CommSec Daily Download Friday 24 December 2021

ASX SPI futures indicate a positive start to the final day of the week, rising 48 points or 0.7 percent after another rally in the US Overnight with the benchmark S&P 500 index of The US once again, closing at an all-time high.

Today’s announcements: Rio Tinto (RIO) pauses mining operation | AMP (AMP) agrees to complete divestment | Ampol (ALD) receives an update on its acquisition plan for Z Energy | BWX Announces Final Acquisition Cost |

Australian stocks will start on a positive note with the US S&P 500 Index closing at an all-time high.

· Trading on Friday is expected to start on a positive note with ASX SPI futures pointing up 48 points or 0.7 percent. Risk sentiment rose as Omicron concerns waned, while better-than-expected US economic data boosted hopes that the economic recovery is still on track. The Dow Jones Index closed 197 points or 0.6 percent higher, the S&P 500 Index added 29 points or 0.6 percent to record closing highs and the Nasdaq Index gained 131 points or 0.9 percent.

In commodities markets, the price of Brent crude rose $ 1.56 or 2.1% to $ 76.85 a barrel and the price of US Nymex crude added $ 1.03 or 1.4 % at $ 73.79 a barrel. Reducing fears of an Omicron-induced drop in demand and US government data showing a drop in US inventories helped drive up crude prices. In response, Australian-listed energy companies such as Woodside Petroleum (WPL) and Santos (STO) may trade higher today.

· Bullion continued its rally, with the price of gold futures adding US $ 9.50 or 0.5 percent to US $ 1,811.70 an ounce. Spot gold was trading close to $ 1,809 an ounce at the close in the United States. The continued rise in the price of gold could support the shares of Australian gold miners such as Evolution Mining (EVN) and Newcrest Mining (NCM).

· Iron ore made up for the previous session’s losses by rising $ 1.15 or 0.9 percent to $ 123.75 a tonne overnight. Iron ore miners listed in London Rio (+ 0.2%) and BHP (+ 1%) also rose as steel ingredient prices rose.

Rio Tinto (RIO) halts operations at its Serbian lithium mine due to protests.

· Rio Tinto (RIO) has halted operations at its Serbian lithium mine after environmental groups protested and prompted the local municipal government to scrap Rio’s land allocation plan. Rio aims to convene a public dialogue and educate residents about the project, which aims to extract lithium, a crucial ingredient for electric vehicle batteries.

· AMP Limited’s (AMP) private market business, PrivateMarketsCo, agreed to sell its infrastructure debt platform to Ares Management Corporation (ARES US) for $ 428 million. PrivateMarketsCo’s rationale behind the divestment follows its lead to focus on managing equity investments in real estate and infrastructure rather than infrastructure debt funds. Proceeds from the transaction will strengthen AMP’s capital position and the spin-off is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.

· Ampol (ALD) has received some rejection from the New Zealand Trade Commission regarding its plan to acquire Z Energy by selling its current Gull business, either through trade or initial public offering (IPO). The New Zealand regulator outlined potential competition issues with the acquisition and suggested that the proposed merger could be cleared if competition is unlikely to diminish.

· BWX Limited (BWX), owner of the “Sukin” skincare brand, has announced that the final consideration paid for its 50.1 percent stake in Go-To Skincare is $ 89.5 million.

Originally Posted by CommSec

Authors: Divik Nigam, Associate Stock Market Analyst and Ryan Felsman, Senior Economist.

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