ASX closes higher with IT sector leading; commodities' weakness limits gains

  • Stock Market News
ASX closes higher with IT sector leading; commodities' weakness limits gains
Credit: © Reuters.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) closed on an upbeat note on Wednesday, with the ASX 200 index gaining +0.26% to finish at 6995.40 points. The positive session was led by gains in the IT, Property, and Industrials sectors, while losses in the Materials and Energy sectors limited the overall rise.

Among the top performers were James Hardie Industries (ASX: NYSE: JHX ), which rallied by 13.76% on strong third-quarter guidance. The company also announced a new $US250m buyback and projected its FY24 net profit after tax (NPAT) to be approximately 10% ahead of consensus expectations due to market share gains.

Meanwhile, National Australia Bank (OTC: NABZY ) (ASX: NAB) edged higher by 0.45% ahead of its FY23 results announcement scheduled for Thursday. The bank is expecting a NPAT of $7.82bn and a second-half dividend of 85cps. Xero Limited (ASX: XRO) also saw a rally, increasing by 1.53% in anticipation of their first-half FY24 results due tomorrow, which could include a re-cut of their US strategy and expected revenue of $810m.

Woodside (OTC: WOPEY ) Energy Group (ASX: WDS) held its annual investor day, during which it indicated that demand isn't falling as fast as supply and that building new supply is becoming challenging. However, with capex falling, the company suggested that the capacity for increased shareholder returns is better from here.

Telstra (OTC: TLGPY ) Group (ASX: TLS) rose by 1.29%, benefiting from a broker upgrade and ongoing network issues at competitor Optus. On the other hand, Rio Tinto (LON: RIO ) (ASX: NYSE: RIO ) saw a decline of 2%, despite its CEO being in China discussing the stability of the Chinese economy and its impact on iron ore.

Asian stocks closed slightly lower, with Hong Kong down by 0.04%, Japan by 0.09%, and China by 0.08%. In commodities, Iron Ore remained flat in Asia, while Gold dropped to $US1966. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised China's growth forecasts upwards to 5.4% in 2023 and 4.6% in 2024.

Copper prices weakened due to fears of a US recession and demand weakness in Europe. In the US, Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ: NASDAQ: TTD ) & Yeti Holdings Inc (NYSE: NYSE: YETI ) are set to announce their results soon.

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