shed 1.22 percent to $14.56, and BHP backtracked 2.04 percent to $38.39 after reporting its September quarter production results, with iron ore output down by 4 percent due to maintenance and labor shortages. The production of other commodities also fell, but petroleum – a business it is hiving off to Woodside as it exits fossil fuels – was up 3 percent, beating Ord Minnett’s forecast by 5 percent on high demand amid energy shortages in China and Europe.

Australian sharemarket

It also emerged that Canadian nickel miner Noront Resources had backed a takeover offer by Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Wyloo Metals. Still, rival suitor BHP has a right to match the bid. “BHP has five business days from receiving notice of the superior proposal,” Noront said in a statement lodged overnight. OZ Minerals was boosted in morning trade by a 7 percent rise in the copper price on Monday before retreating 0.69 percent to $25.99. South32 gave up 2.27 percent to $3.88.

“Just a couple of months ago, Oz Minerals said its profits had more than tripled over six months because the copper price it was receiving for each tonne sold was up about 60 percent, so it has been doing quite well,” Mr. Daghlian said. Potash producer Highfield Resources rocketed 11.36 percent to 49 cents. Another standout performer was Tasmanian whisky maker Lark, which announced it had already secured $46.5m from a $53m capital raising to buy the Pontville Distillery and Estate north of Hobart for $40m, sending its shares leaping 9.09 percent to $5.52.

Brambles provided the first-quarter update, saying sales revenue had risen due to an industry-wide shortage of new pallet supply across the globe, compounded by Covid-related labor shortages and transport delays. Goldman Sachs noted ongoing strong demand for zircon from the ceramics industry, combined with low supply, had driven a continued price rally for the commodity and slapped a buy recommendation on Iluka, sending its shares 1.9 percent higher to $9.66. Woodside slid 1.15 percent to $24.96 in the energy sector, and Santos declined 0.8 percent to $7.38.

Cochlear held its annual general meeting, saying it was confident in the resilience of its hearing implant business given improvements in surgery rates across the last financial year following pandemic-related delays. It affirmed its guidance in August of a 12-20 percent lift in underlying net profit in 2021-22. Its shares improved 1by .88 percent to $219.29. Shares in Brambles added 0.2 percent to $10.17. ANZ eased 0.32 percent to $28.15; Commonwealth Bank inched five cents lower to $103.89; National Australia Bank slipped 0.49 percent to $28.6, and Westpac declined 0.39 percent to $25.48.

Telstra dipped 1.03 percent to $3.83. In economic news, the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating rose by 1.3 percent – a sixth successive gain – to a 14-week high of 107, compared to a long-run average since 1990 of 112.5. “Confidence in Sydney continued to increase following the end of the city’s 106-day Delta lockdown,” CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman noted. ANZ observed spending in NSW for the first six days of Sydney’s reopening had spiked, the most crucial Monday-to-Saturday period since January.

“Nationally, the share of shopping done online dropped sharply from around 40 percent to 30 percent, reflecting strong uptake of in-person shopping in NSW,” the bank said. The Aussie dollar fetched 74.64 US cents, 54.16 British pence, and 64.01 Euro cents in afternoon trade. Published initially as the Australian share market ends flat, with potash producer and whisky distiller among winners, but miners and banks weigh New shares in award-winning Tasmanian spirits maker Lark have been snapped up at breakneck speed as it raises cash to buy an iconic distillery.

Gemma Broadhurst
I am a writer by profession, and I love to write in my spare time. I am one of the most experienced writer for newspriest. I always make sure that whatever is written on my blog is 100% genuine and true. I am a University of Florida graduate pursuing a Master's degree.

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