Market wraps 6th February 2023

Closing Bell - Grady Wulff

The local market started the week in negative territory, closing the day down 0.25%, ahead of the RBA’s rate hike decision for February out tomorrow, which is the first interest rate decision for 2023. Real estate stocks were the hardest hit today as investors anticipate the impact another rate hike will have on RIET stock balance sheets, with the sector closing Monday’s session down more than 1.6%.

Furniture retailer Nick Scali (ASX:NCK) tumbled more than 13% today after posting first half results including a 12.1% decline in written sales orders for January 2023, revenue growth of 57.4% and NPAT up 70.2% on the prior corresponding period. Investors may be selling out of the furniture retailer’s shares today after the company failed to provide guidance beyond January, citing it ‘2H FY23 results will depend upon trading during February to April and at this point it is difficult to provide further guidance’, which didn’t impress investors, sparking fears of tougher times to come as interest rates continue rising and consumer spending declines.

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) shares lifted today after the gas producer released an update on its Waitsia Stage 2 project. The oil and natural gas explorer and producer today said it has reached an agreement with Webuild for the completion of the Waitsia stage 2 project with the Waitsia joint venture and Webuild now targeting first gas by the end of 2023, 6-months later than the original target date, at an increased CAPEX estimate of $400-$450m, up from the original $350-$400. Webuild’s acquisition of Clough, who was originally contracted to complete the Waitsia project, will see a seamless transition for the Webuild team to complete the Waitsia project.

Hot takeover target Warrego Energy (ASX:WGO) rose 3% today after Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting confirmed it has increased its takeover bid for the company to 36 cents per share from 28 cents per share, to end the bidding war over Warrego with Hancock Prospecting now having a 50.54% stake in the company. The increase in Hancock’s holding was made possible by Hancock partner Mineral Resources selling its shares in Warrego to Hancock for 36 cents per share.

The winning stocks from today’s session were Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) adding 9.3% after receiving a takeover offer, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) rallied 3.7% on the Waitsia update and Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) added 3.22%. And on the losing end, Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) led the losses today closing down 6.21% while Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) fell 5.77% and Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) dropped 5.75% today.

The most traded stocks by Bell Direct clients today were Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG).

Taking a look at commodities crude oil has recovered this afternoon to trade 0.18% higher at US$73.51/barrel as the International Energy Agency sees China’s economy could be poised for a stronger-than-expected rebound which will boost demand for crude. Coal is down 3.67% at US$236/tonne, gold is up 0.66% at US$1877/ounce and iron ore is up 0.8% at US$126.50/tonne.

The Aussie dollar is buying US$0.69, 91.51 Japanese Yen, 57.26 British Pence and NZ$1.10.