Aust shares gain, making another attempt at key level

The local share market has been making another attempt to break through a key resistance level this morning.

At lunchtime AEDT on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 42.3 points, or 0.61 per cent, to 6,991.3, and had several times traded above the psychologically important 7,000 level, climbing as high as 7,011.

The broader All Ordinaries had risen 45.4 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 7,189.6.

Earlier, NAB’s monthly business survey of 400 Australian firms found that business conditions remained strong last month, but business confidence edged lower and remained well below average.

Meanwhile, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer confidence index found that the Reserve Bank’s rate hike last week had unwound a small boost in confidence the month before, with consumers back to feeling deeply pessimistic.

“The weak November sentiment print is an ominous sign heading into the Christmas high season,” said Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan.

“Pessimism is having a major bearing on spending attitudes,” Mr Hassan said, with 40 per cent of consumers expecting to spend less on gifts than the year before.

At midday nine of the ASX’s 11 sectors were in higher, with telecommunications and utilities lower.

Energy was the biggest gainer, up 2.2 per cent as Brent crude prices ticked up to a one-week high of $US82 a barrel.

Woodside was up 2.4 per cent, Santos had gained 2.2 per cent and Beach Energy was up 5.0 per cent as the oil and gas producer held its annual general meeting in Adelaide.

“From an industry competitor perspective, we are peerless,” interim chief executive officer Bruce Clement told shareholders. “I can’t think of another company in Australia which has the near-term growth profile that we do.”

In the financial sector, CBA was up 0.7 per cent to $101.98 as Australia’s biggest bank reported it made a $2.5 billion profit in the first quarter.

NAB was down 2.8 per cent as it traded ex-dividend, ANZ was flat and Westpac was also up 0.7 per cent.

In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP was up 1.2 per cent, Fortescue Metals was up 2.9 per cent and Rio Tinto had added 1.5 per cent.

Elsewhere, Telstra was down 1.3 per cent as the telecommunications company held its 2023 Investor Day and announced five new routes to connect capital cities for its intercity fibre project.

ALS was up 6.8 per cent to $11.41 the global testing, inspection and certification company beat guidance with a $158 million first-half profit.

“This was a good performance by our global business given the very challenging market backdrop of uncertainty in the geopolitical and economic environment,” chairman Bruce Phillips said.

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