Yesterday was brutal, and ASX investors were ready to batten down the hatches this morning after Evergrande contagion fears spilled onto Wall St overnight.

But in the end, Tuesday’s session proved relatively mild as the ASX 200 ambled to a steady intraday gain of around 0.30%.

Energy stocks were the best performers as oil prices moved higher, while there was some tentative buying in the big miners which are still on the ropes as markets recalibrate to the iron ore price plunge.

Banking stocks lagged the pack, as the ASX 200 financial index finished around 0.5% lower.

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Among large caps with news, energy network operator AusNet (ASX:AST) was again at the top of the leaderboard amid an ongoing bidding war for the company.

AST announced yesterday that it planned to arrange for potential suitor Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) to carry out further due diligence, after BAM upped its bid for the company to $2.52 per share.

That gave BAM the upper hand against fellow infrastructure play APA Group, but this morning APA returned to the fray with a revised bid of $2.60 per share.

In response, AusNet said it will honour its commitment to allow BAM an exclusive due diligence period, while also “retaining the option to engage with other parties…with respect to any potential competing proposals post expiry of the exclusivity period with Brookfield”.

Another large cap mover was listed investment company Milton Corporation (ASX:MLT), which flagged final approval from the Federal Court for its merger with Washington H. Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL).

Today marked the last day MLT shares traded live after a 60-year run on the ASX boards, with the company now expected to go into a trading suspension until the merger scheme’s implementation date on October 5.

Diversified resources group New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC) also rose strongly in morning trade after releasing its annual results for FY21.

The company flagged a net profit after tax (NPAT) of $79 million, up from the previous year’s loss of $157m, and announced a fully-franked 7c dividend.

BIG CAP LOSERS

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While AusNet plays one side against the other, APA Group (ASX:APA) ended up in the red today as investors sold the stock in response to its higher bid.

Red hot lithium play Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) and $1.18bn BNPL stock Sezzle (ASX:SZL) were also notable entrants on today’s big cap losers list, although neither company had material announcements of note.