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ASX gains 0.3 per cent commodity woes

·4-min read

The Australian share market has closed higher with all sectors in the green except mining and energy after Fed chairman Jerome Powell remarked that a US recession was "certainly a possibility".

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Thursday up 19.9 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6,528.4, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 9.2 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6,691.5.

While Mr Powell added that he didn't think a recession was likely, Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities, wasn't reassured.

"It only goes to highlight that the Fed still does not understand the contemporary economic forces at play, and therefore will too aggressively continue to raise the Fed Funds Rate," said Mr Bennett. who believes a three to six year global slowdown is possible.

Commodity prices slid sharply, with copper futures hitting a 15-month low and iron ore changing hands at US$112 a tonne, down from US$147 just two weeks ago and its lowest level since December.

The mining sector fell 1.5 per cent to seven-month low, with BHP down 1.3 per cent to $40.50, Rio Tinto down 1.8 per cent to $102.63 and Fortescue Metals falling 2.1 per cent to $17.25.

In energy, oil producer Woodside dropped 2.6 per cent to $31.14 and Santos retreated 2.0 per cent to $7.35 as crude prices fell.

Elsewhere the market however was a sea of green, with property trusts up 2.7 per cent and industrials, consumer staples, health care and tech all up collectively up by more than one per cent.

All of the big banks were higher with ANZ up 1.1 per cent at $22.07, CBA up 0.2 per cent to $89.75 and NAB and Westpac both up 0.5 per cent, to $27.13 and $19.62, respectively.

In tech, PayGroup more than tripled, soaring from 36.5c to 94c after agreeing be to taken over by San Francisco-based global payroll company Deel for $119.3 million, or $1 per share.

PayGroup's platform, which processes roughly $11 billion in annual payroll for over 2,800 Asian-Pacific businesses, will be integrated into Deel's upcoming dashboard that will let companies manage their contractors and employees in a unified interface.

"Together we will build the first truly global solution in the payroll industry, giving businesses around the world the ability to hire, pay, and manage the best talent, no matter where they're located," said Deel chief financial officer Philippe Bouaziz.

Air New Zealand's ASX-listed shares rose 1.0 per cent to 49.5c after the Kiwi flag carrier announced that in the next few weeks it would relaunch 14 international routes, including all of its trans-Tasman flights. Auckland International Airport, where eight of those flights will depart from, gained 1.4 per cent to $6.69.

Back in the mining sector, Lake Resources dropped another 16.7 per cent to an eight-month low of 70c. The lithium is down by a shocking 55 per cent this week on what should have been a triumph, its inclusion in the ASX200. But the market was spooked on Monday by the surprise departure of managing director and chief executive Steve Promnitz. Mr Promnitz gave no reason for his abrupt resignation, Lake told the market on Thursday.

St Barbara dropped another 13.5 per cent to 80c on broker downgrades, a day after the goldminer flagged operational issues at two of its mines.

Ramelius Resources dropped 8.7 per cent to 99.5c after the goldminer announced it would narrowly miss its full-year production guidance due to persistent rains in WA and staff shortages from COVID and influenza.

Software company Archtis soared 60 per cent to 16c after getting a $7 million contract from the Australian Department of Defence to expand the deployment of its high-security collaboration platform.

The Australian dollar meanwhile was buying 68.74 US cents, from 68.98 US cents at Wednesday's close.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 19.8 points, or 0.31 per cent higher, at 6,528.4 on Thursday.

* The broader All Ordinaries gained 9.1 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6,691.4

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.75 US cents, from 68.98 US cents at Wednesday's close

* 93.19 Japanese yen, from 94.03 yen

* 65.40 Euro cents, from 65.77 cents

* 56.39 British pence, from 56.66 pence

* 109.93 NZ cents, from 110.26 cents

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