The ASX fell -0.3% on Monday, driven in part by comments from Fed Reserve president John Williams, who told CNBC on Friday that talk of a March rate cut was premature.

“We aren’t really talking about rate cuts,” Williams said.

Interest rates-sensitive sectors on the ASX were the worst performers today, led by the Real Estate sector, which fell by 1.3%. Healthcare was the only sector in the green, up by 0.5%.

Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) was down half a percent despite Australia’s trade minister Don Farrell saying on Sunday that China’s crippling tariffs on Australian wines could end by early next year.

“I would be very confident that early in the new year we will get a favourable result from the Chinese authorities to lift the ban on Australian wine,” the minister said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Winners today include lithium stocks like Allkem (ASX:AKE) and Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), which rallied by around 2%.

Across the region, Asian stocks were mainly down as traders trimmed bets on Fed interest rate cuts in 2024.

Attention will soon shift to Japan as the BoJ convened for a two-day policy meeting starting today.

According to a Bloomberg survey, around 15% of economists are expecting BoJ governor Kazuo Ueda to pull the plug on the country’s negative rates in January.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Neuren Pharma (ASX:NEU) rallied 30% after announcing positive results of its Phase 2 results of NNZ-2591 in children with Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMS).

NEU says significant improvement was observed by both clinicians and caregivers from treatment, across multiple efficacy measures.

NEU stated that NNZ-2591 was safe and well tolerated, with no clinically significant changes in laboratory values or other safety parameters during treatment.

Read more: Neuren soars 30% in early Christmas present after Phase 2 trial success

Cement stock Adbri (ASX:ABC) jumped over 30% after the company said it received a non-binding indicative proposal from CRH and the Barro Group at a price of $3.20 cash per share, a 41% premium to last close.

The proposal implies a valuation of approximately $2.1 billion for Adbri, which has now entered into a process and exclusivity deed with CRH and the Barro Group in order to progress a potential transaction.

Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) surged 23% after the company officially won sole rights to the Victorian wagering licence for the next 20 years. Tabcorp has agreed to pay the Victorian Government $600 million, and $30 million annually over 19 years, taking the total payment to $1.2 billion.

 

BIG CAP LOSERS

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Engineering company, Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) fell -0.5% despite announcing new construction and maintenance contracts in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors totalling approximately $215 million.

Contracts include those signed with Albamarle, Chevron Australia, and BHP’s Mt Arthur Coal operations in the Hunter Valley.

Lendlease (ASX:LLC) dropped after announcing that it had entered into an agreement for the sale of 12 Australian master-planned communities projects to Stockland Corporation (ASX:SGP) and its capital partner, Supalai Australia, for $1.3 billion.

The transaction is expected to realise a ~20% premium to book value (pre-tax) and contribute $130 to $160 million to FY24 core operating profit after tax. Lendlease said the transaction represents a significant milestone for the company as it re-weights capital to investments, reduces gearing, and realises the value created in these projects.