• ASX200 up today boosted by tech stocks
  • Aussie consumer sentiment improved, while business confidence slumped
  • Incitec Pivot announced a new CEO


A rally in Tech stocks led the ASX to close 0.5% higher on Tuesday, with the index hitting a three-month high.

Consumer Staple stocks also traded higher, while Energy stocks underperformed.

Overnight, Wall Street rose modestly as the market turned cautious ahead of two big events – the US CPI release later tonight, and the Fed’s last scheduled rates decision of 2023 on Wednesday.

RBA’s governor Michele Bullock was speaking at the Australian Payments Network today, where she said the collapse in the use of physical cash is putting strains across the entire payment system.

She also said that an intervention on the BNPL (buy now pay later) is looming, which will ensure BNPL providers allow merchants to add surcharges to the services.

“The right to surcharge for payment methods provides an important incentive for payment schemes to keep their fees low. Formal regulation may be required to allow this,” Bullock said.

Elsewhere, the Westpac consumer sentiment index released today shows that it has improved slightly in December.

The NAB business confidence survey meanwhile suggests that Australian business confidence has fallen to its lowest since the pandemic in November, as sales and profits softened.

On the ASX, major gainers today include Cochlear (ASX:COH) and Xero (ASX:XRO). Top losers include Genesis Minerals (ASX:GMD).

Across the region, Asian shares mostly rose, with benchmarks in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong trading higher.

Local traders will now turn their focus to a key meeting of Chinese economic policymakers that will set the future economic agenda for China in 2024 and beyond.



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Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) edged 0.3% higher after the company named a new CEO, Mauro Neves de Moraes, effective January 2024.

IPL Chairman Greg Robinson said, “Mauro has executive leadership experience in the mining and logistics sectors across multiple geographies.

“He has held leadership positions including as Asset President for BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) in Queensland, Australia and Asset President at BHP’s Escondida operations in Chile, the world’s largest copper mine.”

Incitec  is a manufacturer of industrial explosives, industrial chemicals and fertilisers to the agriculture and mining industries.

Agribusiness stock Elders (ASX:ELD) said it has agreed in-principle with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited (ASX: BEN) to cease the agreement between its subsidiary Elders Rural Services and Rural Bank (a division of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank).

In FY23, the relationship with Rural Bank contributed approximately $11.3 million gross margin to Elders’ Financial Services business. Under the in-principle agreement, Rural Bank will pay Elders $17m and both parties will be released from their obligations.

Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) announced the sale of Southgate Square, South Australia for $91 million, and the sale of Rosebud Plaza, Victoria for $134.5 million.

Both sales follow unsolicited off-market offers and both sales are in-line with the June 2023 book valuations. Southgate is expected to settle in February 2024, and Rosebud in June 2024.

Charter’s pro-forma balance sheet gearing is expected to reduce from 29% to approximately 25% post settlement.



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