• ASX bounced back in the afternoon to close higher on Friday
  • Lithium stocks led the winners
  • Woodside and Santos confirm talks of a potential merger


Local shares bounced back from negative territory this morning to close 0.25% higher. For the week, the benchmark ASX 200 index was up 1.6%.

Overnight, weak sentiment featured across major European, UK and US equities markets, but the tech heavy Nasdaq rallied by over 1% as Google released its ChatGPT’s rival, Gemini.

“Artificial intelligence has potential to drive productivity gains sharply higher in 2024 and beyond,” said Yung-Yu Ma at BMO Wealth Management.

Traders meanwhile watched the EU-China summit in Beijing closely, with the EU warning China of ‘unfair competition’ and China warning of confrontation.

On the ASX today, Energy and Mining stocks led the winners, while Utilities and Info Tech were the laggards.

Lithium miners had a good day again, with Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), Allkem (ASX:AKE) and Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) up around 4% on the back of a recent rally in Chinese lithium mining stocks.

Iron ore miners were also in the winners’ circle after Commonwealth Bank Research said China’s iron ore reserves are at the lowest level for this time of year since 2016.

Across the region, Japan’s stock market fell -1.5% after a sudden surge in the Yen on rumours that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) is about to exit its ultra-loose monetary policy that has kept Japanese rates at almost 0% for years.

And looking ahead to tonight in the US, the all-crucial November employment data will be closely watched ahead of next week’s Fed Reserve monetary policy meeting.



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Santos (ASX:STO) rose 5% after confirming it is in discussions regarding a potential merger with Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS).

Now read: A Woodside, Santos marriage is in the works – what will a merged company look like?



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Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) was down -0.5% after confirming that it’s in discussions regarding a potential merger with Santos (ASX:STO).

“Discussions remain confidential and incomplete, and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction,” said the release from WDS.

Ramsay Healthcare (ASX:RHC) was down modestly after announcing that the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board has no objection to Columbia acquiring Ramsay’s 50:50 joint venture in Asia. Completion of the transaction is now expected to occur on 28th December.

Washington H Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL), which has lobbed a $3 billion takeover bid for fund manager Perpetual (ASX:PPT) yesterday, dropped -0.5% after reporting that in Q1, its portfolio reduced by 0.4%.

But SOL says the company showed strong resilience to have dropped only -0.4% in the face of difficult macro conditions. SOL’s cash balance now sits at $694m (at 31 October), having continued its strategy of deploying cash into private investments.

NZ-based Skycity Entertainment (ASX:SKC) fell 2% after providing a trading update. The company says it expects FY24 EBITDA of between NZ$290 million to NZ$310 million, versus the NZ$310 million guidance given previously.