The wrap: ASX closes in the green despite afternoon drop-off

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The wrap: ASX closes in the green despite afternoon drop-off

By Billie Eder

Welcome to your five-minute recap of the trading day and how the experts saw it.

The numbers: The Australian sharemarket closed up on Thursday, after setting a new 100-day high following a strong session on Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX 200 was up 10 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 7241.8 at the index’s close, with materials stocks leading the charge.

Wall Street liked what it saw in the US Fed minutes.

Wall Street liked what it saw in the US Fed minutes. Credit:AP

The lifters: Gold miners were the standout on the index on Thursday, with Evolution Mining up 6.6 per cent and Northern Star Resources ahead 2.6 per cent after a rise in gold futures overnight. Shares in copper mining companies were also profitable, with exploration company Chalice Mining surging 6 per cent and copper and gold producer Silver Lake Resources jumping 4.6 per cent.

The laggards: Coal companies took a hit and the energy sector as a whole spent the day in the red. New Hope is down 8.8 per cent, Whitehaven Coal dropped 6.7 per cent and Yancoal had slid 4 per cent at close of trade, despite coal miners being one of the index’s best preforming resources the previous day.

The lowdown: Whitehaven had a significant share price drop on Thursday after the company put out an ASX announcement that managing director and chief executive Paul Flynn had this week sold 900,000 shares in the company, worth $7.8 million. The coal miner said it was for “personal reasons”, but the move sent the stock tumbling and by close of trade shares were down to $8.98.

In the statement, Whitehaven said: “Paul Flynn retains a significant interest in the company and remains one of the company’s largest individual shareholders, with a holding of 1,070,451 shares, 449,884 vested performance rights and 2,534,161 performance rights which are subject to meeting vesting conditions.”

Senior investment adviser at Shaw and Partners Adam Dawes said while the coal sector was likely to perform extremely well as the northern hemisphere enters winter, the sell-off from Whitehaven’s CEO has probably sent a bit of a shockwave through the market today.


“It’s totally understandable that he would sell some, but it does send a little bit of a red flag to the rest of the market that directors are moving,” Dawes said. “Certainly, the coal sector has been one of the better sectors in our market, and it was probably due for a bit of a pullback.”

Evolution Mining had a positive day after its announcement of significant new copper-gold extensions at their Ernest Henry site. Although the results were not reflected in the current mineral resource, the stock surged to $7.74 at close.

The company’s executive chair, Jake Klein, said the “outstanding copper-gold grades and widths in the new drilling results demonstrate the exciting potential for mineralisation to extend up-plunge and at depth.”

Qantas shares continued to rise during early trading on Thursday after the airline lifted its profit forecasts on Wednesday, with the airline up 2.1 per cent to $6.31 by midday. However, the market as a whole had a bit of afternoon drop-off, and the airline was trading up 0.2 per cent by end of day.

Harvey Norman shares were down 1.4 per cent after the company held its annual meeting, despite the retail giant’s chairman, Gerry Harvey, being optimistic about the retailer’s future. Aggregated sales were up 6.9 per cent, but the company said they were affected by depreciation in some of the world’s biggest currencies. The company has also flagged a major expansion into the Malaysian market, with plans to grow there from 28 to 80 stores by 2028.


Energy giant AGL’s shares are down 1 per cent after it announced it would close South Australia’s Torrens Island B gas-fired power plant in 2026. The company, which is Australia’s largest power supplier, has been facing mounting pressure from billionaire activist investor Mike Cannon-Brooks to accelerate decarbonisation.

All four big banks fluctuated during trading on Thursday, flip-flopping between positive and negative territory.

In the US, stock indexes closed higher after the Fed’s minutes showed that a “substantial majority” of policymakers agreed it would “likely soon be appropriate” to slow the pace of interest rate rises in the world’s largest economy. The S&P 500 added 0.6 per cent, the Dow Jones rose by 0.3 per cent and the Nasdaq jumped 1 per cent.

Long-term US Treasury yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, slipped to 3.71 per cent from 3.76 per cent.

US markets will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will close early on Friday.

Wall Street has been closely watching the latest economic and inflation data for any signs that might allow the Fed to ease up on rate increases. Investors are worried that the Fed could slam the brakes too hard on economic growth and bring on a recession.

Tweet of the day:

Quote of the day:

“We are losing money with this power station in the current environment,” said AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof on Thursday after the announcement that the energy company would shut its Torrens Island power station.

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With AP

The Market Recap newsletter is a wrap of the day’s trading. Get it each weekday afternoon.

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