• The ASX 200 index closed higher after a rally on Wall Street on Friday
  • Lithium and oil related stocks rose
  • Federal Budget to be delivered tomorrow 

 

The ASX closed 0.8% higher following a big rally on Wall Street last Friday.

Energy was the best performing sector today, up by 2%, followed Mining which also finished higher around 2%.

Lithium stocks were amongst the top picks, with giants Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and IGO (ASX:IGO) rising by over 4% each.

Morgan Stanley said that the lithium market has hit a turning point now following a 5-month sell-off. In its note to investors, the broker noted that sentiment in the market was improving given that inventories had fallen.

Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) meanwhile was the best large cap stock today, up 12% after announcing that its licence to import and process lanthanide concentrate in Malaysia is now valid until 1 January 2024.

The licence variation allows Lynas Malaysia’s plant to continue to operate until 1 January 2024, and removes the requirement for a shutdown at the plant prior to that date, as was announced in April.

Westpac Banking (ASX:WBC) was another large cap to make headlines today, up by 2% after reporting a 22% jump in net profits to $4 billion for the half. The bank declared a 70c interim dividend.

Federal Budget preview

The Australian federal government is preparing to hand down the budget on Tuesday.

New research released by the IPA (Institute of Public Affairs) shows that increased Federal Government spending, already locked in from last year’s October Budget, will cause average household mortgage repayments to rise by $257 per month, or $3,088 per annum, for the next three years.

With Federal Government budget spending estimated to rise by at least 4.6% per annum, this in turn could push Australia’s inflation rate up a further 1.6% over the next three years.

“Reckless levels of government spending are the root cause of Australia’s current high inflation rate, and it is households and businesses that get left with the bill,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the IPA.

Highlights in tomorrow’s Budget include a $14.6 billion for cost-of-living support in the next four years.

The budget is also set to include a $2.2 billion package to fix the Medicare primary healthcare services, as well as $50k bonuses for soldiers, sailors and aviators to re-enlist in the Defence Force.

Around $300 million will also be shelled for a Tasmanian AFL team and to upgrade the existing facility in Launceston.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS

Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

Wordpress Table Plugin

Engineering company Worley (ASX:WOR) lifted 3.5% after reporting that it has been selected by Shell to provide services for Sparta, a floating development in the Gulf of Mexico USA, located approximately 170 miles off the Louisiana coast. The development is owned by Shell (51%) and Equinor (49%), which are progressing the project toward a final investment decision expected later in 2023.

Coal stocks Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) and New Hope (ASX:NHC) rose 4% as they continued the share buyback operations in open market.

 

BIG CAP LOSERS

Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

Wordpress Table Plugin

Industrial services company ALS Ltd (ASX:ASQ) fell almost 2 % after announcing a new CEO, Malcolm Deane. Deane said his main focus will be on ensuring the company continues delivering against its strategic FY27 vision.