ASX 200 up as Fortescue invests in hydrogen, commodities rise

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ASX 200 up as Fortescue invests in hydrogen, commodities rise
Credit: © Reuters.

The Australian stock market closed higher today, with the ASX 200 gaining 0.28% to end at 7078 points, propelled by a strong performance in the Materials sector. The sector's rise was notably influenced by a substantial investment announcement from Fortescue Metals Group (OTC: FSUGY ) Ltd (ASX:FMG), which is channeling $US750 million into hydrogen projects, marking a significant shift towards renewable energy initiatives.

The Australian dollar saw an appreciation, climbing to 65.77 US cents. This uptick was attributed to expectations of upcoming US interest rate cuts, which contrasted with China's economic outlook and recent minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia that suggested further inflation-driven rate hikes, taking the cash rate to 4.35%.

In individual company news, Technology One (ASX:TNE) saw its shares decline by 2.07% despite reporting an increase in profits. On the other hand, Star Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX:SGR) maintained stable share prices following the announcement of a tax agreement.

Investors showed keen interest in defensive assets, as evidenced by Coles Group (OTC: CLEGF ) Limited's (ASX:COL) bond offering that attracted yields between 6.1%-6.4%. Similarly, Westpac Banking (NYSE: WBK ) Corp's (ASX:WBC) hybrid securities witnessed strong demand, leading to an early closure at a yield of 7.49%.

In the healthcare sector, Unified Capital facilitated a significant share sale for the founders of Pro Medicus Limited (ASX:PME), totaling $176 million. Meanwhile, Altium Limited (ASX:ALU) received an 'Outperform' rating from Macquarie and saw its stock price nudge up by 0.22%.

Commodity prices also reflected bullish sentiments with iron ore prices jumping by 2%, partly due to strike actions by BHP train drivers. Gold prices soared as well, reaching US$1992 per ounce.

Regionally, Asian markets displayed positive trends across Hong Kong, Japan, and China, offering a buoyant backdrop for the Australian market. Investors are also looking forward to Deere (NYSE: DE ) & Co's earnings report amidst quieter activity in US markets as the Thanksgiving holiday period approaches.

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